Froggie wants to get home, but there are so many lily pads and flowers on the way! Here’s a simple game you and your kindergarten child can make together to teach counting and the number line, while having a good time, too!
What You Do:
- Use plain white butcher paper to line the box lid or cardboard tray, and glue it down securely. This will be your “game tray.”
- Use tempera paint to paint the outside of the “game tray.” Then paint the outside of each matchbox in a different color.
- Glue the matchboxes down on one end of the “game tray.” The goal will be to help the froggies hop into their matchbox “homes.”
- Now help your child draw two routes from the far end of the box to the matchbox. To form each route, help your child draw a “hopping path” of 1” leaves, broken up every 3-4 leaves or so by a flower or two. Try to twist and turn your path so that you have at least 20 leaves to land on. Number the leaves on each route with block numbers from 1-20.
- Take turns rolling the die. Froggie can advance by whatever number shows up…but if he hits a flower, he must back up to the nearest leaf, or fall in the muck!
- The goal is to be the first one to get to the froggie house at the end of the tray.
Throughout kindergarten, a key math skill is the ability to match abstract numbers to real objects in sequence. Children can recite numbers by rote, but there’s nothing like seeing and touching real objects to bring understanding to the subject. The other benefit of this activity is the process of creating it: kindergarteners get lots of practice with scissors, markers, and fine motor coordination as they learn to write. With luck, froggie will sleep safe and sound at the end of this game—and your child will feel that much more secure in her math skills, too.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.