What You Do:
- Gather a stack of old magazines and newspapers that are ready for the recycling bin.
- Tell your child that he’s going to use the supplies to make a book that shows each number in a fun way. Talk about the fact that every number has a symbol (for example, the number one can be written as 1), but that's not the only way to represent it. For example, for the number 23, your child can find its picture in a magazine, but can he also draw 23 things that show the number? Can he find two numbers (one 2 and one 3) that could be cut out, put together, and glued in their appropriate place value spot? Can he collect 23 pictures of similar objects (balls, for example) and add them together to reach 23, or cut out as many as he can find, and draw the rest? (Wow! Now you’re also practicing addition in an informal, hands-on way).
- Working on just one number at a sitting, give your child a chance to experiment with all the different ways he can create a number. This is a perfect brainstorming activity, so try not to grimace as your child cuts his way through those magazines and wields those markers! Let him make a mess.
- As you’re creating the book, be sure to keep each number page separate. And don’t overwhelm your child by asking her to work on more than one at the same time. Instead, let her stay focused on the specific number at hand. And as you complete each page, bind the book (with a stapler or brass fasteners) in number order, with your child’s help.
Read and enjoy! As your child’s counting abilities grow, so can your book—you can add more images as you go along!
Alicia Danyali, BS Elementary Education, taught primary-level students for four years at the International School of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The last four years of her teaching career, she taught at the Washington International School in Washington, D.C. She recently completed writing a series of children's picture books and is a mother of one young son.