Working with young children as an Early Years teacher I'm always looking for fun ways to engage children in their learning. Technology can be a useful tool in the classroom and at home to help children reinforce their understanding of concepts. We love using the website ABCya.com and one of our favourite interactive games is their maths game Fuzz Bugs.
It's a perfect mix of early maths concepts - sorting and counting and the Fuzz Bugs have plenty of personality to make them instantly likeable. On a small screen, they provide great practice for using a mouse. In a classroom on a large electronic whiteboard, they provide a useful opportunity for young children to cross their midline. Fuzz Bugs also cover some language concepts like largest/smallest, top/bottom, right/left. After playing a game like Fuzz Bugs, I like to provide a invitation to explore the same concepts with real life objects. Some cheap spice jars and plenty of pom poms were perfect for some hands-on counting practice. I collected four jars, labelled them and added a small amount of pom poms to each. I then invited my child to guess how many was in each jar before pulling out all the pom poms to count. Plenty of fine motor practice for their pincer grip.
Encourage your child to organise the objects they are counting. Making a line of objects makes it easier for a child to recognise a clear starting point and end. My youngest is confident counting quite large amounts now but you can start with fewer pom poms than us.
I created this printable to record the number of Fuzz Bugs. You can download our 'How Many?' printable for free. We've used it to count pom poms but it could be used for any estimating and counting you are doing.
Keeping asking your child to estimate the number in each jar before opening. Do they think it has more or less? Which jar will have the most? What's your guess? Estimating magnitude is any important skill to practice as many young children can count aloud to a number greater than they can count objects correctly. Many others have no idea what 100 objects will look like and then what strategy to use to count them. A fun counting activity like this allows them to practice all of those early maths concepts.
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