Butterflies do some pretty smart work for the planet. Today, we’re going to borrow some of their smarts for this hands-on math activity that helps your child gain a deeper, more holistic understanding of numbers that will serve them in all their math lessons. The idea is to help your child see that numbers can be written a variety of ways, but to bring it down to a concrete level that will actually have meaning for them. Let’s get ready to play!
What you need:
- paper + access to a printer (don’t have one? we like this model)
- laminator + laminating sheets (or you can use a sealing plastic freezer bag, but a laminator would work best)
- dry erase markers
- butterfly figurines (or you can use any counter manipulatives)
- our printable butterfly placemat
What to do:
Start by printing one of our butterfly placemat downloads. If you are only working on numbers 1-10, you only need to print the first mat. If your child is ready for numbers up to 20, you can print the second mat. Print the corresponding number circle pages as well. Laminate your printed sheets, and then cut out the number circles.
When you’re ready to learn, set up your child with the worksheet, a dry erase marker, and 10-20 butterflies or counters. Explain that numbers can be written a variety of ways, so today we’re going to learn about the number numeral, the number word, the charted number, tally marks, and counting objects.
Write a number in the middle of the butterfly, 1-20. If your child is starting to read, see if they can find the correct number word circle. (-) For younger children, you can put the circles in order to help them find the correct answer. Explain that this is what the number looks like written out.
Next, ask them to fill in one of the boxes in the ten frame(s) located in the upper right-hand circle of the butterfly. Explain how this is that number out of 10 or 20.
In the lower left-hand corner, have your child count out the correct number of butterflies or counters. This is that number of objects.
Finally, in the lower right-hand corner, have them draw the correct number of tally marks. Explain that this is how you write the number in tally marks.
Now that your butterfly is filled out, review the five ways we have created the number. Then you can wipe the mat clean and go on to the next number. Do as many numbers as your child is interested in doing, and then repeat throughout the week and month to reinforce the lesson.
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