Spielgaben: Activity 4

As part of our Spielgaben activity this week we will be exploring the times tables.

In this activity children will learn how to work out and remember times table facts using wooden points to help them visualise the numbers rather than making them memorise abstract sums which can often be frustrating for some children. Learning times tables is often laborious and traditional methods can lack engagement, where as this activity aims to keep the child engaged as there is an element of play. As we are studying the 3 times table, this is the example we will be using in this blog.
As always, although this is a Spielgaben activity, I’ve done my best to provide alternative ways to get involved at the end of this blog, even if you don’t own a Spielgaben yourself. I have also provided free downloadable content for those using other manipulatives. 

I would recommend this activity for children aged 7+ but obviously it doesn’t matter what age your child is as your knowledge on their ability will be more relevant.

All you will need is the Spielgaben Cookie Grid, which is free to download, a pen/pencil, set 9 and set 10 of the Spielgaben. It is not essential but you may want to laminate the cookie grid so you can reuse it multiple times with a dry wipe marker. Another fun optional extra for this activity is a baking tray!

Below I have provided a guided script that I feel works well for us.

Parent: Shall we make some cookies? I will start by making one cookie. I am going to put three chocolate chips onto the cookie. How many cookies are there?

Child: There is one cookie.

Parent: How many chocolate chips are there?

Child: There are three chocolate chips.

(At this point, have your child write a 1 in first cell of the ‘Number of cookies’ row and a 3 in the first cell of the ‘Number of chips’ row)

Parent: Would you like to make another cookie? We need another cookie with three chocolate chips.

(Child makes cookie with three chocolate chips)

Parent: How many cookies do we have altogether now?

Child: We have two cookies.

Parent: So how many chocolate chips do we have altogether now?

Child: We have six chocolate chips.

(As before, have your child write in the next cell along of both the rows with the correct answers. Keep repeating the process of making cookies with chips to work out each mathematical problem. As you work along the grid you may notice your child counting all the chips, if so, help them to see that they don’t need to do this. Have your child look at the grid to see the previous number on the ‘number of chips’ row and simply suggest that they count three up from that – it should save a lot of time) 

Once you have finished playing and you have finished your grid as far as you and your child wish to go, you can use your grid as a reference for the abstract sums (e.g. 5×3=) at a later date. You can also repeat this game until your child can recall the sums from memory.

If you don’t own a Spielgaben then you can download this free Plates And Jelly Beans Printout For Times Tables, all you will need to buy is some jelly beans and the best part is you can snack on them after you’re done playing! Or if you feel you have a bit more time, perhaps you could bake some real cookies and use real chocolate chips!

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Spielgaben: Activity 3

As part of our Spielgaben series, this week we have been exploring the alphabet.

In this activity children will learn lowercase letter recognition. This activity in particular is designed to improve early reading skills. As always, although this is a Spielgaben activity, I will do my best to provide alternative ways to get involved at the end of this blog, even if you don’t own a Spielgaben.

I would recommend this activity for children aged 3+ but obviously it doesn’t matter what age your child is as your knowledge on their ability will be more relevant.

All you will need is the Alphabet Grids which are free to download and five medium circles from the number 9 Spielgaben drawer in whatever colour you prefer. It may also be beneficial to have some lowercase sandpaper letters for this exercise, although it’s not a deal breaker – some lowercase flashcards would also be fine if you have them.

If you would like the grid in a specific font then please feel free to drop me a message and I will do my best to assist you.

The objective is simple; encourage the child to identify the most common letter on the grid by placing the circles on the correct squares. There should be five of the same letter on each grid among a selection of other random letters. Take it slow – keep doing the same grid over the space of a couple of days before moving on to another. Most children learn best by repetition.

I also find sounding the letter out the same way as I taught animal noises effective. For example ‘This is the letter E. E says (or makes the sound) eh’.

If you don’t own a Spielgaben then instead, why not get your child to colour in the letters? Or you can use some hair ties or rubber bands to place on the correct squares.

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Rainbow rice

This morning we have been playing with rainbow rice, this is a perfect activity to perfect fine motor skills such as pouring in a variety if ways. The sounds and colours of the rice also make it a fantastic sensory activity, keeping young children engaged.

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You will need
Rice (I used basmati)
Food colourings of your choice
Freezer food bags (preferably one for each colour you use)

To make
01. Add equal amounts of rice to each freezer bag.
02. Add a little blob of your desired food colouring to each bag.
03. Seal the bag and mush about the rice in the bag, until your rice is coloured evenly.