Counting, Adding, and Subtracting

Today we played a math game.

First we sorted the manipulative ducks that Mother Goose Time sent in their curriculum box this month. We sorted them by color and by size.


Then, each student took a turn to roll the die. They identified the number they rolled, then put that many ducks on the plate.

The next student rolled, identified the number they rolled, then had to decide if they needed to add ducks to the plate or take away ducks to get the number they rolled.


This activity was a little tricky for some, but the majority understood and did well! For those that were having a more difficult time, I modified the activity by taking all the ducks off the plate and having them put new ducks on the plate that matched their number.

My students are not all at the same level. It is important that I modify each activity to meet each of my students needs to make sure that they are learning and progressing at their level. I would never want to push a child to do something that they aren’t ready for yet. That could cause frustration, anxiety, and doubt. I want to create a safe, positive learning environment for my students. Modifying activities to meet a child’s level is one way to achieve that goal.

This activity reminded me of an activity we did last month called “Sheep in the Meadow”.


This game helped us practice identifying numbers, counting, and even adding!

Each student picked a card. They identified the number. Then, they counted out that many sheep.


After a few times of playing it this way, we moved on to adding. I had all the students try it, while I monitored whether they were ready for this next step or not. If not, they continued to practice counting out the sheep and identifying the numerals on the cards.

The students that were ready, picked 2 cards (less than 10). They counted out sheep that matched both numbers. Then, they counted the total amount of sheep and found that number in the pile.


I was impressed by how well the students did. It is amazing to me that 3 and 4 year olds can be adding and subtracting at such a young age. The best part is they are having fun while learning! They are playing with the sheep. They were making up stories about where the sheep need to be and then they would line them up in a row. They would count the sheep, tell me the number, then continue role playing with the manipulatives. I love how creative they are and I love that learning can be fun!

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