Sensory Bins: Numbers

Posted by Jen Devine on

Play. Explore. Discover. Create. Sort. Order. Practice. Problem Solve. Repeat.

We explored fun with letters and word work in our last post, and I promised you the second of our 2 favorite uses for our sensory bin- so here it is!

Counting and Calculating Numbers

two sensory bins side by side the bin on the right has numbers in it
  • Hide numbers inside your rice mix. These can be magnetic numbers like your letters, number tiles, any type of craft tile or flat marble with numbers written on, or even counters (poker chips or large buttons will work great!) if your child is learning to count and not yet reading or recognizing numbers.
  • Counters for counting: Have child search for and pull out counters, then count them as they point to each one. Take this one step further by asking the child to make groups of different amounts of counters.
    • Example: The child finds 10 counters in the bin and counts them. Then you ask, “Can you make a group of 5 counters? How about a group of 3? Now you have 2 left to make 1 more group of 2!”  This will come into play again when you start to introduce the concept of division!
  • Counters for Calculating: You can also use counters when your child is ready to start adding and subtracting. After filling the bin with several counters, set the timer for 30 seconds allowing a 30-second counter search. Set aside the counters the child finds in 30 seconds, and repeat the process for another 30 seconds. Combine or add the two groups together. Repeat! Decrease the time for “speed rounds!”
  • Calculating with Numbers: As your child is able to calculate with numbers, more abstractly than with counters, fill the bin with a variety of numbers. This can turn into numerous calculations, for any stage! From adding and subtracting 1-digit numbers together, playing greater than/less than/equal to, adding and subtracting multi-digit numbers (making 2-digit or larger numbers by combining the numbers pulled out of the bin… as we know, the numbers 0-9 create endless possibilities for calculating!), and multiplication fact drilling!

Keep your sensory bins tucked away (in a place your little ones can’t reach!) for future use for a plethora of activities!


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