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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
Fall is often the first major theme in preschool classrooms, and a preschool fall theme provides plenty of opportunities to engage your students in their early math and fine motor skills. Counting apples as a way of teaching the number system is an activity as old as time, but this cute rainbow writing activity takes it to the next level by adding number tracing 1 to 10 into the mix. Your students will be fall-ing over themselves to work on this math center all season long!
Why Use Preschool Dice Games
Dice are one of the untold heroes of math games in all grades, but preschool dice games hold a special significance in the preschool classroom as they teach many skills with each roll.
Firstly, you get the fine motor control that comes from picking it up and rolling it in a careful way that doesn’t scatter the dice across the room.
Secondly, it teaches students to deal with disappointment when they don’t get the number they were hoping for with the knowledge that they can pick up the dice and roll again.
Finally, the dots (or in this case, apples) help students start to learn how to subitize, which is seeing a group of objects as representing a certain number without having to count all the individual objects (like knowing that a hand of fingers represents five).
Preparing Apple Roll and Rainbow Trace
For this activity you will need:
Optional: cardstock and tape for a more durable dice
If you don’t have the materials needed, don’t sweat! You can get it delivered to your doorstep really quickly with Amazon Prime. You can get a 30-day free trial here.
The only tricky part of preparing these preschool dice games is making the dice itself. You should print it on slightly thicker cardstock as this will help it keep its shape for longer. You should also reinforce the edges and corners with tape. If you’re wanting to use each dice for longer, try sticking a toothpick along the inside of each edge to add some strength.
As an alternative, you can cut up the apple dice pictures and use a dice with pockets.
Counting Apples Extension Activities
This rainbow writing activity will help students develop their skills in number tracing 1 to 10 and beyond. Students roll the custom made dice and trace the numbers, counting apples along the way. The rainbow aspect comes by having students color each number using a different dry erase marker to create a colorful completed worksheet. As they master these preschool dice games, try some of these extension activities:
Play with all the boards – instead of completing the challenge with just one board at a time, give students all 4 boards to work on. To make this work, they trace numbers on sequential boards e.g. the first time they roll a 2, they trace a 2, but the next time they roll a 2, they move to the next page and trace a 7. This will help develop their organizational skills.
Race to the bottom – turn counting apples into a competition between two students by challenging them to take turns to count and trace. The first person to complete one column on their board is the winner!
Introduce patterns – a bonus challenge with any rainbow writing activity is to introduce some sequencing work. Give students a sheet with a pattern of colors to use across the top. Start with two alternating colors (e.g. blue – green – blue – green) and slowly extend it to three colors for them to use as they trace each number.
More Apple Themed Centers for Literacy and Math:
My Apple Themed Centers is a variety pack of 10 games focused on early literacy, math and fine motor skills.
These are the games included:
1) Alphabet Playdough/Fine Motor Mats – Your students will use playdough to form the uppercase letters working on literacy and fine motor skills at the same time. Other options are using mini erasers to build the letter shape, cutting up black paper and using the pieces to make a mosaic, using dry erase markers to rainbow write the letters, etc.
2) Apple Missing Letters – There is a sequence of 5 capital letters shown with 1 missing. They are given 2 options to choose from and will need to figure out the correct missing letter.
3) Rhyming Words – There are 3 CVC words pictured and labeled. Students will need to choose the 2 that rhyme.
4) Apple CVC Write the Room – You can use this center to practice CVC building 2 separate times or with the class divided into 2 different groups of students. 10 CVC words are included in each set (green or red apple). There is also a recording sheet and answer key provided.
5) Dolch Pre Primer Sight Word Building – Students will need to find the correct apple letters to form the 40 sight words on the baskets.
6) Missing Numbers to 20 – There is a sequence of 5 numbers shown on the card and your student will need to figure out the correct missing number. 2 options are given to help guide them.
7) Apple Ten Frame Matching – Use these 2 piece puzzles as an independent math center or with small groups.
8) Apple Pattern Strips – ABABAB, ABCABC, AABAAB, ABBABB pattern strips included. You can use this with colored pompoms, dot stickers, dot markers, or apple mini erasers.
9) Addition Yes/No Cards – Students are shown an addition sum to 10 and will need to decide if the equation is true or false. Give them some wooden pegs or clothespins to mark their yes/no answer and make it a combined fine motor activity.
10) Apple 2D Shape Sorting – Print out multiple copies of the pages with 2D-shaped apples. Students will need to sort these according to the shape shown on the basket. 12 different 2D shapes included.
Books About Fruits and Vegetables That We Love:
Other Fall Printables You’ll Love:
1) Fall Printable Worksheets Pack – 50-page pack for your little one to practice letter recognition, writing, counting, tracing, coloring and so much more.
2) Fall Leaves Number Sorting – Sort out the leaves and find which numbered tree they came from to practice number recognition, reading number words, and count with ten frames.
4) Count and Compare Acorns – Your child will count and compare the groups of acorns to help the squirrel chose the bigger one.
5) Acorn Tracing Lines – Practice fine motor skills with these 4 different acorn-themed worksheets to help the squirrel grab the acorn!
6) Scarecrow Sums to 10 – So quick to set up in just a few minutes, you can sit back and relax while your preschooler or kindergartener has fun learning to solve simple sums to 10.
7) Scarecrow Number Tracing Strips – Combine fine motor practice with early math skills in this scarecrow-themed game to practice writing numbers 1 to 10.
8) Scarecrow Arrange By Size – Develop early math skills with these 3 scarecrow-themed image sets to arrange from smallest to biggest.
Get The Tools You Need For This Center Here:
Browse My Most Popular Math Printables:
1) Parking Cars Tracing Lines – More than 10 different tracing line patterns to choose from, all of which help with pencil control.
2) Scarecrow Arrange By Size – 3 different scarecrow-themed image sets that they will arrange from smallest to biggest.
3) Bumblebee Addition Game – Solve the sum and help the bee land on the correct flower!
4) Farm Shapes Mats – Use playdough, pompoms, stickers etc to learn 2D shapes.
5) Popsicle Stick Number Formation – Kids will love forming the numbers 1 to 10 when ice cream and popsicles are involved!
8) Counting Colorful Bugs – This printable book will help kids count to 10 while also learning about color words.
9) Humpty Dumpty Numbers – In this printable game, your students will practice number recognition using 1 dice or simple addition when using 2 dice.
10) Build A Number Santa – Match the number to the correct number word, tally mark and domino to form a Santa Claus
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