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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
In British English, the word “nursery” is used to refer to a school for young children, which suddenly makes sense of why nursery rhymes are so popular with American preschoolers. These nonsensical tales have been delighting young children for decades due to their simple rhythms, easy to learn lyrics and ridiculous storyline. This popularity makes for a great preschool classroom theme and you can find ways to weave all aspects of your classroom into nursery rhymes. These simple nursery rhyme math activities are a great resource to help students develop number recognition for preschool as well as giving you an opportunity to talk about and rehearse the story of poor old Humpty Dumpty.
Teaching With Preschool Dice Games
Dice have an incredibly large number of uses in the preschool classroom. From a math perspective, they teach about counting, both in terms of counting the dots but also in giving students a number of spaces to count in games, as well as an introduction to subitizing, where they recognize the shape of the 5 face as representing 5 without having to count each time. The act of picking up and rolling dice helps to build fine motor control and mastery over their muscles, and there are many preschool dice games that you can play to build a social element to your math centers. This roll and cover numbers game helps develop all of these skills, and adds in some number recognition for preschool as your students will need to match the digit to the number of dots on the dice to be successful at this game.
Preparing Crayon Fine Motor Number Mats
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Extension Activities For Humpty Dumpty Roll and Cover Numbers
The premise behind these nursery rhyme math activities is simple. Students pick either a 1 – 6 or 2 -12 Humpty Dumpty page and find some dice. As they roll, they’ll use either a pompom or mini eraser to cover up the number they rolled, and keep going until the entire wall is covered up. To push their learning further, try some of these activities:
Race with a partner – bring some socialization to your preschool dice games by having students pair up and take turns rolling the correct number of dice for their game. The challenge is to be the first to cover up their entire wall. Focus on shaking hands and congratulating each other after the game as well as working on their number recognition for preschool.
Verbal number recognition – if the idea of head to head competition doesn’t sit well with you, you can still introduce some speaking and listening skills to this Humpty Dumpty game by pairing students but only giving them one game board. Have them sit back to back, and one player rolls the dice and announces the number for the other person to cover up.
Practice number formation – an integral step in number recognition for preschool is for your students to be able to write the numbers themselves. Give students a blank roll and cover numbers wall (white out the numbers and then make a copy) and have them fill the wall with the numbers that they roll.