Mama,  Montessori Activities

Counting Activity: Using clothespins

If your child is in a “sensitive period” for learning numbers I hope you find this post a helpful resource. 

Sonny is thrilled to learn about numbers. He’s been counting for a while, but he has not associated quantities with written numbers as of yet. There were two activities on his math shelf that are designed to associate written numbers with physical quantities and he has just begun working with both. This number work is engaging and captivating for young learners. In addition to learning that quantities have a written representation this work also develops the following skills:

  • Pincer Grasp
  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Finger Strength
  • Concentration
  • Visual Discrimination
  • Self Correction

Pincer Grasp, Hand-Eye Coordination & Strength

The pincer grasp is using one’s thumb and pointer finger to pick up an item. This grasp is later developed into holding eating utensils and writing utensils.

Opening and controlling wooden clothespins requires strength. A child must be able to control and hold a pincer grasp in order to keep the clothespin open long enough to place it on the number card. 

Concentration & Visual Discrimination

This work is designed to increase concentration because each card takes an increasing amount of time to complete. When I introduced this work to Sonny, cards 1-5 were in the work basket. I have since increased the cards to include 6-9, since he has shown that he can 

Each number card has the corresponding number of circles to match the numeral on the card. Sonny places the clothespin in each of the circles. He must focus in order to place the clothespins in the circle instead of randomly placing them on the card. 

Self Correction

This work is self correcting, which eliminates certain points of frustration. It is so valuable to give children work that allows them to see where they made an error and also gives them the opportunity to correct the error without assistance. There are 55 clothespins and 55 open circles on the number cards. If Sonny has done the work correctly then he will not have any clothespins in the basket at the end of the activity. If there are still clothespins in the basket or he runs out of clothespins then he has made an error. 

*hint* It is very important to make sure that the correct number of clothespins are in the basket before your child begins his work. 

This work has been incredibly engaging and Sonny can recognize 1, 3, 7 and 8. We’re on our way to learning all of his numbers. Hope this has been encouraging. Wherever you are in your journey keep moving forward, you got this mama!

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