Activity: Bats in a Cave
- Handful of dry beans, empty margarine tub or similar
- 15 minutes
- Early number sense, subtraction
If you left a room knowing that there were ten cookies on a plate, and then you came back to find only seven, you would automatically know that someone ate three cookies. You know this without having to add, subtract or count because you have good number sense. Children develop good number sense by having many concrete experiences with numbers from an early age.
Bats in a Cave is a fun and slightly spooky way to help your child develop strong number sense. Gather some small objects (dry black beans are perfect) that you and your child can pretend are bats. Kindergarteners should start with five bats; older kids might be able to work with more. You'll also need is a small, solid container that can't be seen through, such as a margarine tub, to place over the bats.
Here's how to play:
- Count the number of bats out loud together with your child to establish that there are five.
- Ask your child to turn his or her head while you hide a few of the bats in the cave (under the tub).
- When your child turns back around, he or she should look at how many remain to figure out how many bats are in the cave.
- Continue playing, increasing the number of bats when five becomes too easy. How batty will you go?
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