My preschooler LOVES math. She is learning and understanding simple addition and subtraction. I found this simple math project years ago and I loved it because it also incorporates a little bit of art and crafting, which my child also LOVES. I do not know the official name for this project because I no longer have the source (it was stored to my memory for years), but I am calling them “Finger Counting Math Sheets”.
These Finger Counting Math Sheets can be used for practicing addition and subtraction with simple numbers. As you can see above, both my preschooler and I made one. Mine was used as a model when making the hands and gluing them and also for how to write the numbers / equations correctly since she is just learning how to write them herself. I did not write the solution to the problems until after my child solved them.
For simplicity, we focused on numbers that add up to 10 using numbers 1 through 9. I wanted my child to recognize patterns in the equations I selected, which she did end up finding.
In our project, there were two patterns, (a) the same numbers added together, regardless of their order have the same result (for example, 9+1 = 10 and 1+9 = 10) and (b) many different numbers when added together can give the same result (all of the equations equaled 10).
Here’s the step by step on how we made one, if you are interested in making one yourself below are the supplies required and the steps we followed:
Two different colors of paper (1 large enough to trace hands on & 1 large enough to glue hands and write math equations on), a glue stick and a writing instrument (we used a marker).
- Trace your hands and cut them out. (For a preschooler, this is a great task for improving hand-eye coordination and motor skills. My child chose to color the fingers.)
- Glue the palm of the hands near the top of the second piece of paper. It’s okay if the fingers and thumbs hang off the paper.
- Fold the fingers and thumbs down at the lowest joint. (Technically speaking, this would be the joint between the metacarpals and phalanges on your hand.)
- Write down the addition or subtraction problems on paper. (Or you can let your child do this, like I did. You will notice that the 9 was written backwards on my child’s sheet. This is normal for a young child. I still recommend encouraging your child to try on their own even if they don’t get it exactly right.)
- Work with your child using the paper fingers on each hand to solve the problems. For example, if the problem is 9+1, first have your child lift 9 fingers, then have your child add 1 more finger and count all the fingers that are opened After your child gets the right answer, have your child write down the answer on the sheet.
- Continue with each math problem until completed or if your child loses interest.
Most importantly, remember that this is meant to be a fun activity. If your child seems uninterested or frustrated, praise them for what they accomplished, take a break and try again another time. Some children are not ready for certain concepts or may need more breaks in between.
If you try this out with your young child, send me a note on how it went on my social media pages, at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Disclaimer: This project was not my original idea. Unfortunately, I can not re-locate the source of this idea. If I do come across it in the future, I will add it to this post.