10 black dots math activity for preschoolers

Welcome to day 2 of our “Exploring Numbers Through the Senses” series! Yesterday we posted our first activity based on Sound (Number Sound Boxes), today is all about the sense of SIGHT! We will be exploring what numbers LOOK like (incorporating both the numerical symbol as well as a conceptual understanding of them).

As you may be able to tell from the title, we got our inspiration for this post from the popular Donald Crews’ book 10 Black Dots.  Have you read it yet? This classic book is all about what you can do with 10 black dots. While this activity can stand alone, reading the book beforehand will provide kids with a great frame of reference for it.

(This activity also incorporates a math system I learned as a girl known as “touch math.” This is a modified version of the system, but you can read more about it on their website here.)

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After reading the book, I set out the puzzle minus the number pieces (unfortunately my puzzle only goes to number 9 and has the zero at the end, but it still works for the activity). We counted each number and pointed to the numbers as we went along. You can also have your student trace the empty number spaces with their fingers (this helps provide muscle memory of how each number is formed).

Helpful Information: “7” is just a symbol that represents the concept of seven items (a specific quantity). This activity will help students recognize and name numerical symbols as well promote the conceptual understanding of the quantity they represent.

After we traced and counted the numbers, we were ready to fill them up with the black beads to SEE the specific quantity they represented!

10 black dots1

As we placed the black gems into the numbers, we got to see and connect the quantity each number represented.  This was really a prefect learning opportunity for my three year old!

Ways to extend the activity: Ask your child to recall what was shown in the book for each number: “What did the book show for one black dot? How about two?”

10 black dots- A great hands on preschool math activity

Fitting all those gems into the numbers was also a great way to get in some fine motor practice. Note: The gems were a tight fit for the numbers 7 and 9. It took some overlapping to get all of them to squeeze in there

Not comfortable with using gems with preschool children? Consider using the black do-a-dot stamper as a safe alternative!

Another beautiful way to explore numbers through he sense of sight is this beautiful Salt Numbers Painting Activity!

Pin this idea and follow all of our “Activities based on Books” pin board here.

10 Black Dots - A great preschool math activity based on Donald Crews' classic book!

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