Have fun playing this beans and flower pots counting activity using the simplest of materials! Playful, hands-on maths for preschoolers to school age children, which can easily be adapted to become more challenging if needed.
After using some simple dried beans (we used butter beans) in this colour sorting activity and again for this alphabet matching tray, we used them again to practise some counting skills! That’s 3 separate activities from one small bag of dried beans, and each set will last for some time.
I set some plain beans into a basket and then wrote numbers from 1 to 20 on some little planter pots (very cheap from the garden centre), using a Sharpie permanent marker. I set these out for them to play with on a table.
Miss 5 enjoyed using all of the pots up to 20, counting out the beans carefully using 1:1 correspondence and checking to make sure she had the right amount for the higher numbers.
Miss 4 enjoyed using some of the smaller numbers and tried some of the teen ones too, counting each bean by moving it to make sure she had the right number of each.
Miss 2 loved playing too and spent a lot of time tipping and transferring beans between pots and stirring them up. She saw that the bigger girls were counting beans out, and started to recite some numbers in order as she filled up pots too.
You could introduce the idea of adding together two pots full of beans to find the total amount, or even move onto subtraction for older children. Working on ordering the number pots is a crucial step too, as is ensuring they are using correct 1:1 correspondence as they count out each bean. We encourage them to move them as they count to make sure they don’t make mistakes as they count.
What they are learning as they play:
maths: recognising numerals to 5, then to 10, then up to 20; counting using 1:1 correspondence, ordering numbers, counting objects up to 10 and then up to 20, combining small sets of numbers, subtracting small sets of numbers
The children are currently 5, 4 and 2
See all of our Playful Maths ideas activities here!