Are you looking for playful ways to practice number recognition and counting? Our number match water sensory play is great way to work on these early math skills.
Number Match Water Sensory Play
I first shared the beginnings of this activity on Instagram. I wanted something to keep Lily occupied while we waited for Aiden’s school bus.
What You’ll Need:
- Bucket of water
- Strainers, scoops, and/or smaller buckets
- Numbers (We use milk caps. Foam numbers like we used for our water race would work well, too)
- Sidewalk chalk
This first time we did this activity, Lily was just playing in the bucket of water. She was straining the numbers out and dropping them into smaller buckets. Every once in a while, I would ask her about the numbers. The focus was on the sensory play.
The second time I wanted to focus more on the numbers, so I created two number match games.
Number Match Game 1
For this game, you’ll need a piece of chalk in addition to the bucket of water and numbered milk caps. Place the numbers that you want to work on in the bucket. For Lily (age 2), I used numbers 1-9 on this particular day.
Draw the numbers on the pavement with chalk.
Ask your child to bring scoop out some numbers and then match them to the numbers written on the ground.
Number Match Game 2
This game doesn’t involve chalk, but you will need double the amount of numbers.
After your child scoops out the numbers from the bucket of water, have her find number matches. Here is the number 2. Can you find another 2? I see the number 4. Where is another 4?
Variations to Try
- Place the numbers in numerical order after scooping them out.
- Make it a race. Run to the bucket and bring back a scoop of numbers.
- Practice addition or subtraction of the numbers.
- Play “What comes next?” Scoop out a number and tell what number comes after it.
We took this activity outside so the water could fly. You could modify it a bit If you want to try it inside or take it to the bath. Use a bath crayon to write numbers on the tub wall.
More Playful Number Activities
- A Water Race to Learn Letters and Numbers – Kids will love sorting numbers and letters in this fun game.
- Counting Ducks | A Toddler Math Game – Gather your rubber duckies and introduce your little ones to some counting.
- DUPLO Counting Games – Building blocks, DUPLO figures, and numbers! What could be more fun?
For 20 more ways to practice numbers, check out my collaborative ebook ABCs and 123s.
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