Adding Bells: A Preschool Math Activity

The other day I posted about drawing and painting with bells. After Little M. and I were finished with that activity, she turned to me and asked,

“Can we do adding bells?”

Her father had explained the concept of addition a couple of days prior and she was absolutely fascinated. So, quite excited by this request, I put aside the math activity I had planned for the day and scrambled to figure out how we were going to do this great suggestion from my daughter.

Preschooler adding bells using the cards

For This Addition Activity, You Will Need

  • the counting cards (for numbers 1-5) from the Counting Buttons activity (go to the original activity for the full directions on how to make the cards) 
  • about 10 bells

Introducing Addition to Your Preschooler with Bells

Child doing the math activity with bells

I got up and grabbed the counting from across the room. I also got a handful of bells and put them in a small cup. That's all you really need for this activity.

Ask your child to choose one of the cards. Ask if they can identify the number. Rather than telling them whether or not they are correct, invite them to check by counting out one bell for each of the stickers. (One of my favorite things about the original activity, is that much of it is self correcting, so that children can learn independently).

Once your child figures out the number of bells in the first group, you may repeat the counting procedure with the second group. Your child will now have two groups of bells. You can ask them how much the two groups are all together. Invite them to check their answer by counting all of the bells on the two cards.

This activity was so much fun and it was so spontaneous too. It can be hard sometimes, to set aside our plans, our goals, our ideas of how the day should unfold. When we do, when we listen to our child's ideas about how the day should unfold almost magical things can happen. Children are so amazingly capable, when given the opportunity to be. They are also in the best position to know what it is they are ready to learn in a given moment.

Adding Bells: Preschool Math Activity

Have you ever changed your plans because your children had a great idea for what to study? Let me know in the comments below.

Looking for more preschool math ideas? Check out Sorting Number Magnets or Counting Beads.


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