How Many Bears on the Bed?
- To solve problems using 1, 2, and 3 objects. (Children should be able to identify quantities of 1, 2, and 3, and count to 3, before doing this activity.)
A construction paper rectangle for a bed; 3 bear counters for each child (Generic counters can represent bears.) Children's book that has three characters.
Read Peace at Last by Jill Murphy, a version of The Three Bears, or another book that has three characters.
- Invite children to play "Copy Cat" with you.
- Tell them that you are going to do things and count, and they must be copycats and do what you do.
- Clap 2 times and say, "This time I'll be the copycat." Then turn around and clap 2 times again. "Let's do it together. This time I'll slap my knees and count. Then you be copy cats and slap your knees and count."
- Continue, using 1, 2, and 3 actions, with the children mimicking your words and actions each time.
- Teach children how to solve problems using objects. Use the bear counters and have children repeat your phrases and actions.
- Say, "One little bear went to bed," and put 1 bear on the bed. (Children duplicate.) "One more little bear went to bed. Add another bear. Let's count 1, 2. Now there are 2 little bears in bed. 1 more little bear went to bed. Add the third bear. Now there are 3 little bears in bed."
- "Show me 2 bears in the bed." Help children count out 2 and get them in the bed. Put 1 more bear in the bed. "How many bears are in the bed?" (3) "One little bear got out of bed. What do you do?" (Take 1 out.) "How many bears are still in bed?" (Children should count and say 2.) Continue with simple problems until children are comfortable moving the 3 bears.
Keep the number of bears at 3 and add a chair (a paper circle of a different color from the rectangular bed) to the setting. Have children use the counters and "chair" to solve problems like the following: "One little bear was in bed and 2 little bears were on the chair. 1 little bear got out of the bed and sat on the chair. How many bears were on the chair? On the bed?"
- Proficient - Child can follow directions and use up to 3 objects to solve simple problems.
- In Process - Child can count to 3, but experiences difficulty using objects to solve simple problems.
- Not Yet Ready - Child does not yet count to 3 or use objects to solve simple problems.
More on: Learning Activities for Preschoolers
Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.