Counting Cars


The Counting Cars (Lakeshore Learning) activity will help children develop different math skills. Depending on the child’s age, developmental level, and/or grade, the child can learn the following concepts:

  • count
  • identify numerals
  • identify number words in print
  • sequence numbers
  • count with one-to-one correspondence

Materials

The Counting Cars activity contains 70 pieces (10 cars and 60 passengers). Each car is numbered individually with printed white numerals (1-10) on front (hood) as well as on the back (trunk). Printed white number words (one-ten) are also on the sides (doors) of each car.

All 10 cars have rotating wheels that really roll. The wheels have a rubber strip for a smooth ride. After a gentle push, the passengers snap securely in place. Each car is represented in one of four colors (orange, blue, green, red). The cars vary in length due to the number of “seats” in each car. All passengers are represented in purple color.

Rubber strip on rotating wheels

Passengers snap securely in place

Purple passengers


Counting

When counting passengers/cars, say the number names in the standard order. Model pairing each passenger/car with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one passenger/car. Children move from rote counting to counting concrete objects (the passengers/cars) and then begin to develop the idea of one-to-one correspondence as they realize that one number name goes with one passenger/car.


Identifying Numerals

Numeral representations for each number name should be introduced as children begin to rote count fluently. The Counting Cars activity provides opportunities for children to connect the number name with the numeral.


Identifying Number Words in Print

Children with emerging reading skills should be encouraged to read the names in white print on each car. The Counting Cars activity is helpful for children to understand that “four passengers” also represents the numeral “4” and the name in print “four.”

Counting Cars - Lakeshore Learning


Sequencing Numbers

Children will learn to sequence the cars from 1-10.

When appropriate, the cars should be in random order and the child can then sequence the cars (1-5 or 1-10) in the correct order.


Counting with one-to-one correspondence

“Touch and count” as the child places each passenger in the car. Start with a few cars (e.g., 1-3) and increase range (e.g., 1-5) as child demonstrates understanding of one-to-one correspondence.


My experience using the Counting Cars activity

I have used the Counting Cars activity in a variety of ways. I have worked with children that are unable to count or identify numbers. I have also worked with 3-year-olds that are able to identify every number between 1-10. The Counting Cars activity can be easily adapted to meet the needs of each child.


Additional Activities

Asking simple WH questions 

This is a great activity I have tried when working in small groups of 2-3 children. Each child is encouraged to respond to the following questions:

  • Who has number ___?” The child may respond “me” or “I do.” Also, one child can identify the peer (by name or by saying “he/she”) that has the number ___.
  • What number is this?”
  • Where is number ___?”
  • Which number is missing?” – Align the cars (1-5 or 1-10) and remove a car (or several cars). Ask the child to identify the missing number(s). This activity reinforces identifying numbers and is helpful as children learn sequencing numbers. If exposed to this activity, the child should be able to recognize all numbers used during activity.

Note picture below in which number ‘4’ is missing.


Matching – Encourage child to look at a number of passengers and have the child match the appropriate car with the passengers.

As the child demonstrates understanding of the connection between a specific number of passengers and a numeral, the teacher or caregiver can present the following field of two activity:

For example, 3 passengers = car #3

Start with a small range of cars (1-3) and increase range as child recognizes numbers. The goal is for children to match the number of passengers with the numeral (car). The Counting Cars activity connects the concept of a specific number of passengers and how they are represented by a number on a car.


“Before” and “After”

  • “Which number comes before 8?” Child should respond, “7.”
  • “Which number comes after 8?” Child should respond, “9.”

“More than” or “Less than”

  • “Which car has more passengers?” Child should respond, “7.”
  • “Which car has less passengers?” Child should respond, “4.”

Counting On

Provide opportunities for children to rote count from a number other than 1 (i.e., 3) without having to go back and start at 1. The child should be able to continue to count (4, 5, 6) without starting from 1.


Adding

Three passengers in the car.

Two more passengers get in car.

How many passengers in the car?

3 + 2 = 5


Subtracting

Three passengers in the car.

Counting Cars - Lakeshore Learning

One passenger gets out of the car.

How many passengers are in the car?

3 – 1 = 2


“How Many?”

When counting the passengers/cars, emphasize that the last number name said indicates the number of passengers/cars counted.


“Cardinality” – Provide opportunities for child to see how many passengers there are. For example, show any amount of passengers between 1 and 10 and ask, “How many?” Child should respond, “5.” Cardinality refers to the actual number of passengers.


Most children also demonstrated improvement in other areas, including but not limited to:

  • not calling out
  • identifying peer names
  • responding when name is called
  • waiting turn
  • taking turns
  • sharing
  • isolating index finger to point
  • joint attention
  • improved attention span
  • eye-hand coordination
  • pincer grasp
  • Understanding “push” (secure passengers) and “pull” (remove passengers)

Suggestions

  • Teaching multiple concepts at once is not a good idea. Teach number identification (i.e., “What number is this?” or “Where is number 6?”), sequencing, and one-to-one correspondence, separately. For example, teach sequencing numbers (1-5 or 1-10) only after child is able to recognize numbers.
  • Children who confuse numbers during a sequencing activity (i.e., 1, 2, 5, 3, 7, 4), skip numbers (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8), or repeat numbers (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 5) require more practice counting within a smaller range of numbers.
  • Keep in mind that the child should be fluent within a range of numbers (i.e., 1-5) before increasing the range (i.e., 1-10).
  • Encourage child to connect the number of passengers (7 passengers), the oral number word (“seven”), the written number word (“seven”), and the numeral (“3.”)

Summary

The Counting Cars activity is a set of 10 plastic cars and 60 passengers. The cars are numbered individually and easy to use. Children will learn to:

  • count
  • identify numerals
  • identify number words in print
  • sequence numbers
  • count with one-to-one correspondence

Additional Information

Where to buy

Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase and Lowercase

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The Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase and Lowercase (Constructive Playthings) will help children identify letters of the alphabet. Depending on the child’s age, developmental level, and/or grade, the child can learn the following concepts:

  • identify uppercase letters
  • identify lowercase letters
  • identify letter names
  • identify letter sounds
  • identify vowel sounds
  • sequence letters
  • match uppercase with lowercase partner
  • write uppercase letters
  • write lowercase letters

Materials

The Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase contains 40 letters (28 consonants and 12 vowels) and the Giant Magnetic Letters – Lowercase contains 40 letters (28 consonants and 12 vowels). All letters are plastic and each letter has magnets on the back. The Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase and Lowercase are represented in six colors (purple, green, red, orange, blue, yellow).


Identifying uppercase and lowercase letters

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Identifying letter names

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This is the letter “Bb.” Emphasize uppercase “B” and lowercase “b” while pointing to each letter.


Identifying letter sounds

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The sound the letter “B” represents is /b/ (e.g., “ball” or “book.”) Point to both uppercase “B” and lowercase “b” as children imitate the /b/ sound.


Identifying vowels

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Identifying long and short vowel sounds:

  • short -a- = “apple”
  • long -a- = “acorn”
  • short -e- = “elephant”
  • long -e- = “eagle”
  • short -i- = “insect”
  • long -i- = “ice cream”
  • short -o- = “ostrich”
  • long -o- = “open”
  • short -u- = “umbrella”
  • long -u- = “unicorn”

A long vowel sounds like the name of the letter.


Sequencing letters

When appropriate, children can learn to sequence letters from A-Z in three different ways:

Uppercase and lowercase letters

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Uppercase letters

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Lowercase letters

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Matching uppercase and lowercase letters

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Encourage children to match uppercase letters to lowercase partners.


Writing uppercase and lowercase letters

The Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase and Lowercase are useful as children learn to form both uppercase and lowercase letters. The teacher should also model the process of writing each letter.


My experience using the Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase and Lowercase

In my practice as a special educator and SEIT, I have used the Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase and Lowercase to teach letter identification, sequencing letters, and letter-sound correspondence. I have also taught consonant-vowel combinations (e.g., “ba”) and one syllable words. For the most part, my experience includes working with children unable to identify the letters, but I have also worked with 3-5 year-olds able to identify all letters (uppercase and lowercase) as well as their corresponding sounds.

The Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase and Lowercase have been very useful when coaching families to model each individual sound or cv combinations, which is useful to promote speech development.

Coaching families has been much easier when using the Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase and Lowercase and children tend to remain engaged for longer periods of time. When I focus on phonic instruction, I do not teach letter names or sounds specifically. Instead, my goal is for the child to imitate each individual sound or combination of sounds.

I have observed many teachers, parents, and caregivers focusing on either uppercase or lowercase letters at once. Based on my experience, it is much more beneficial to teach a child uppercase and lowercase letters together, one letter at a time (e.g., “Aa”). As children learn letter names, they should also be encouraged to match the uppercase letter to the lowercase letter.


Additional Activities

Ask simple WH questions – This is a great activity I have tried when working in small groups of 2-3 children. Each child has a letter and I ask one of the following questions:

  • “What letter is this?”
  • “Who has the letter ___?”: The child may respond “me” or “I do.” Also, one child can identify the peer (by name or by saying “he/she”) that has the letter ___.
  • “Where is the letter ___?”
  • “Which letter makes the ___ sound?”

Most children also demonstrated improvement in other areas, including but not limited to:

  • imitating letter sounds after a peer
  • not calling out
  • identifying peer names
  • responding when name is called
  • waiting turn
  • taking turns
  • sharing
  • isolating index finger to point
  • joint attention
  • improved attention span

Suggestions

Uppercase and lowercase letters – I strongly recommend teaching uppercase and lowercase letters at the same time (e.g., “H” and “h”).

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The Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase and Lowercase are perfect as children learn to spell:

Their name

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Sight words

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The Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase and Lowercase are also great to teach:

CV Combinations

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CVC Combinations

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Summary

The Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase and Lowercase are chunky and colorful plastic letters with magnets on the back. Children will be able to:

  • identify uppercase letters
  • identify lowercase letters
  • identify letter names
  • identify letter sounds
  • identify vowels
  • sequence letters
  • match uppercase and lowercase letters
  • write uppercase letters
  • write lowercase letters

Additional Information

Where to buy

Giant Magnetic Letters – Uppercase:

Giant Magnetic Letters – Lowercase:

Color Rings Sorting Board

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The Color Rings Sorting Board (Lakeshore Learning) will help children identify colors. Depending on the child’s age, developmental level, and/or grade, the child can learn the following concepts:

  • identify some colors (red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple)
  • sort according to color

All six colors are represented in three ways: 1. color rings, 2. color pegs, and 3. color names printed on board.

Color Rings Sorting Board - Lakeshore Learning


Materials

The Color Rings Sorting Board contains 25 wooden pieces (1 board and 24 rings). Each ring is represented in one of six colors (4 blue, 4 red, 4 green, 4 yellow, 4 orange, 4 purple).


My experience using the Color Rings Sorting Board

In my practice as a special educator and SEIT, I have used the Color Rings Sorting Board to teach colors and sorting. I have worked with children that are unable to identify colors. I have also worked with 3-year-olds that are able to identify all colors as well as sort the colors.


Additional Activities

Ask simple WH questions – This is a great activity I have tried when working in small groups of 2-6 children. Each child has a ring and I ask one of the following questions:

  • “What color is this?”
  • “Who has the blue ring?”: The child may respond “me” or “I do.” Also, one child can identify the peer (by name or by saying “he/she”) that has the blue ring.
  • “Where is the orange ring?”

“One” and “All” – Encourage child to follow simple commands:

“Put ‘one’ red ring on the board.”

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“Put ‘all’ the purple rings on the board.”

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Sorting – Encourage child to sort rings according to COLOR:

“Put all the green rings on the board.”

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Most children also demonstrated improvement in other areas, including but not limited to:

  • not calling out
  • identifying peer names
  • responding when name is called
  • waiting turn
  • taking turns
  • sharing
  • isolating index finger to point
  • joint attention
  • improved attention span
  • hand-eye coordination

Suggestions

Consider “field of ___” questions:

Field of two – one (1) of two (2) pieces is correct:

“Where is the blue ring?”

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Field of three – one (1) of three (3) pieces is correct:

“Where is the green ring?”

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After demonstrating understanding of field of three, most children are able to identify individual colors when all six color rings are presented together. Encourage child to find rings of a particular color:

“Can you find the orange rings?”

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Summary

The Color Rings Sorting Board is a wooden board with 24 colorful wooden rings. Children will be able to:

  • identify some colors (red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple)
  • sort according to color

Additional Information

Where to buy