My 4-year-old daughter and I made Counting Felt Hands to learn how to do simple math problems with this fun, hands-on activity!
When children first learn to count, they often use their fingers.
With their hands, kids can learn how to recognize patterns, identify groups of 5 and 10, and skip count by 5 and 10.
In addition, basic math (addition, subtraction, multiplication) can be computed with the help of their own body!
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Counting with felt hands: what you need for the educational activity
- Felt, construction paper, card stock, or cardboard
- We used stiff felt for durability, but just be aware that your wrist may get sore as I experienced from cutting. You may want to consider soft felt instead!
- We used colorful felt so that each pair of hands were a certain color and therefore associated with groups of 10s. However, you could make each felt hand the same color if you prefer
- Black marker
- A pair of cute child hands 🙂
- +/- Dot stickers
Counting with felt hands: how to set up the activity
- Trace each pair of hands 10 times (10 x 10 = 100 fingers!)
- Cut hand shapes
- Optional: Label finger numbers and/or label 5, 10, 15, 20, etc.
- Learning activities:
- Mix up the hands & sort by number order
- Mix up the hands. Write 5, 10, 15, 20 etc on stickers or paper and match it in sequential order on the hands
- Practice adding and subtracting by 5s and 10s
- Learn basic multiplication by discussing sets of hands
Counting practice with felt hands: candid photos
Here are my daughter’s little hands from when she was 3! Although this idea for teaching counting was conceived over a year ago, it took time for her to show interest in it!
She tried to help me cut a few hands, but quickly realized that it was too difficult.
Over the next 2 days, I gradually cut the rest of the hands.
Counting with felt hands: delayed interest in the learning activity!
Despite all of the hard work in prepping the activity, my daughter showed no interest in the felt hands!
At first, I felt bummed that she did not care for it. However, due to my past experiences with working with children, I understood that it just might not be the right time.
Gradually, I tried to reintroduce it every few months to no avail.
However, last week, my daughter was rummaging through our Chinese activity storage bin, and said she wanted to use the Counting Felt Hands!
At last, she placed them on a small tray, as that is what we usually do when update our Montessori shelves with new activities!
Then she sorted, aligned, and rearranged each of the hands independently!
We also turned the hands over to the blank side. Then she matched dot stickers (available here) to the number of fingers shown.
Lastly, my daughter asked me write addition equations on the easel (available here), and she felt that the problems were too easy! Whoohoo!
If your child has fun learning how to count with Counting Felt Hands, please let us know in the comments below!
More hands-on learning activities for children
- How I’m Teaching My Children Basic Math For Free and Without Workbooks
- 10+ useful Chinese resources for learning counting and math
- Left Versus Right Hand: How to Teach Your Child Left and Right with Stickers!