“It’s the green crayon!”
My daughter squeals at dinner. We are playing a game that I call What Am I Hiding? It’s a great game to play when you are at a restaurant, especially if it is a place that has crayons, salt and pepper shakers, sugar packets, and other various items on the table.
She gets to look at the collection of items for a moment before closing her eyes. When I’m sure she’s not peeking, I hide one (or more) of the objects. Her job is to guess what is missing. It’s great fun! She especially loved this game when she was between the ages of 2-3. We adapted it over time to include more items, but it rarely needed any modifications. She also enjoyed hiding items from me!
Now that she’s older, we enjoy playing this game. We don’t usually play with bears and we rarely have such a fancy cave, but the game is just as much fun with pennies hidden under a hand and it’s great for practicing number combinations. To get started, I let her look and count how many pennies make up the whole collection. Then, like the previous game, she closes her eyes and I hide some. Her job is to figure out how many pennies are hiding. When we started playing this game we would play with five pennies.
The development of mathematical reasoning is so interesting! Initially, she would tell me that she couldn’t know how many were under my hands.
“There could be any amount under there!” she would protest.
Her guesses started wild, so I would try to hide the same amount over and over again. I hid 1 and she would find 4 hiding under my hand. Next, I hid 4 so she would find 1 hiding. Then, I would return to hiding 1. Eventually, she learned to use her fingers to figure out the differences and now she just knows these combinations. Her favorite pairs are 0+5=5 and 5+0=5. Zeros are just so silly!
We’ve tried playing this game with 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 pennies too. Usually, I just let her pick a starting amount. I have visions of us playing this game with different money amounts and a collection of nickels and dimes, but we aren’t quite there yet. The original activity is still fun so we’ll just continue with it for the time being!