The preschool kiddos have been little squirrels recently! They have collected SO MANY acorns over the past few weeks, so I’ve been integrating acorns into our preschool day. Today I’d like to share some simple fall math activities we did using numbered acorns.
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Acorns (we used real acorns the kids gathered, but fake acorns would work too)
Permanent marker or acrylic paint pen
Kid tweezers or tongs
Acrylic acorns (sometimes called table scatter)
Use a permanent marker or paint pen to write numbers on the acorns. I used a black permanent marker the first time around. However, I noticed that the numbers were a bit difficult to see on our darker acorns. So I grabbed a white paint pen to write the numbers for the other activities.
Place the numbered acorns in a bowl. Place the acorn table scatter in a separate bowl, then place everything on a tray. If you want to, add the wooden spools to the tray.Then let the fall math activities commence! We used the number acorns in a few different ways. The activities can be adjusted based on the specific needs of your children/students.
Use number acorns in a variety of fall math activities
This is such an important early learning skill, as I’ve probably mentioned a zillion times! In terms of math, one-to-one correspondence means matching objects to numbers. For this task, I had the children count the appropriate acrylic acorns to match each number. Some did this quickly, while others were very methodical. Still others needed some extra helping counting to check their work. The children used their fingers or tweezers to count out the acorns.
One of my boys was very interested in helping me set everything up. I set ten spools along the top of a bamboo tray. He then placed each numbered acorn on top of each spool, in the correct order from one to ten. I was so impressed with how focused he was on the task. He can be easily frustrated, but he worked hard the entire time – even when the acorns fell a few times! During this task, saying the numbers aloud can be really helpful to children. Counting out loud and going back to count from one also help firm up their number knowledge.
This is a great idea for children who are secure with their number sense. Children can lead this activity, with help from an adult as needed. They put numbers together to create two and three digit numbers. For example, one hundred twenty-seven would require the acorns numbered 1, 2, and 7 to be placed in the correct order. The kiddos can also look at number cards to try to recreate those numbers.
Numbered acorns can also be used with children who are interested in, or learning about, addition. I like telling stories about squirrels and their acorns for this activity! I placed the acorn numbers down, then encouraged the kiddo to place acrylic acorns by the number. Then we worked together to count the total! For 5+2, I’d tell a silly store – “One silly squirrel collected 5 acorns in the morning. At night, he found 2 more. How many did he collect?” I placed the acorns labeled 5 and 2 down on the tray – separate from each other, but still close. The child placed five acrylic acorns under the 5, and two under the 2. Then we counted them to determine the squirrel had collected 7 all together. Then I followed up with “Yes! Five plus two equals seven!”
There are many more fall math activities that can be done with these numbered acorns, but I’ll stop now! Do you have any you’d like to share? If so, drop me a comment below.
If you’re looking for more acorn activities, pop on over to my Acorn Pinterest board!