Finger counting has long endured a bad rap as a way to teach early math skills to preschoolers! Even some professionals still contend that counting on fingers is primitive math that does not translate well into abstract or mental math concepts. On the contrary, preschoolers need plenty of practice with the tactile and visual skills so important to learning early numeracy; counting fingers, various manipulatives, and/or making math models (on paper or through crafts) invite children to learn and retain information through sensory inputs. The Wikki Stix counting hands craft below is a playful extension of a preschooler’s own hands. Invite your children to create the Wikki Stix counting hands for hours of play and hands-on learning!

## Wikki Stix Counting Hands Craft for Preschool!

Materials needed:

• Any 2 colors of Wikki Stix
• Pencil
• Paper (to trace the child’s handprints)

On a piece of paper, trace your child’s handprints. Invite your child to trace (outline) the handprints with Wikki Stix (see photo below). Once the initial handprint is outlined with Wikki Stix, gently lift the outline from the paper and onto a table or a large plastic tray.

Using the Wikki Stix handprint outline as a guide, have the children trace inside the handprint with additional Wikki Stix until the handprint is entirely filled-in. Wikki Stix is a wonderful tool to enhance fine motor strength and control as the children finish the craft.

## Math Games to Play – One –to-One Correspondence

One-to-One Correspondence is the knowledge that a certain number relates to a specific quantity of objects. The goal is to help young children gain confidence not only with number recognition, but to help them move beyond just recognition and toward the question: How many items make up any specific number?

To play: Place any number of counters above each of the created handprints. Invite the children to fold all the fingers/thumbs down to begin. Set any number of counters (1-5) out above each of the handprints. See if the children can unfold the corresponding number of fingers on the individual handprints (see photo above). The Wikki Stix handprints are durable and can be used repeatedly for early math games at home or in the classroom!

Extension Activities:

• Invite the children roll dice. For each die rolled, have the children unfold over the corresponding number of fingers on each handprint (see photo below).
• Label index cards with any number the children have had introduced or are currently working on (numbers 1-10). Hold up one number and invite the children to unfold the corresponding number of fingers on the Wikki Stix handprint crafts.
• Use additional Wikki Stix to create the numbers 1-10. Working left handprint to right, invite the children to label each finger/thumb in number order 1-10 (see photo above).
• As the children gain confidence with numbers and one-to-one correspondence, invite the children to add two handprints together (for example: 4+3 = 7). Begin with smaller numbers on each of the handprints and work toward adding 5 + 5 = 10.

Preschoolers love to play with math concepts. Finger counting helps young children gain early math confidence through repetitive visual and tactile practice. We hope your kids enjoy creating, playing, and learning with the Wikki Stix Counting Hands!

For more ways to play with Wikki Stix and Early Math see:

Free Early Math Lesson Plan for Preschool and Kindergarten

Wikki Stix Rekenreks