I love the desert,, and this spring,, my PreK class has been learning all about desert landscapes, animals, and cactuses. I created this number recognition activity as a way for my students,, who I only see once a week, to work on two vital skills at once. Number recognition and fine motor skills, specifically their pincer grasp. This grasp is an important part of how children properly hold pencils, and at this point of the year for PreK, we are working hard to encourage proper tripod grip, for children to do that, we have to give them ample opportunities to build the right muscles, the proper position, and fine motor skills to hold a pencil comfortably. Using clothespins, especially these smaller ones places the thumb and finger in the pincer position and helps to develop this. I decided to make this a math activity because the students that need the most work on this in my class really enjoy math. Combining something,they excel at with something they need to work at helps keep their confidence high and the challenge of the activity at just the right level.
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Here is how I created it.
Gather your materials. You will need this cactus printable, small clothespins (I got mine at the dollar store), a laminator, a marker, scissors, and a hot glue gun.
Start by printing this out for free. I printed out two, so I could make one cactus with 1-10 numbers and one with 11-20. You may want to print it on cardstock especially if you aren’t laminating to make it sturdy.
I am adding the numbers before I laminate, but you can leave them blank and use them as a dry erase. I do want to laminate this because of the shape the lamination helps to make it sturdy. I am trying to be very intentional with what I do and don’t laminate to be kinder to the earth.
Cut the cactus and each flower out.
Glue the flowers onto the clothespins.
Time to play with this number recognition activity.
Download the free printable here.
The Night Flower by Lara Hawthorne is the inspiration for this post and number recognition activity. I am smitten with this book. It’s simply beautiful, but it also does an incredible job at explaining not just about Saguaro cactuses and their life cycle but also about the desert habitat in general. My PreK class loved it, and after reading it, we did a lesson about desert animals. We used what we learned about them in the book and then decided which animals belonged and which didn’t in the desert using photos( not illustrations) I printed off of Canva.com. We explored how they looked and if their features would help them survive in the desert. You have to get this book, the illustrations are stunning, and the text is a fun and informative look at a unique habitat and the flora and fauna that thrive there.
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