Bear Counters – we LOVE them! I am fairly certain the whole homeschool world had a set before we did, but I’m so glad we have them for our school days.
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For 5+ years, we’ve used animal counters, but they aren’t quite the same. 😉
I purchased a set of Bear Counters to accompany our Teddy Bear literature-based unit, since no manipulative is more fun during a teddy bear study! (I’ll post the details of the Teddy Bear unit soon – SO fun!)
I’ll be honest: On my least creative days (which are frequent), I fall back to us using our manipulatives in the same old way. While I enjoy boring at times, my kiddos stay much more engaged if I consistently introduce new, fun ways of using our same old things.
I have found that if I can brainstorm and do a bit of internet research, we can use our same old puzzles and manipulatives for longer periods of time without them growing stale.
To give you a little boost in your own homeschool, take a read through these ideas.
Better yet, leave your own ideas in the comments! I’m sure there are tons I have yet to think of!
Ideas for Using Bear Counters in Our Homeschool
Browse through this list of ideas and find some new-to-you ways to spice up your school day with Bear Counters!
Note that this list is particular to the Bear set that I purchased from Amazon. It contains 96 bears, containing 6 colors and 3 different sizes of bear.
The bear colors include: green, blue, red, orange, yellow, and purple.
→ Use Bear Counters as one-to-one counting practice. Have your child count to ten or twenty using one counter per number. You could also use number cards for this activity.
→ Group Bears by color
→ Group Bears by size – small, medium, large
→ Color the inside bottoms of 6 styrofoam bowls with markers, each with one of the bear colors. Have your child sort the bears by color into each bowl.
→ Play the Bears Dice Game: Place all bears in the center of the table. Each player rolls a die and takes that number of bears from the center of the table. The person with the most bears at the end of the game wins!
→ There are lots of variations to the above Dice Game:
- Use two dice and add the numbers for addition practice.
- Use one 10- or 12-sided die and one smaller die with each roll. Then subtract the difference and that is the number of bears the player can take.
- Use two dice and multiply, taking the product in bears from the middle of the table.
→ Practice skip counting using Bear Counters and a Hundreds Chart: Place a Bear on each multiple of 5 or 10 or your chosen multiple to practice.
→ Teach the concept of number bonds using Bear Counters. Download a set of Number Cards and use Bear Counters either as the whole or parts of the number.
→ Practice reading number words. Use the correct amount of bear counters to correlate to the number word.
→ Divide bears into equal groups. Write multiplication and division equations.
→ Have your child choose several bears and divide them into two groups. Write addition and subtraction equations.
→ Make up math fact stories using the bears. Here’s an example:
- The bears are at the park! 3 bears go down the slide. 2 bears swing on the swing set. How many bears are there in all?
Use the bear counters to demonstrate the story as you tell it.
After you’ve demonstrated how to tell a few math fact stories, have your child tell you a few! This activity can easily be used with all four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division).
→ Practice ordinal numbers: Line up several colors and sizes of bears. Then give your child directions such as, “Find the 3rd green bear,” or “What color is the fifth bear?”.
→ Practice patterns. Create patterns with your bear counters: red-blue-red-blue and the like. Make the patterns as easy or as hard as your child enjoys!
→ Enjoy imaginative play! Find every play animal in your house and have a zoo, farm, forest, or anything else your child can dream up! If you have a dollhouse, your child can re-create Goldilocks and the Three Bears! The possibilities with imaginative play are endless!
How do you use Bear Counters in your own home? Please share your ideas in the comments!