Rock Dominoes- Addition & Number bonds

Following our post on the Dot Method to perceive quantity by sight, I stumbled upon this idea of making Rock Dominoes in a Martha Stewart Craft site, and I straightway started brewing ideas on how to use these lovely handmade rock dominoes to teach Math.

Making the rock dominoes is easy! Just collect some rocks or smooth pebbles, and use a correction ink pen to inscribe the dots on the rocks.


Make a collection of rocks, with combinations of two quantities on either half of the rocks, with a dividing line. Get your child to recognise the quantity by sight. If your child is not sure, you can get them to check by counting the dots one by one on each side.

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To get your child to learn number bonds, ask your child to identify the two quantities on the rock. Then pair them up with the dot cards according to the exact quantities on the rock.

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Then ask your child to count all the dots on the two dot cards, to give you a sum total. You can prompt your child by asking ” How many dots are there altogether?”

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To conclude this practice, make number bonds statements like ” 3 and 4 make 7″, or addition sentence ” 3 plus 4 equals 7″. For older children, get them to write down the addition sentence 3 +4 =7

The rock dominoes and the dot cards are great visual aids to help your child grasp concepts of number bonds and addition. This approach also helps your child to understand the part-whole relationship in addition concepts.

Now go and rock it! 🙂


Dot Method Part 2- Playdough and Sticker Dot book

As mentioned in an earlier post on the Dot Method, one of the ways of learning the concept of quantity for numbers is the dot method. This method teaches children to use their visual perception to identify quantity of objects by sight.

1. Play Dough & Buttons

As a follow-up on the using the Dot Method to develop perception of quantity by sight, I prepared a learning tray where Rae gets to interact with play dough and buttons.

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You can use the dot cards and ask your child to create the same dot pattern by pressing the buttons on the play dough

2. Sticker Dot Book

Another fun activity to get your child to get familiar with identifying quantity of objects by sight is this hands-on activity of creating her very own Sticker Dot book. You can ask your child to use sticker dots, or other kinds of stickers such as foam stickers to create a  dot book.  Stick the number of stickers according to the number shown on each page. When the book is completed, you can use the book to go through with the child, so as to reinforce the dot method. It is also perfectly alright if your child prefers to use one-to-one correspondence method to count the number of stickers on each number page. Rae loves pointing out the numbers and counting in this number book she has created!

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Haze! 20 ideas for indoor activities at home!

The haze is here.. Time to stay indoors and have some fun at home!

Here is a list of 20 activities you can try out with your little ones! And have loads of fun, even when it’s all hazy & gloomy outside!

1. Water Play

Well, it looks like going to the swimming pool is not a good idea with the haze. Your child doesn’t have to feel deprived! Just create a water play area in the bathtub and throw in some water toys! For Rae, I created a game where she scoops up floating Ping Pong Balls with the shovel as fast as she can! 🙂

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2. Play Dough /strong>

There is endless fun with play dough, sculpting the dough into anything your child can dream up!


3. Get a pet!

This can be the time to get the pet your child has always wanted! Go assemble a fish tank using pebbles, water plants, and let some lovely guppies or terrapins inhabit it! Your child can have fun learning about pets, as well as learn how to be responsible taking care of the pet!


4. Plant a seed!

This is easiest science lesson you can create at home about plants! Plant a seed, let your child water it everyday and watch it grow!

5. Crafts & Painting!

Art has got to be Rae’s favourite activities! Present your child with open-ended art materials you can find at home, such as paper plates, paints, glue, scrap paper, tissue boxes, tape and see what your child can create with them!


6. Block or Lego Play

Another great idea for constructive play! Use your imagination and start building!

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7. Scavenger Hunt

Write down some clues on post-it notes and ask your child to start searching for the items! It will spark off great excitement in your children as they scramble around the house looking for the items!

8. Bake

Children derive great gratification from baking! Involve the child in making the dough, using cookie cutters, add the toppings and let them watch how they are baked in the oven! And the most irresistible part? Savouring their homemade cookies!! 🙂

Try using the pounded nuts for a pastry- chocolate tartlets!

9. Montessori Sensory Play

Just throw in some toy cars/animals and some sand/beans/penne pasta into a container or bin and watch your child do pretend play with them!

10. Cook!

Cook a simple meal with your child! Help them put on an apron and a chef hat. Involve them in the cutting of the vegetables or fruits using a butter knife. Make them feel like a junior iron chef!

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11. Have a picnic at home!

Lay out a picnic mat and some picnic food in a basket and enjoy tea time or snack time with your child! Right at home!


12. Teach your child games you used to play!

Take your child down your memory lane by playing some nostaglic games you used to play when you were young! Hopscotch, five stones, happy family cards, etc!

13. Camp at Home!

Set up a tent, and put in some sleeping pillows and have a pillow fight in there! Or use the torchlight for some adventure in the dark!

14. Cardboard Box play!

Recycle all the cereal boxes and other cardboard boxes and do constructive play with your child! Make a train, house or even a zoo!

15. Make popcorn and watch a movie together!
Your child will love to make his or her own popcorn and have a movie date with you!

16. Play Dress up!

Take out all the old accessories like hats, gloves, scarves or boots and dress up to be a character!

17. Board Games!

This is one family fun activity that never gets boring! Take out your junior Monopoly game, Pictionary, Boggle, Uno, whatever!

18. Puzzles

Another classic game to play! Completing a puzzle together somehow is a very bonding activity to do with your child! Plus it trains patience and perseverance!

19. Create an art gallery at home!

Take out all the art pieces your child has done in school and put them up like in an art gallery. Ask your child to take you on a tour in his very own art gallery by talking about how it was created, and what ideas it represent! It sure will make your child feel proud!

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20. Create indoor gym!

You can create your indoor gym at home! Just create an obstacle course with tunnels, little stools, bean bags, hoola hoops! Or pour in lots of plastic balls into the cot and let your child roll in them!

10 Reasons Why Daddy is the best!

On this special Fathers’ Day, I love to ponder why my little girl loves her Daddy to bits!

Dedicated to all Daddies out there!

10 reasons why Daddy is the best!


1. Daddy gives me rough and tumble play and throws me on the bed, tickles me non-stop even when mommy says Stop!

2. Daddy ties a towel around my neck and fly me around the house like a superhero and makes me feel omnipotent! (Even I could hardly sit up, walk and let alone, fly!)

3. Daddy lets me sit on his shoulder and asks me to reach and touch the moon! (When no one else tells me I could!)

4. Daddy gives me an ice-cream treat without fussing over the ice-cream smeared all over my face!

5. Daddy buys me a present whenever he comes back from an overseas work trip and kisses me all over to let me know how much he misses me!

6. Daddy cooks up funny stories just to make me eat my vegetables, put on a blue dress (not pink!) and brush my teeth.

7. Daddy buys me my first Lego set, my first bike and possibly my first pint of beer :9

8. Daddy is the only one smiling at me in the crowd ( & still think I rock when even when I forget all my moves during my first school concert!)

9. Daddy is my biggest fan when I make him sit down and listen to songs I made up!

10. Daddy prays for me every night and tells me I’m the best! 🙂

The Dot Method for Teaching Numbers

One of the ways of learning the concept of quantity for numbers is the dot method, which originated from Glenn Doman. According to them, children have the innate ability to identify the quantity by sight. Using the Dot Method such as Dot flashcards can strengthen your child’s ability to perceive actual numbers by sight. (Though I believe it is also important to use one-to-one correspondence when counting quantity of objects).

You can do rote counting showing the dot flashcards and then ask the child to match the number number to the dot cards.

Or you can make your own, using index cards and dot stickers (available from Popular Bookstore)

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To reinforce the dot method, you can paste dot labels on disposable paper plates, and each plate has increasing number of dots from 1-10.

I got Rae to count the number of dots, say out the number and place the beads one by one on the dots to match.

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Other than using beads, you can use poms poms, flat marbles ( which won’t roll away!), small pebbles, beans or other counters that you have!

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This matching activity actually prepares your child to learn one-to-one correspondence which is an important Math skill for counting.

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After you observed your child has given sufficient practice with the games above, you can then use the different paper plates and ask your child to estimate the number of dots on the plates.

With lots of practice, your child will be able to perceive exact quantity of dots in no time! 🙂

Suitable for 20-36 months

10 Great Ideas To Teach Naming & Word Recognition!

Here are 10 great ideas you can try out with your preschooler to teach word recognition!

1. Name objects in the home or familiar environment

Whenever possible, name objects found in the familiar environment for the toddler. ” This is a table”, ” That is a soft toy”. Be patient as it takes lots of repetition for the child to process new words. What you are providing is the language input needed for vocabulary building and semantic understanding!

2. Label objects found in the home

You can print or write on index cards names of objects found in your child’s room or home and paste them on the objects (e.g. table, chair, mirror, toys). Consistently reinforce the names of the objects, and the written words helps your child to develop print awareness which is a pre-reading skill.

3. Create a vocabulary book

Recycle your magazine or brochures by asking your child to choose a picture or photo. Tear them out and paste them onto a notebook. Write the names of the objects for the child. You can use this little booklet as a bedtime book to read the names of the objects with your child. Make it enjoyable and fun whenever possible!

4. Go for a learning trip to learn thematic sight words

Choose a theme (e.g. zoo animals, farm animals, plants, airport), and go on a learning trip with your child! Point out the animals or objects you want your child to learn. You can ask your child to snap photos of them with your camera, print out the photos and make your own picture cards! That way  learning comes alive and contextualised, and a positive learning experience definitely will motivate your child to learn enthusiastically and faster!

5. Seize teachable moments in your family routines

Family or travel routines are great opportunities to teach your child to pick up new words! They can include meal times, cooking in the kitchen, watering the plants, getting ready for school, going to the zoo, etc. One of my favourite times are bus trips that I take with my daughter. I love pointing out the trees, birds, people, traffic lights, houses, shops, etc to her and ignite a sense of curiosity about them.

6. I spy with my little eye

This is one traditional game that works wonders when it comes to purposeful play. Play the game to inject some fun into the naming and identification of objects. You can take turns with your child, and say, ” I spy with my little eye, something that is red, round and is very crunchy!” This motivates your child to listen attentively for the cues and to look for the object and name it!

7. Mystery Bag

Put several objects into a mystery bag, feel for an object, describe it and ask your child to make a guess what it could be. Or ask your child to reach into the bag and guess what she touched before pulling it out of the bag. Kids love this games the same way babies love playing peekaboo!

8. Fishing Game

Make a fishing rod with a magnet at the end of the string. Then attach some paper clips to the sight words, read out a word and ask your child to fish for the correct word. This again makes word recognition fun and engaging for your child!

9. Hopscotch

Create a hopscotch in the walkway with chalk, and write some sight words in each box. As the child steps into each box, ask the child to name the words! A very kinesthetic learning activity!

10. Scavenger Hunt

Read out the sight words and ask your child to go on a Scavenger Hunt for the objects (e.g. soft toy, bowl, spoon, pencil, crayon).  Then ask her to match the objects to the words. Your child will be elated to start looking for the objects!

Hope this list tickles your mind to think of fun-filled activities for your child to learn naming and word recognition! Feel free to share any other great idea that works! 🙂

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Sight Word Recognition- Matching Objects with Words

Rae’s Chinese enrichment centre weekly gives Chinese Sight Words Flashcards as take-home learning materials.  I was thinking how to use these cards to reinforce her sight word recognition skills. Personally I am not a firm believer of just using flashcards to teach sight word recognition without teaching them in context and with concrete objects. I believe that children internalise new words faster and retain them longer when they are able to make the cognitive connection between the new words and what it represents. Before children can make the mental link between the words and the pictorial representation, they must first be able to relate the words to real experiences, objects or actions.

So to begin with, I got Rae to go on a Scavenger Hunt around the house looking for the objects that represent the sight words. I was amazed at how well she remembered where everything is kept, even in the remote places! She collected a good mix of real objects, her own toys and the craft work she made and put them into the collection box.

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Next, I laid out the sight word cards a few at a time, and asked her to match the right object from the collection box to the sight words. Because she found the objects herself, she was able to quickly recall and match them in no time. This activity allows children to illustrate the words with familiar objects from their environment, hence the learning is contextualised and concretised. Matching real objects with the sight words also taps into their visual memory, aids language processing and helping them to understand the semantic meaning in each word.

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It also helps that it is a kinesthetic activity where she gets to move around the big rug to complete the matching! She gets busy!! 🙂

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Once she mastered matching the objects with the sight words (concrete), I then proceeded to ask her to match the sight words with pictures (pictorial). It was much easier for her to match the pictures because of her prior learning experience of matching the objects. Read out the words to your child, to reinforce the word recognition skills. Once you observed your child is able to identify a few sight words quite well, you can then proceed to use the sight word cards to teach independent reading (without pictorial cues).

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