Today’s CAMPING focus is on the iconic campfire. I used this as an opportunity to illustrate numerical value to the boys. At 2 and 3, each of them can count to twenty; however, much like the Alphabet Song, this is more a sequential memorization rather than understanding the value associated with each number.
Craft/Activity/Snack: Campfire Counting CraftObjective: To illustrate the value of numbers 1 through 6 (or greater if you choose to do more)
Skills Utilized: Cognitive: Counting and number recognition; fine motor skills, speech and language
Suggested Reading: Looking Closely through the Forest by Frank Serafini, All Aboard! National Parks: A Wildlife Primer, Curious George Goes Camping
Materials: You will need glue, scissors, light colored crayons and black, yellow, orange, and brown paper. We used construction paper for the black background and orange/yellow flames; however, I used brown crepe paper for the logs. The texture added a new element to the project (you could even use small twigs or pieces of untreated mulch!)
For the numbers 1-6, you will need 21 “logs” and 21 “flames”. I free handed each but feel free to use a template like these.
Fold the black paper in half lengthways “like a hot dog” and then in thirds to create 6 even sections. Trace the folded lines with the crayon and write the numbers 1-6 in each box with dots corresponding to each.
Provide each child with their own set and work together to discuss the objective of the activity. Work at their pace to go through each box with the correct number of logs and flames. Encourage them to show you 1 finger (2 fingers, 3 fingers, etc.) and to count each dot in the box, or to name the color they of the flame they are gluing.
They may choose to do all the logs first:
Or to complete each box before moving on to the next:
Even with two boys at similar ages and stages of development, their finished projects turned out differently. Cousin M was very precise about laying his logs horizontally with as little overlap as possible, whereas Jasper loved mashing everything right on top of the last piece.
When they’re finished, point out the gradual growth of each campfire and explain how two is bigger than one, 4 is bigger than two, 3 is smaller than 5, etc.
Ways to expand upon this activity:
- Discuss fire safety – “Only you can prevent forest fires”
- Extend the numbers to 10 or greater
- Use a second language to identify the numbers
- Make a real campfire
- Make a pretend campfire out of toilet paper rolls and tissue paper