## Readiness for Kindergarten – Learning That Stix with Six

I knew I had a couple of empty egg cartons but I couldn’t find them earlier today. I saw this handy hint of using them to hold breakable Christmas decorations so they are already stored away. Luckily I found something else to use for number 6–a muffin baking pan–for this learning and kindergarten readiness idea.

Exploring numbers is a fun activity for little ones about age 2 and up. Lots and lots of experiences are needed for children to build their understanding of numbers or number sense. A muffin tin, small egg carton or half a big one are perfect for discovering “sixness”. How many is 6? Let your little one put 1 block in each section. That’s 6. Your child can dump them out and try it with 1 animal in each part. Another 6. Toy cars, action figures, playdough balls or other small objects can be used as your child makes groups of 6.

Your child may be not be able to correctly count to 6 but just putting an item in each space and seeing what 6 things look like together will build brain connections and readiness for kindergarten. Just playing with toys and naming numbers is a beginning. Older kids may be able to count 6. Math whizes may count out 6 of one kind and 6 of another and notice that makes 12. Offer some groups of things that have more than enough–like bottle caps. Are there enough keys? How about erasers? Kids learn as they play and discover.

Some other ideas to suggest to your child might be to hop, spin, or jump 6 times. Take 6 giant steps, 6 baby steps, or 6 dinosaur steps.  Tuck 6 toys in a toy box. Put 6 shoes or boots on the shelf by the door. 6 stuffies are having a nap. Is anybody else sleepy?

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