Activity ideas using Number Town
Anytime a child is struggling with a task or problem, reach for Number Town and let the child visualize the given task or problem on the playing board using cards.
We have a few tips for interesting activities. Get inspired and don’t be afraid to come up with your own!
With each tip, we also tried to suggest an activity that can be changed or adjusted by changing the card type or their number. Feel free to experiment! If you or your students think of other activities, try them out.
Visual-motoric coordination and concentration
- Divide the cards by colors. You can also come up with other sorting criteria (animals, things, plants, …)
- From the pair, one person will lay down the agreed number of cards in a row (in this particular activity, refrain from using cards of which there is only one piece). The other person will lay down the same cards in the same order create their own row.
- Divide the playing board into halves and pick seven different types of cards (the number of cards can be adjusted according to the child’s age). Both sides will take one card from each type and randomly distribute all the cards on their half of the playing board. The first person will point to a card on their half. The other person will find and point to the same card on their half.
- On the playing board, create several piles of cards varying in size (for instance 3 cats, 5 birds, 1 dog, 4 flowers, 7 carrots, …) Count how many cards are in which pile.
- On the playing board, create several piles of cards varying in size (for instance 3 cats, 5 birds, 1 dog, 4 flowers, 7 carrots, …) Count how many cards are in which pile. The child will assign a card with the right number to each pile.
- On the playing board, create several piles of cards varying in size (for instance 3 cats, 5 birds, 1 dog, 4 flowers, 7 carrots, …) Count how many cards are in which pile. Choose a number, for example 3. With piles containing less than 3 cards, add enough cards to achieve the number 3. With piles containing more than 3 cards, remove cards so that only 3 are left.
- Lay the cards down in a random order and then find which is the first one, the second one, the fifth one…
- Lay the cards down in a random order, pick one of them and ask which card comes before/after that one.
- Make up your own card order. As you say it out loud, let the child lay down the cards according to your instructions.
- Specialty for experts: There are cats and a dog standing in a line. The dog is third from the front and fourth from the back. How many animals are standing in the line?
- Lay down two stacks of cards and try to determine which stack contains more/less cards. Place the right inequality symbol between them.
- Lay down a stack of cards and the child will create a different group containing more/less cards. Place the right inequality symbol between them.
- Lay down several stacks of cards and try to determine which has the highest/lowest number.
- Lay down a stack of cards and place a number card next to it. Compare.
- Lay down two number cards and compare them.
- Lay down three number cards and arrange them from the smallest to the highest number or vice versa. Gradually add more numbers.
- Take three animal cards and try to determine the order in which the animals would cross the finish line if they were racing. Later on, you can add more animals or different cards.
- Take three color cards and lay them down next to each other. How many different sequences can you find? Increase the number of cards later on.
A little bit of English
- Find all cards representing one-syllable words (alternatively two, three, …).
Alphabetically arrange these cards on the playing board. Select the number of cards
to arrange alphabetically according to the abilities and skills of the child..
- Randomly lay down cards on the playing board and try to come up with stories.
- With the help of these playing cards, you can practice vocabulary in any foreign language. You can talk about colors, animals, plants, … Just like with English, you can also practice prepositions. Just lay down the cards on the playing board and describe their position (in the front/back, on the right/left, in front of, behind, above, below, …)
- Creating the idea of tens as a separate concept: If we want to have 5 apples, we take 5 cards with apples and lay them down on the playing board. However, how can we lay down 15 apples? (We don’t have that many apple cards). Let’s agree that the red card represents a crate carrying 10 apples. If we then want to visualize 15 apples, we have to lay down one red card and five cards with apples. If we wanted 38 apples, we would have to lay down 3 red cards (3 crates with 10 apples in each) and 8 cards with apples.
- Partitioning a number in base ten can be visualized using substitute monochrome cards. Red cards can represent tens and green cards can represent ones. We can then visualize number 24 using 2 red cards and 4 green cards.
- Children are able to visualize a comparison of two numbers, for example 31 (3 reds and 1 green) and 27 (2 reds and 7 greens). First, we notice the number of red cards (tens). The greater number always has more tens, so number 31 is greater. If the number of tens is equal (for example with numbers 23 and 25), we need to compare the number of ones (green cards).
- Use the cards to create a simple board game. You will need colorful pawns (according to the number of players) and a single die. Decide on a route that the pieces will follow on the playing board. Place cards with predetermined meaning along the route. For example: number cards represent score points – when the pawn arrives at a field with the card 8, the player scores 8 points. The cat card means that the pawn has to move two squares back. The bird card means that the pawn can move three squares forward. The red card makes you skip a round. The green card lets you jump to the finish line. The yellow card forces you to go back to the beginning, … The number and meaning of cards can be changed according to the level of children’s interest. The only thing left is to roll the die and have fun! As you are playing the game, make sure that the predetermined rules work well and if that’s not the case, think of how they can be tweaked.