Using manipulatives together with ten frames help learners to develop number sense. Making your own manipulatives are just as fun as using it for a fun counting activity!

How to make apple manipulatives: Use our Apple Pie Playdough Recipe and let kids squash the apples as they count or make them permanent by using a salt dough recipe:
• Make a small batch of salt dough. (We used our left over dough from another project.) Half a cup of flour(all purpose or cake) plus half a cup of salt together with a quarter cup of water. Mixed this together and add a drop of food coloring.
• Let the kids make small round balls with the dough.
• Press it a bit at the sides to give it an "apple" shape.
• Use short green craft sticks as stems. You could add leaves to the stems if you wish. Add a little bit of glue at the end of the sticks and press into the balls.
• Leave to dry for a few days(or you could bake it in the oven for 3 - 4 hours, 80'C/160'F)

Apple Ten Frames Activity

For the counting activity you will want to cut leaf shapes from craft foam or cardboard. Write numbers 1-10 on them. Use a ten frame printable like this one from A Teachable Teacher or make your own.

Put the the apples, leaves, and ten frame together on a Compartment Divided Kids Tray.

The learner takes one leaf at a time, recognize the number and count out the corresponding apples. The apples are added to the ten frame, from left to right(the same direction we write).

Extension Activity:

Use a whiteboard or paper to write on. Choose a leaf. Write the number down. Add the apples to the ten frame. Choose another number. Write it down. Add that number of apples to the frame. How many apples do you have now? Do the written sum. One could do adding and/or subtracting sums.

A hands-on counting activity, with the fun addition of making your own manipulatives. Would your kids enjoy this activity?

Here are more fun counting activities:

Nadia is South African mom to two littlies, a former preschool teacher and currently working as a reading therapist at a remedial school. She blogs over at Teach Me Mommy about easy and playful activities inspiring you to be your child's first teacher. Follow along on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is a homeschooling mother of six who strives to enjoy every moment with her kids through hands-on learning, crafts, new experiences, and lots of playing together. Beth is also the creator and author of 123 Homeschool 4 Me where she shares 1000+ free printables, creative homeschool lessons, crafts, and other fun ideas to help preschool and homeschooling families have fun while learning and exploring together.