Looking for math activities with counting bears? You’ll find ideas in here for toddlers all the way through second grade!
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We had a set of bear counters in our closet that were just sitting there, so I spent the last couple of weeks finding math ideas for my toddler, preschooler, kindergartner, and second grader. If you have a set of bears, all the activities are free! And if you don’t have bears, you can use another colored manipulative instead.
Math activities with counting bears
1 – Colors – Color Sorting
My 2 1/2 year old loved these color sorting mats! Read more about them and get your free printable mat in this post.
2 – One-to-One Correspondence, Counting – Bears on the Dots
My Two has started rote counting (“One, two, four, five, seven!”) and can easily count objects up to two. In an attempt to move him past that, I printed these colorful dot cards from Prekinders. We used just the cards with 1,2, and 3 dots, but you can find cards with up to 10 dots at her site.
My little guy loved matching the colored bear to the dot, and I counted along with him as he worked. Our little learning session was under five minutes, which is quite typical for this age. What a great way to introduce one-to-one correspondence!
3 – Addition, Number Sense – Bears in Ten Frames
The math curriculum at my kids’ school has a strong focus on ten frames, so I was excited to find some wonderful ten frame teaching ideas at Boy Mama Teacher Mama. I printed these frames for free and used them in a game with my Five and Seven. They each rolled a die, put that number of bears on the frame, and then chose a different color of bears to fill in the rest of the frame. Finally, they wrote an addition problem to show an answer up to ten.
For example, rolling a 3 would mean putting three bears of one color on the frame and putting on 7 bears of another color. Then they wrote “3+7=10.”
4 – Graphing – Counting Bear Graph
We like to do a lot of simple graphing activities.
5 – Patterns – Bear Counter Pattern Strips
I created 25 bear counter pattern strips for preschoolers. My Four, who isn’t crazy about doing pattern activities, did the entire pack by himself in the back seat while driving to pick up his sister from school! These are designed to be simple, but kindergartners may also benefit. You can get them in this post.
6 – Problem Solving, Logic – Counting Bear Problem Solving Cards
I wrote a whole post about these fun problem solving cards. You’ll find both simple and more challenging problems. I’m not talking about simple addition and subtraction. Instead, you’ll find things like “You have eight bears. Half are green. Two are red. You have the same number of blue bears as red bears. What bears do you have?” You could put them in your purse with a bag of bears and do them in the waiting room! Visit this post to learn more and get your free printable.
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I don’t see a link for “FREE PRINTABLES?”
This is Kate, Anna’s assistant. This post is a round-up of six activities. Under each numbered activity, there are some words in brown that are links to the original posts. You’ll have to click over to another post for each printable. Thanks!
Do you cut the strips before you laminate them? Or laminate them and then cut?
It depends what laminator you’re using. I use a small laminator, so I laminate first and then cut. With a big school laminator, it usually works best to cut first, or the laminate peels around the edges.
I love your website – I’m training to be a teacher, and your ideas are just wonderful – thank you for sharing these!!
You’re very welcome!
Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful ideas!
You’re welcome, Adrienne!
I really enjoyed the bear counting pattern strips.
I hope you get a chance to use them!
Hello! Thank you for al these amazing printables! I do wonder if you could please send me the Problem-Solving-Cards-with-Counting-Bears.pdf? I’ve been having problems downloading a few of the links (.pdf) on your site. It seems like the site is timing out? Thanks in advance!
Check out these tips! One of them usually works: https://www.themeasuredmom.com/how-to-download-free-files/
Hello Anna loved the ideas I really enjoyed the bear counting pattern strips. How do I get a copy of them? My pre-schoolers would love this????
Hi Raquel! If you look back at this post (https://www.themeasuredmom.com/math-with-counting-bears/) you’ll see some words in brown under the picture of the bear pattern strips. The words say, “get them in this post.” Click on those words and scroll down to the end of the post to get the free printable.
My big girls are always so sad they don’t get to use the “fun little kid stuff” any more. Thanks for the problem solving cards! What a great way to keep using the bears throughout the years.
You’re very welcome, Chrystal – I hope your girls enjoy them!
Found this by Tuesday Tots. This is a great idea. Especially the patterns on step 5. Taking a print out of those. But my daughter who has just turned 3 does not get patterns as yet. Wonder when she will be ready for this?
Keerti, my four year old (as of May) understands patterns now, but it’s a new concept for him. He didn’t understand patterns at all until he was close to four years old. So it could be a while for her too!
These are great ideas! We have the bears, but they haven’t been used much lately.
These look great! I was just thinking about ordering some counting bears for Pooky. I’m going to pin them for when we’re ready to use them.
Have fun with them, Tiffiny!
Wow, these are wonderful activities! I’m definitely using…ALL of them! 🙂 I have students who struggle with many of these concepts in my kindergarten class (especially at the beginning of the year), and these hands-on activities will help! Thanks so much!
Yay – so glad you found some resources you can use, Gina!
Thanks so much for sharing our ten frames!!!
Hi, I have a question. I have a kindergartener and we just started, so far it hasn’t been a great experience. Should I keep pushing to see if he will get used to it or do home school ? I have home schooled three of my six in the past so it is an option for me . I worry that he would not be getting enough social experience but I also wonder if that is just a myth? He plays with friends and we go to church every week. just would love a teachers opinion. Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi Gretchen! Actually my teacher’s opinion has changed now that I’m a mother. 🙂 Here’s my teacher advice: Give school a month and see how it goes. Some kids need that period of adjustment to start enjoying school.
I still think that’s true, but I also think that if you have it on your heart to homeschool and feel that it’s something you can do well, then you should feel free to go for it!
I question the “social experience” line which was one I touted myself until I had my own babies. 🙂 While it MAY be true that homeschooled kids will not be as “social” as their schooled peers (whatever that means!) I think that the benefits of a positive homeschooling experience would outweigh that.
For what it’s worth, we would seriously consider homeschooling if we were unhappy with our school situation. Even with a wonderful parochial school, I still dream about it! I just don’t think I could manage it and the rest of our lives without going a little nutty. 😉