Play Dough Cakes for Counting Fun

Age Groups: Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Topic: At Home

You will need:

Play Dough
Rolling Pin
Cutters
Muffin Tins
Cellophane inserts from biscuit packets
Paper cake cases
Buttons
Birthday cake candles

Directions:

Play alongside your child making cakes with the play dough, roll into balls in your hand or use a rolling pin and cutters.

Place one paper cake case into each ‘hole’ in the tin or cellophane insert, counting out each one aloud.

Do the same when adding your play dough cakes to each paper case. It’s important that children hear this one- to- one counting with objects.

You can then make cherries with small bits of play dough or add buttons, or candles to the top of each cake, again counting each one aloud as you place it on top of the cake. When you and your child have finished, count each cake then affirm the final amount e.g. “we have made six cakes”.

You can add some stretch and challenge by helping your child work out how many cakes are needed for family members and how many will be left, or how many more are needed.

Tip:

This fun counting activity helps children acquire five important counting principles proposed by Gelman and Gallistel (1978) in meaningful ways.

  1. One to one correspondence: principle Understanding that a number word is assigned to an item.
  2. Stable order principle: Understanding that order of number words is always consistent. Ideally this should be the conventionally accepted sequence of number words.
  3. Cardinal principle: Understanding that the final number said signifies the number in the set.
  4. Abstraction principle: Understanding counting can be applied to anything.
  5. Order- irrelevance principle: Understanding that items can be counted in any order so long as each item is only counted once.