These fun, vibrant and tropical colored toucans are a great tool to teach young children all about early math! Designed for ages five and up, young children can learn the fundamentals of fact families with these simple activities that turn math lessons into engaging, hands on games!
Each Toucan to Ten set comes with ten numbered toy toucans and 120 addition and subtraction fact cards. Made from durable, wipe-clean plastic, the toucan toys of Toucans to Ten are strong enough to last year after year, and come with 120 fact cards that keep each play session fresh.
The set also comes with an activity guide, which is really helpful for those of us who have never taught our children before. Additionally, you can design these math games to be as simple or challenging as you see fit for your child.
Before beginning, it is helpful to read through the Toucans to Ten activity guide and to assess where your child is on the scale of math readiness. At five, my daughter has a basic understanding of numbers and counting, but we have not done much addition or subtraction with her at all, so we kept our games relatively simple.
START WITH A DEMONSTRATION
Before working on the activities, start with a demonstration of basic use.
Line up the toucans in order, 1 to 10, and separate the cards into two piles, for both addition and subtraction. Count the toucans together with your child, pointing out each number as you go, in order to introduce or reinforce number recognition.
Once you have mastered counting and number recognition, you can move on to addition! Start with the stack of addition problems and select a card. Read the math equation aloud (“3 + 2 =”), and then solve, using methods best suited to the child’s ability level.
Together with your child, tap each toucan slowly until you reach the sum, 5. Then, place the card inside the corresponding number toucan’s back (my kiddo loved this part!). You can also pull the first 3 toucans forward to denote the first number in the equation. Then, one at a time, add 2 more toucans to the group (4, 5) while counting aloud.
LET THEM SOLVE INDEPENDENTLY
Once you have given your demonstration and solved a few problems together, try having your child use the toucans as counters in solving a fact. For example, when solving 5 + 3, you would start by counting your toucans from 1-5. Next, you would separate them from the group. (Note: this reinforces one-to-one-correspondence, an important skill to develop in early childhood education).
Next, add 3 more toucans to the group. Pause for a moment and then ask your child, “Now, how many toucans are there in all?” Point out that the number on the final toucan in the group is also the answer!
Let your child solve more addition facts before moving on to subtraction. You can also refer to the activity guide for many more ideas!
Over time, and the more practice your children get playing these sort of math fundamentals games, the greater their understanding of fact families (the sets of math facts created using the same numbers) will be.
Once you’ve tried these games with your children, I think you will agree – these tropical toucan toys sure do make math fun!