Counting on Fingers (Number Sense Activity)

I love this math activity. It’s genius on so many levels! This would help students with addition and subtraction, but also to teach “the 9’s trick” with multiplication! It would be a great introductory/review activity at the beginning of the year, especially to have each student trace their own hands and make one of these themselves.  (source)

I know many parents (and some teachers) don’t like it when kids use their fingers to count or do math. Many see it as a sign of weakness of lack of understanding. However, each time you allow a child to use their fingers (or a hundreds chart or multiplication chart, for that matter) to get the right answer, you’re providing them an opportunity to discover and work for the CORRECT answer. Eventually kids will learn their facts from repetition or they’ll get tired of being the only one without them memorized and they’ll fix the problem. After all, speed isn’t what’s important in math. YES, it definitely helps and it has clear advantages, but it’s not the end-all, be-all. There, I’m done with my soap box; I’ll put it away now. 🙂


7 thoughts on “Counting on Fingers (Number Sense Activity)

  1. This is such a great idea, and at the same time, so simple to do! And the best part about it is that the kids will have fun calculating on their ‘paper’ fingers..thank you so much. I teach math in elementary school and sometimes also take a couple of classes in kindergarten and am always on the lookout for interesting activities to carry out in the classroom. Math has somehow come to be synonymous with being either a ‘boring’ class or something ‘scary’ (that’s actually how a six year old who studies in my lass described it and I was left woebegone at the state of my teaching skills). But then I tried picking up small activities and things to do from here and there – consulted a couple of teachers, picked up ideas from places like , tried out things on my own and I found my students getting really interested in even my Math classes so I take it as an achievement! Thanks Mindy – please keep putting up ideas like these (especially in Math) and I’ll keep myself updated with your posts.


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