Apple Tree Play Dough Maths

BY ON Jan 9, 2013

Apple Tree Play Dough Maths is a fun activity for encouraging early and basic maths skills using Apple Scented Play Dough and a set of dice.  There are a number of ways these materials can be adapted for different age groups and abilities in areas of counting, subitising, numbers and basic addition and subtraction sums.

What is subitising?

Subitising refers to immediately knowing how many items lie within a visual scene for a small number of items.  It is to have a rapid and confident judgement to know at a glance and without counting to identify the number of items in a group.  For example, when a dice is thrown the observer at a glance, immediately and accurately knows how many dots lie on the face of the dice without counting.

Why is Subitising Important?

• Subitising contributes to early forms of grouping. Seeing parts of a whole or that numbers are made up of other numbers.
• Understanding number relations: Interpreting number in terms of part-whole relationships makes it possible for children to think about a number as being made up of other numbers
• Understanding number relation: the notion that numbers are within numbers is important for separating, grouping and combining numbers as well as for multiplication, division and measurement.

What you will need?

You will need Apple Scented Dough (click here for simple recipe), set of dice, and the Printable Apple Tree Play Dough Mat.

You can download and print your own Apple Tree Play Dough Mat here: Printable Tree for Apple Dough Maths

After printing the Printable Tree, you can either paint or colour it with crayons and when it is dry laminate or contact it to help make it last longer.

Let’s Learn

The apple scented play dough is used to create play dough apples which are placed on the tree depending on the maths activity that is being done.

The Apple Tree Play Dough Maths can be used in a number of ways

1. Subitising – rolling one or two dice and creating that number with play dough apples on the tree.  Move the play dough apples around the tree to find different ways of presenting this number.
2. Counting – rolling one or two dice and counting the number thrown, then re-creating this number again but this time as apples on the play dough tree mat.  Children will count and re-count to make sure they have the correct number of apples as thrown on the dice.
3. Addition – this can be done on one or two play dough tree mats.  Throw one dice and create this number of play dough apples on the tree.  Then roll the dice again and ‘add’ how many more apples to the tree.  How many apples are in the tree?
4. Subtraction – This is done a little different to the addition as it only uses 1 dice.  Place 6 play dough apples on the tree and then throw one dice.  Remove the number of play dough apples from the tree that is shown on the dice.  How many play dough apples are left on the tree?  For older children this can be done starting with 12 play dough apples on the tree and then subtracting the amounts shown on the two dice.

Let’s Play

While Miss 5 was practicing her addition and subtraction, Miss 2 practiced making play dough apples by manipulating the play dough into balls using the palms of her hands and fingers.  This was a little tricky for her to start with but with a little practice, she began to develop this skill.  We then moved onto counting and making the numbers that were rolled on the dice.

17 Responses to “Apple Tree Play Dough Maths”

1. Stacie says:

This looks fun. I like the added apple playdough scent. I think I might just do this with my daughter.

• Janice says:

The apple scent is so lovely and adds to the experience. Enjoy!

2. inès says:

super idée!! je noterai merci de votre partage!!

3. Jode says:

I love this idea Janice!! I’m going to do a simplified version with the twins…we are doing lots of apple tree things at the moment as our tree has some apples and they love it!

• Janice says:

Thanks Jode, That’s the great thing about this activity, it caters for and can be adapted for a range of ages and abilities. I look forward to seeing what you’ve been up too with the apples. X

4. A lovely simple idea – will be giving it a go

• Janice says:

Thanks, I would love to hear how you go with it.

5. Petra says:

You have my vote for the best math activity of the year!
And it’s only January…

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8. Caroline says:

I like the idea but where can I find the trees?

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12. Sabuhi Imam says:

Thank You for great ideas. I live in USA, do you people supply material overseas and what is the process? Will look forward for the reply!

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