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# What do you do with COunting Bears?

Hi,
What do you do with your counting bears/ lions/ kangaroos?
I have seen this product online for sale by a lot of homeschoolers.
I dont quite understand what they do with them.

Do you just put them in piles so your child can see different quanitities?

Do they go with a particular kind of curiculum?

What ages do you use them with?

thanks,
b
HI! I have counting bears. It came with activity cards and other cards were sold seperately. The bears I have are small "manipulatives", the idea being children can hold, touch, feel, the concept being taught. They came in six different colors, three different sizes and 3 different weights. So we can sort them by color, size and use a scale for comparision. We can also make same sets and patterns.
I also picked up small manipulative vehicles. I have a small homedaycare, plus hs my 8yos, so they come in handy, but they are not neccesary. You can do the same thing with buttons, coins, legos, etc.
What Stacey said.
When there is a written problem (ie 3+4=?) sometimes it helps to have something to handle and count
sorting
weighting
patterns
we do the same thing with seashells and other small objects
We have counting frogs. We have some activity cards. we use them to figure out other math problems, and they each have a hole so they can be strung together to make patterns.

For a little kid just starting out, letting them sort by color is a nice first activity. We have have clear plastic cups that I wrote numbers on and the kids put that number of frogs in them, then we practice counting forward, backwards, by two's, etc. Or even just putting all the numbers in order. Young children really need hands on things to understand.

Another game is to make a simple pattern, like red blue yellow, then have the child shut their eyes and you rearrange it. Then they open their eyes and try to put them back the way they were.

An easy math game to play is to roll 2 dice and then add the numbers to gether to get the sum. For a little kid, this is much easy with counting frogs (or bears or whatever).
Thank you for all the ideas.
My daughter does a lot of the sorting, and is starting the patterning, but not yet the adding.
But I like manipulatives, and I like things that can grow with us.

Staceysmom- where did you get yours with the diff. sizes? I havent seen those.

So many companies make these, it is a bit hard to figure out which ones are better.

thanks
b
We have a great counting bears "pre-reading activity & game set." It's called "Three Bear Family Fun" and is made by Learning Resources. It is a whole bunch of plastic bears (maybe 50) in different colors (red, blue, yellow, green) and sizes (papa, mama, baby). With all of the bears comes a book and a plastic activity mat with the bears' house on one side and a game board on the other. The book gives tips on using the set and also tells the story (in 12 stand-alone chapters) of the bear families reunion held at the cottage in the woods. Each "chapter" directs the child to gather certain bears as the main characters for that particular story, tells the story, asks questions about the story, and suggests other activities or other ways of handling the bears. We LOVE our bears. If you do the activities, you use language (the stories) to cover the alphabet, colors, numbers, sorting, sets, and functions. Sometimes the kids don't want to answer the questions in the book, but they love to hear the stories and act them out with the bears, often spinning these out into longer sessions of play with the bear families in the house. Even as they do this, I hear them counting the bears and talking about how many babies there are or that there aren't enough swings for all of the children. We also have a set of bears that snap together and fit into a base so that they become stand-up columns of bears (sort of like three dimensional graphs); I think they came with this set as well. I ordered all of this stuff a while back from some catalog company, but I think Learning Resources has its own website. If not, let me know and I will dig around a little more for you (if you are interested). Sorry this is so long, but, as I said, we LOVE our bears and I can't sing their praises enough.
Quote:
 Originally posted by SquirelNutkin [So many companies make these, it is a bit hard to figure out which ones are better.
I think trying to decide what is "best" can be a bit of a trap. No matter how much you research something, after you get it you will find out about something that looks even better. Just look for things that your child will enjoy that you can afford and don't worry about it too much.
SquirelNutkin,
I bought mine from NoMeDo.com. I wonderful Mom "Sonnya" runs the business. I have met her, and she is just fantastic. They offer lots of neat hs helps. You can host a party(like tupperware) or order online. By the way This is unsolicited opinions. I like the idea of using shells, too.
http://nomedo.com/mindsponges/index.htm
Sorry, I couldnt find it on ebay.
Maybe a ebay thing, but I did try several versions of the ID name and nothign worked.