Play dough Flowers. A sensory number provocation

Play dough Flowers— Number Provocations

I always link the provocations in my play-based investigation areas to our class learning intentions. I designed these play dough flowers for some number provocations I had in mind. They have turned out to be quite a handy resource.

I’ve frequently used them to teach number concepts in a variety of ways. I have been using them in quick transition activities, math warm-ups and also in whole class math games. They have been useful as a resource for my explicit teaching lessons too.  These flowers are ideal for use in quite a few different number provocations. I’ve outlined some number provocations and a few other ideas below.

These number flowers are a great addition to your playdoh table
Number provocation at the play dough table
Play dough provocation with printable flowers

I wanted a hands-on, sensory provocation to teach some number concepts. These flowers were originally designed to be used at the play dough table. The children loved them and before long number provocations started popping up everywhere! It seems I’m grabbing them more often for other areas in my classroom too.

They have come in handy when we study living things (plants) in Science. I always get them out for Spring. Our classroom is full of flowers in Spring.

Here are some of the ways I have used these Number Flowers in my classroom:

As number provocations in our Investigation Areas
  • In sensory tubs with sand, dirt, gravel or rice and a few empty plant pots, some gardening gloves and a couple of gardening trowels.
  • As a stimulus at the play dough table with either plant pots or cups so they can squash the play dough into the cup and plant their flowers.
  • With flower pots in the Dramatic Play space or just in a large vase for rearranging.
  • In a plant pot or vase as a display at the Science Nature table.
  • With counters and a number line at the Math table.
  • With some tins and cups at the Blocks area.
As a game, math warm-up or transition activity—give each child a flower
  • (numerals & words) and ask them to find their matching flower friend.
  • Or find a flower friend one more than you (or one less, before you or after you on the number line).
  • Ask them to put themselves in order (make a number line).
  • Put a large vase (or small bucket) at the front of the room and count forwards, backwards or skip count together. When a child’s flower is said, they put their flower in the bucket.
  • Sit in a circle and give clues to the secret flower eg: I’m the number before 7. The correct flower child stands up.
  • Make 2 sitting lines down each side of the carpet area. Give the children in one line numeral flowers and the other line number word flowers. The lines face each other and the teacher either says a number or a number clue. The children with the correct flower stand up and run across the middle carpet space to swap places. We call this game, Cross the River.

The .pdf file contains 42 number flowers in a variety of colours. They have been made using Queensland Beginner’s Font. Both numerals and words for numbers 0 to 20 are included. They have been designed to be printed on A4 paper or card. There are 6 flowers to each page. If you wanted them to be a smaller size, you could tile the printing to have 12 flowers to a page.

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