My daughter, Lucy went over my mom's house for the day to have "Mimi time" today. She told my mom it was her imaginary friend's birthday and this warranted a birthday party. Without missing a beat Mimi was making brownies for her pretend friend and brought out her box of birthday candles. I get a text of Lucy lining up the candles to make her home address! It made me think, why haven't I thought of this before?! Candles are such a great resource for number play and they are FUN. Lucy has been really interested in learning her home address lately and this was such good practice to reinforce what she has been learning with a clear visual. Sometimes you need inspiration from a grandmother to get the gears going. :)
Here are some great options for candle number play for various aged little ones:
For younger ones just starting out learning numbers lay the various number candles out on the table and play "eye spy the number...." you can take turns tell them to make you find a certain number too.
Help them learn their address by writing it out in candles. After they do that try learning grandparents addresses, or an Aunt/Uncle's house. Even if it's not committed to memory it's great practice. See how well they remember their address on their own.
This is where those skinny candles that aren't numbers come into play. Have your child practice counting with these, sometimes children (especially preschoolers) need practice counting items slowly. Finger to object counting is also encouraged. When I taught preschool so many students wanted to count fast thinking it was a competition to finish counting missing the point that each object is worth a value.
Addition & Subtraction
You can also use the skinny candles like you would an abacus. Teach your child what 2 + 2 looks like with candles. The visual and texture is sure to get their attention. When using the candles don't forget to use terms such as "take away" for subtraction to enforce the new words and concepts. You could also play store and use candles in replacement of money. This is a great introductory into the fun world of addition and subtraction!
I am doing themes for Lucy's preschool homeschooling and after the fun I saw her have with candles I think I will be adding a birthday theme and using the candles for our math practice. It's a fact children will have an easier time learning a concept if it is something they are interested in. So, bring out the candles and party hats and celebrate early mathematics skill!