How Many Monkeys on the Bed: a Joining and Separating Activity

Building a good level of comfort with numbers is important for littles. Every day we review numbers and one-to-one correspondence. However I also want to begin introducing Macie Jane to the idea that we can join and separate amounts. This story is perfect for that! We start with five monkeys and remove them one by one. 

For today's activity I downloaded and printed a free coloring page that correlates perfectly with the story. Macie Jane had fun starting out our learning time by coloring the monkeys. Then, I cut them out into individual pieces. I used a folded sheet of colored paper to be a "bed" and we began by building the number five (joining all five monkeys together on the "bed," touching them to count, and determining they were all there.) Then we began decomposing the amount. I'd ask Macie Jane questions like, "if I take one monkey away how many are left on the bed?" "two monkeys" "three..."

She would separate the monkeys and then each time go back to count how many were left. After all the monkeys were off the "bed" we started joining monkeys together again. 

Later I thought this would be a great activity to do with mega blocks too! :) I'll save that idea for another day but if you have some they'd be a great learning resource!