How Pigeons Can Help Kids Learn to Make Tens

09 February

I received a copy of Pigeon Math in exchange for my honest review. 

Some of the first math kids learn is counting to ten, and then when they start addition, they learn what combines to make 10. And learning to make ten doesn't have to be dull. Make it fun with this silly, living book, Pigeon Math and some hands-on practice with their own pigeons!




On the outside you can tell this book is going to lots of silly fun, but it is also an extremely way to show kids different ways to make ten.


The basis of this book is the narrator is telling a story about these pigeons. The story starts with 10 pigeons, but for various reasons that number keeps changing causing much grief to the narrator. Spoiler alert: there are 10 pigeons in the end too. 

Now we all know extension activities increase how much a child remembers a book, so for my preschooler we decided to create our own pigeons to count and make ten with.


Supplies to Make Counting Pigeons

How to Make Counting Pigeons

Once you have your supplies, pigeons are pretty easy to make as long as you don't need them to look just like the book, I never could get eyebrows to look right! Plus if you aren't being picky the kids can help make them. Mine never seem to turn down an opportunity to paint.

Start by painting the majority of the body gray. Then select a color and paint the head; we used a variety of colors similar to those in Pigeon Math.



At this point you can add stripe or dots or whatever to your pigeon. I dotted the chests of mine, and then added little faces. Now there was some disagreement on which way the face should be painted on. I painted mine, so the bottom of the clothespin looked like feet. One of my daughters insisted it should be painted on one side, so the pigeon faced forward on the clothesline. But let me tell you, it really doesn't matter either way once you are using them!



Now come the wings if you want to add them. We had white feathers, so some got painted with black strips or dots. Then you just hot glue them on. 

Congratulations you now have a pigeon! Repeat until you have 10 (or 13 if you are my kids.)


Work on Counting and Math with Pigeons

Before handing the pigeons over to your kids, I recommend reading through pigeon math and having them count out the pigeons when there is a simple math problem shown.

Now you are ready to hang up your clothesline and do some hands-on learning with pigeons! I tied the paracord between 2 kitchen chairs, so it was taunt.

I started by having my daughter count the pigeons as she placed them on the clothesline. This was easy for her, but she still got a kick out of it. If you are just starting with counting, you can just repeat taking them on and off. It is still improving their counting and fine motor skills!



Next I let her play around with the pigeons a bit. I told her she could take them off and see how many were left and then add them back on. 

Once she had done that a bit, I could start asking her to do some problems like, "you have 10 pigeons and 2 fly away, how many are left?" Or, "there are only 2 pigeons on your line; what if 3 more come?" She could then use the pigeons as counters to solve the problems! 



We just continued like this until she tired of it, but I left the pigeons and paracord out because I know we will come back to it.  

I guess we may need to create a clothespin cat as well, and then she can act out the story as well. 

Pigeon Math is so fun, and as far as book extension activities go, you can't get much better than that a craft, fine motor practice, and hands-on learning all in one!

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