Roll and dot math activity is perfect hands-on learning. This quick and easy preschool or kindergarten activity helps kids develop number skills, particularly subitizing. Plus, this activity is just plain fun.
Why roll and dot is fantastic
Hello probability and statistics!! While those skills may be a bit upper level for early childhood, this roll and dot math activity is a perfect introduction – and gives so much learning goodness along the way.
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Now this is hands-on math
Math in early childhood is best learned through hands.
We are helping our children build their understanding of numbers and learn how to use numbers – and we can’t do that with flashcards and worksheets.
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We need real learning.
Learning with hands.
Learning by doing.
Learning by experiencing.
And that’s exactly the kind of learning that this roll and dot math activity will give kids.
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- Dice (but the one I used in this post is from the Dollar Store!)
- Dot stickers
- White paper
- Giant black marker
I first rolled out a bit of white paper – you can tape this anywhere. I went with a carpet activity. The floor and the table work great too.
On the paper, I made 6 spots, one for each number on the dice, 1 through 6.
I made sure to get our dot stickers ready by removing the middle white part of the stickers (see that hack here) to make it easier for my son (4) to peel stickers.
Now, it was time to “roll and dot.”
Directions to give the child
First, I had my four year old identify each number on the dice. We’ve used dice in games his whole life so he’s great with subitizing (that’s a fancy word for being able to rapidly recall how many items are in a small group – like the way 6 on a dice looks).
Next, I showed him the numbers on my white paper. “Each number matches one number from the dice. One, two, three….”
Finally, I modeled for him how to do the activity:
“We are going to keep track of how many times each number is rolled. We are going to roll the dice A LOT. Every time we roll the dice, we will add a sticker under that number. I wonder which number will be rolled the most?”
Roll and dot and probability and statistics
But we don’t need to go into all that today.
Today is an introduction into collecting data for an event – how often does this event occur? Except we are doing this in a very introductory level.
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This is hands-on math. Feeling the dice, rolling the dice, seeing the number.
Determining the number and then placing a sticker to represent when the number has been rolled.
This is some serious and significant learning for a little one – and all wrapped up in a nice playful manner.
- Number recognition – knowing the name of each number
- Number quantities – understanding that six dots = 6
- Recording data – practicing that one roll = one dot sticker
- One to one correspondence – touching and counting
Not to mention this math activity also promotes hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, independent play, and concentration.
This little activity does so much good!
Big kids enjoy roll and dot, too
With my 7-year-old, we looked at this activity and did start talking about the probability of number rolls.
We talked about how each number is on the dice six times and that with every roll there is a 1 in 6 chance the dice may be each number.
Little activities like this pave the way for so much learning in the future.
Susie Allison, M. Ed
Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 2 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.
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