Featured Video: What’s in the Cup?

This week we are presenting the first short snapshot of a parent playing one of our featured math games with a 3, 4, or 5 year old. Our goal is to demonstrate one way of approaching the featured game. Every child will engage differently. Some children will ask questions, some will want to make up their own rules and others will want to play by the book. We’ll show you the ups and down and, we hope, how simple and fun it is to play math.

By: Beth Van Derslice

Here’s a quick video demonstrating one of our favorite games in action. “What’s in the Cup?” is great for practice with counting and for developing number sense with your child. You can use basically any kind of counters or materials to play (we used the “treasures” from the COCO Cache this time), but having fun-looking counters might make it more exciting for your child.

“Number sense” is a skill that is gained over time, so the more you are able to fit short activities like this into your routine, the more opportunities your child has to build an understanding of this concept. I have found that letting the child’s comfort level with the material guide the flow of the game is the best way to make the experience enticing and fun. In other words, if he wants to look, point and count, let him. If he wants to lay out the counters and play with them, let him. If he wants to call the treasures “an antelope,” let him. Keeping things light and fun will ensure that the child builds a positive outlook toward counting and numbers, and soon enough you’ll get the opportunity to mix in some questions we suggest in the game instructions.


After playing for a few weeks, I bet you’ll start to see some “ah-ha” moments. You may notice your child picking up patterns in the game or using words such as “fewer” “more” “less” or “plus.” On a good day, your child may want to “teach you” how to play and be the leader of the activity.  Check out this post for more helpful guidelines on keeping it playful and fun. No matter how you play, “What’s in the Cup?” is a simple activity that with moderate repetition will send your preschool aged child happily into the not-at-all-scary world of numbers.  Happy Playing!

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