A long time ago (back in the distant past when my life was teaching and being with other people's children) someone introduced me to 'Number Flowers'. I thought they were a brilliant idea and have used them many times since, within my classroom.
All you need are:
- A centre for your flower - I usually use a small paper plate for this but a circle of card will do
- Some petals for your flower (between 6 and 12 depending on how enthusiastic your little mathematician is feeling) - I cut these out of coloured paper / card
- Coloured pens
Ask your child to choose their favourite number and then get them to write this on the centre of the flower and colour it in.
Once they have done this they need to write a fact about their number on each petal.
5, 6 and 7 year olds
Please encourage a small number that they can use with confidence.
These facts can be as simple as addition sums of numbers that make their number, possibly branching to subtraction, multiplication and division depending on the level of your little mathematician.
They could also write facts linked to dates or any other simple fact they know linked to the number. eg. 7 - my birthday, or my Mum and Dad's wedding anniversary, or the number of bikes in my Dad's garage
7, 8 and 9 year olds
Again they need to choose a number they can manipulate with confidence.
Their facts can be a little more advanced. They could do 3-digit sums to make their numbers, definitely include all four operations. They could also do some simple (supervised) internet research on their number to see if they can find something interesting (that they can understand)
9, 10 and 11 year olds
This is the age that I most love doing these things with as you can really discover some interesting things. I used to set the fact finding as a homework and would let them do 2 petals with simple sums on, 2 petals with simple facts like birthdays etc and then the rest had to be stuff they had researched on their number. The only stipulation I had was that they had to understand what they were writing as you can find some very complex number stuff that could just get copied straight onto a flower!
This can be done with pre-school but instead of choosing a number I would get them to write their name on the middle.
The petals can be their favourite numbers. I got my little girl to write the numbers 1-8 and then draw the same number of dots / flowers or some other unidentifiable drawing on the petal too. We also added the right number of stickers. You could add pasta, fuzzy balls or anything else you can think of that might work.