Handfuls is an activity that's all about quantifying collections and exploring how numbers work. Whether it's pasta shells or beans, it's a fun way to get your child estimating and playing with quantities.

Things you need

  • Household ingredients (lima beans, shell pasta, etc.)
  • Pencils or markers
  • Paper.

The challenge

Step 1

Get your child to take a handful of whatever household item you have collected for this game.

Step 2

Ask your child to estimate how many they are holding in their handful.

Step 3

Talk to your child about their estimate. How many items do they think they have, and why do they think that?

Tip: Support your child in using evidence to estimate. For example, you might ask them "do you remember how many pasta shells you picked up, I think it was 15? The lima beans are a little bit smaller. Do you think you have more of them, or less?" Be careful not to say their estimate was right or wrong. Instead, help them describe their estimate as being reasonable, and guide them to refine their thinking if they need to.

Step 4

Encourage your child to organise their handful so they can work out how many items they have by looking and thinking. For example, putting the items into groups of 5 in the same layout as a dice pattern is one way to describe how many they have.

Step 5

Get your child to arrange their items in a different way and record their thinking. You can be the recorder, or they might like to write down their own ideas and show you.

Step 6

There are a number of important questions you should ask your child throughout the activity, including:

  • "How many do you think you have?"
  • "How have you organised your collection?"
  • "How many do you have?"
  • "Can you organise them differently?"

Step 7

Do the activity a few times and ask them to draw their favourite collection.

Explore more

Was this page helpful?
With your help we can improve this page for others
Thank you for your feedback
Return to top of page Back to top