Monday, May 16, 2011

"Sticks and Stones"

A couple of years ago, I saw the following adorable math game posted on The Wonder Years.  I wanted to link back to the specific post, but was unsuccessful in finding it...  This game consists of simple popsicle sticks and beautiful, tiny stones.    To make the game, I used 14 popsicle sticks and marked one number (0-9) on each one with the corresponding number of placement dots for counting the stones.  The children play in pairs and takes turns selecting one popsicle stick at a time.  They read the number on the top of the stick and count that many stones to place on the dots.  The game continues until no popsicle sticks remain.  Lastly, the children count the total number of stones collected on the sticks and the child with more stones is the winner of the game.  I wanted to be sure to utilize the numbers six through nine because while most of the children in my class easily identify 0-5, some need additional practice with the remaining numbers.  Furthermore, the older students in the class can use this as an addition lesson and write down their equations after playing the game.

The materials set up at a table for two children:  Jar with numbered popsicle sticks, bowl with stones (total number matches total from all popsicle sticks combined).

A selected popsicle stick...
...with the two counted stones.
One of the many reasons I enjoy having games available for the children is to practice good sportsmanship!  We encourage the kids to shake hands and declare, "Good Game!" after each playing session.


  1. I love that this is such a versatile activity! And I love the way you use the activity to teach sportsmanship! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page at

  2. After seeing this on Deb's page, we had to check it out! I'm going to encourage my kids to eat Popsicles so we can upcycle their sticks and start playing this game at home. Thanks for sharing such a simple & wonderful idea!

  3. Perfect! (And I'm sure the kids will appreciate the Popsicles!)

  4. I just love that you teach kids "to shake hands and declare, 'Good Game!' after each playing session"! I featured your photo and post at

  5. We play this game too, so much fun, and sometimes the winner is a bit unexpected...for the children! Sometimes they assume if someone has the largest numbered stick that they will also be the winner...but it doesn't always work out that way!

  6. Hi! I like this idea. If you use one Popsicle stick for numbers 0-9, why do you need 14? Just want to make sure I prepare it correctly.

  7. Hi! What is the reasoning for 14 popsicle sticks?