## Bubble Wrap Math Visual Scanning

Popping Bubble wrap is a fabulous fine motor work out for kids.  Popping the little air bubbles in recycled plastic wrap works the muscles within the hand (the intrinsic muscles) and opens the thumb web space, which is important in an efficient pencil grasp.  We used bubble wrap in a visual perceptual activity and a math activity recently as we practiced “counting on” by twos.  This first grade math activity is a great way to build a foundation in addition and subtraction.  Besides being a creative way to practice math skills, our bubble wrap math maze was big time fun!
Also be sure to check out our math maze activity for more hands-on visual perceptual and fine motor math fun.

## Counting On Math Activity:

We’ve done a similar bubble wrap visual scanning activity before, only with letters and colors and using the bigger style of bubble wrap.  Today’s post uses the smaller bubble  bubble wrap and is more age-appropriate for my daughter who is just finishing up first grade.  We used a

permanent marker
to write even numbers on the bubbles, starting with number “2”. I wrote the numbers in a weaving maze so that it would take a bit of visual scanning to locate the appropriate number as my daughter counted on from 2.

The word on the therapy street is that Bubble Wrap is not going to be made in the near coming future, in order to provide a more environmentally conscious shipping product.   The occupational therapists I know will be stocking up now for it’s fine motor workout awesomeness!  That’s all for the inside scoop on bubble wrap for now.

Then, fill in the surrounding bubbles with numbers.  Be sure to write numbers that don’t “add on” to the numbers in the maze.  For example, near the number 4, don’t write a number 6.  You can make the maze more difficult in subsequent mazes.  Create “dead ends”on the maze of numbers.

To further extend this activity, create a maze with even numbers or “count on” by 3s, 4s, 5s, or 10s.
You can also count down from the end of the number maze to work on subtraction.

## What is Counting On and Counting Back in First Grade Math?

Counting on and Counting back math facts are essentially adding and subtracting.  When a child is trying to figure out an addition problem, counting on is a method of finding the answer.  Counting back from a number is a method of finding a subtraction answer.

## Visual Scanning Activity

Scanning for the correct number among a group of numbers like in this activity, is visual scanning.   Visual scanning is an important part of reading, writing, and so many functional skills. You can read more about visual scanning here.
Need more visual scanning activities?  Try these:

Seek and find games such as “I Spy”.  Or create your own real toy “I Spy” game.
Roll a ping pong ball across a table from person to person. Watch it with your eyes,  while keeping your head still!
Trace pictures on a light box.
Flash light games.
Sensory seek and find.

This post is part of our month-long series: Learning with Free Materials series, where we share ideas to learn at home using free (or almost free) materials.  It’s part of the 31 Days of Homeschooling Tips as we blog along with other bloggers with learning at home tips and tools.