Teaching children letters and shapes is fun with this slithery activity! Incorporate this hands-on project into your math lesson so that your students can get a better grasp on numeral formation. This activity is great for working on motor skills!

set up ideas:
For younger groups, roll your “snakes” before giving the dough to the kids. Little ones may not have developed the fine motor skills for this task yet, so it may be very challenging or frustrating to them.

let's get started

Gather dough or other moldable materials and models of numerals (numeral cards or plastic numbers). You’ll also want to get a tray for working with the dough. This makes for an easy cleanup when you are done!

step 1
Identify the target numeral shape that you want to discuss for the day. Show models of that numeral shape.
step 2
Give each of the children a piece of moldable dough and teach them how to roll the dough to create “snakes.”
step 3
Have the children use the snakes to form the numeral of the day. For example, if you are talking about the number two, have the children form the snakes into the shape of the numeral 2.
step 4
Have the child use the remainder of the dough to create as many 2s as they can!

Ask students to talk about other ways to create numbers, letters or other important symbols. If they are lost, you can suggest writing them on paper with pens, pencils and crayons, as well as typing them into a calculator or computer. Maybe mention painting them, as well.
Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks
Try making your own dough with 2 cups plain flour, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1/2 cup salt, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, a few drops of glycerin and 1 to 1-1/2 cups boiling water! Add food coloring for extra fun.
Follow Up ActivityFollow up Activity
Use clay, beads, gems and more to make more permanent displays of numerals. Help your students make their figures and then have them decorate them.