Zoe likes to play with my hands. She will examine the fingers, moving them around and pulling on them. And I, being who I am, find myself thinking, “Fingers are a great math manipulative. I should seize the moment and make some math talk.” Luckily, so far she hardly ever objected. Here is a conversation that the two of us recently had.
Me: How many fingers do I have on each hand?
Z: Five and five.
Me: And how many fingers do I have on both hands?
Me: Now what if I give one finger from the left hand to the right hand, how many fingers will the left hand have then?
Z: (Hiding one finger on my left hand) Four.
Me: And the right hand?
Z: (Closing the first four) Six.
Me: And together there will still be…
We then moved some more fingers from one hand to the other to make different combinations that make 10. And then Zoe exclaimed, “And if we move one toe from a foot and make it a finger, you’ll still have 20 fingers and toes!”