Number sense is so important in early childhood, and is much more than just recognizing numbers and counting sets. Practice number identification, counting, subitizing, tally marks, ten frames, addition, and more with this fun surprise number envelopes activity!
This activity pairs perfectly with our printable number pack.
Surprise Number Envelopes
The idea is to have unmarked envelopes (you could use paper sacks as well) and add all the items for a specific number in the envelopes. The kids won’t know what number they will get, which makes it a surprise!
You can use these surprise envelopes during your number talks, add them to the number board (for number of the week) or use them in a math center for kids to explore on their own.
- Printables for numbers 0-10 (below)
- Colored paper
- Envelopes or small paper bags
- Dry erase markers
- Small manipulatives to place in the envelopes for counting (I used mini erasers)
- Short sticks to build tally marks (I used colored craft sticks, but you could also roll play dough into thin snakes which builds up fine motor too!)
Choose a color of paper to use for each number. Cut the number cards out and stick them onto the colored paper.
There are 8 cards for each number: number symbol, trace the symbol, number name, number with fingers, ten frame, tally marks, dice, and domino. (For younger learners one can adapt and not add all 8 options.)
You do not have to use colored paper, but as a former teacher I know how mixed up things like these can get, so to color code it makes organizing it easier. And of course, more appealing too!
Laminate and cut. Add the number cards, manipulatives and sticks to the inside of their envelopes.
It’s time to play! First, we chose an envelope and shook out the loose contents/manipulatives. After counting them, we guessed what number we thought was inside the envelope.
We shook out the rest of the cards to check our counting and further explore the numbers!
There are a lot of exploration activities in the envelopes: Count on your fingers, trace the number, add the manipulatives to the ten frame, add the sticks to tally, read the name of the number.
During circle time, kids can take turns to choose an envelope and show the rest of the class their “surprise”.
You can also enlarge the printables to use on a number board and use larger manipulatives and sticks. This is especially helpful if you do number talks or number of the day.
Grab Your Copy
Ready to work on number sense with your own surprise envelope activity? Grab all of the printables for numbers 1-10 by clicking the yellow button below!
More Fun With Numbers
Looking for more fun ways to build number sense? Here are some of our favorites!