Preschool Age Children


Materials to use with them include

Start with free exploration and directed play before moving on to the Smiley Face Books. When working in the Smiley Face Books allow students to use the blocks to help them transition to working with pictures and symbols. Writing skills are not required for work in the Smiley Face Books. The only skill needed for working in any of the books is the ability to count to nine. Most children start in Counting Book One and then continue to work in the Counting Books or begin working in the Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division Books. The books are your guide to presenting the concepts to students.

The concepts covered in the Smiley Face Books include

  • understanding numerals
  • mastering place value
  • visualizing mathematical operations

Use the “Three Period Lesson” before you start work with any concept.

It includes the

  1. teaching stage
  2. understanding stage
  3. mastery stage

and looks like this

  1. “This is _______.” Identify it for the student.
  2. “Show me _______.” “Point to _______.” “Hand me _______.” “Hold up _______.” The student selects it.
  3. “What is this?” repeat. The student names it.

Play FUN games to teach identification concepts,

  • “Please hand me some _______.”
  • Place Value Say and Show
  • Same Kind Round Up
  • Go Find
  • What’s missing?
  • Grab Bag
  • Pick Up a …
  • Simon Says
  • Roll to Hundred, Thousand, or Ten Thousand
  • Clap and Find
  • Concentration

Play FUN games to teach addition concepts,

  • A Tisket A Tasket
  • Grab Bag
  • Number Families
  • Cartwheel
  • Guess my Number
  • Addition Pickup or Two Hand Grab
  • Want to be a Ten
  • Want to be a Nine
  • Place Value Card Draw
  • Shopping Game
  • Hold up a Friend
  • Ten Ton Truck
  • Find a Friend

Build FUN structures and creations to teach about addends and multiplication – this is only limited by your imagination!

  • towers
  • pyramids
  • walls
  • houses
  • flowers
  • animals
  • people
  • towns

Play FUN games to teach multiplication concepts,

  • Over and Up Races
  • Hide the Multiples
  • Guess my Number
  • Wall

Play FUN games to teach division concepts,

  • Guess my Number
  • Concentration
  • Find the Other Side

If you do not know how to play these games use the titles and your imagination to create your own FUN games. Your games should be

  • simple
  • active
  • engaging


  • involve sketches of the blocks – a simple white board and colorful markers are all you need for this

and are only limited by your imagination!

Let students make up FUN games with the blocks – again only limited by their imagination!

After completing books 3 and 4 in each area of the Smiley Face Books many students can start working in Level 1 and Addition Facts Mastery Books depending on their writing skills. Return to the Smiley Face Books as often as needed as they are an easier workbook format for students to use when starting a new concept.

Students should be hands on at least 70% of the time. Develop concepts and understanding with the manipulatives then use the manipulatives alongside the workbooks for FUN practice. Don’t rush younger students into working in the workbooks but don’t hold them back either – they might enjoy working in them just like the older students do.

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