How many things can your hands hold?

We are always using our hands to hold things so I set up an invitation to explore how many things our paper hands (or real hands) can hold at the math table. On the table were paper hands of various sizes and small wooden inch cubes…

How Many Things Can Hands Hold?

The children were invited to explore the materials any way they wished. Some of the children chose to spread the blocks out across the hands and count how many blocks they had. They begin to notice that the bigger the hand, the more blocks the hand would hold…

How Many Things Can Hands Hold?

Other children chose to stack the blocks up. I don’t know why, but it hadn’t occurred to me that the children might go up with the blocks. I had only envisioned the children laying the blocks flat…

How Many Things Can Hands Hold?

Other’s measured across the hand or just compared the hands with their own hand…

How Many Things Can Hands Hold?

I love having this table as my math table as it gives the children lots of space to work together. They seem to enjoy the freedom of talking and exploring as a group more than just working alone…

How Many Things Can Hands Hold?

And they definitely build off of each other’s ideas which I think is a fabulous part of the process…

How Many Things Can Hands Hold?

So do you want to know how many things hands can hold? Well as you can see that depends on many different factors. We were able to talk about many of those factors as the children went along. Now isn’t that just the coolest thing ever???

How Many Things Can Hands Hold?

Links to Grow On…

At Play on the Math Table by Teach Preschool

Designing with Q-Tips on the Math Table by Teach Preschool

Number Pocket Game by Toddler Approved

By |2017-03-29T11:32:04+00:00June 28th, 2016|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Scott June 28, 2016 at 8:07 am - Reply

    Deborah, this is great! So many ways to explore math ideas…and other ideas, too. You always inspire me and these photos really inspire me! Thanks for all the hands on math ideas you continue to share. (I think there’s a pun in there somewhere)

  2. Bonnie July 29, 2016 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    I am going to set up that exact math table ! Thank you for all the ideas! The photos are great! I love the table with the “lip” around the edge! I am going to IKEA this weekend and making a similar table for sure!
    Thanks again!
    Bonnie 🙂

  3. Heidi August 25, 2016 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    This is a great idea! I like the way it’s an ongoing center that could be varied with many materials throughout the year. Another activity that would support the learning at this center is to pass a basket of pom-poms or other small objects around the circle. Each person takes a handful and we count them. Lots of good opportunities to discuss why one person may have more than someone else. Usually the number is the same for most students, and that’s a good discussion point, too!

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