Stimulating whole brain development in early childhood education is easy with fun number puzzle pictures. As the teacher/tutor/parent, you will take a cool picture on your computer and transform it into a homemade number puzzle. Your pupil/child will then draw upon their math, logic, problem solving and art skills to recreate the original picture on paper before styling it to their own personal artistic flair.
Number puzzle class activity at a glance:
- Collect/Make Fun Pictures
- Create Cool Number Puzzles
- Make Grids on Paper
- Classroom Drawing Activity
- The Finishing Touches
Don’t be daunted by the number of steps in this activity. They are simply there to explain the whole process and each should take mere seconds to complete, while the class activity will be fun for a whole session. The point is to have fun teaching counting, problem solving and drawing to children.
Things you’ll need:
|Art Supplies||Fun Pictures||Pencils||Computer|
Note: Some of these materials are optional.
Outlines of cartoons make excellent pictures for this activity because they are funny to look at and have a bold outline with clear white background. A quick search on Google images for “cartoon outlines” will results in an endless amount of brilliant pictures you can use. If you are teaching the children about a certain topic such as animals, sports or occupations then simply add an extra word to your Google search to get more relevant results; this is especially useful for ESL teachers as a children’s foreign language activity.
If you enjoy graphic design like me, then why not create some fun cartoons for the kids yourself on your computer using Adobe Illustrator, Fireworks, Paint, etc. Otherwise, download the most creative and fun images to your computer; size and orientation of the images is not important but try to find high-quality ones.
There are two ways to create customized number puzzles using your downloaded or personally-designed pictures:
The first is using an inexpensive but outstanding photo editing program called Repligator…
- Download the photo effects software Repligator. Click here to go to the Repligator website.
- Go to All Programs and click on Repligator.
- Click on File and Open image file… to open one of your fun pictures.
- Click Next three times to skip through the adjust image windows.
- Click on Number Puzzle from the list to see a preview of the effect.
- Click on Fine Tune to design your own number puzzle.
- Choose Off (no mixing) in the bottom-right drop-down menu.
- Use the slider or enter the number of squares you want across the image in the Tiles (horizontally) section.
- Use the slider to adjust the difficulty of your puzzle in the Scramble Power section.
- In the Colors section, make sure the Tiles have borders option is ticked.
- Click on Tiles… if you want to change the color of the borders.
- Also in the Colors section, make sure the Tiles have numbers option is ticked.
- Click on Numbers… if you want to change the color of the numbers.
- Click on OK to see the final puzzle.
- Click on File and Save image file… to save your new number puzzle.
- Turn on your printer and print out a copy of the number puzzle for each child.
The second (and more hands-on) method to transforming your outline drawings into a number puzzle is to…
- Print off your cartoon drawing, preferably on an A3 sheet of paper.
- Use a ruler and a black marker pen to draw a grid over the drawing. The grid can have as many squares as you like depending on the age and skill level of your students.
- Starting from the top left square of the grid write a number 1 in the middle of the square. Then a number 2 in the square to the right, and so on until you have written a number all the way up to the last square.
- Cut out the squares, put double-sided tape on the back and stick each square on the whiteboard in a completely random sequence.
There are 4 ways to make a light grid on an A4 sheet of paper, which you will hand out to all the kids.
- Use a pencil and a ruler to sketch a grid = very time-consuming; especially if you have many kids! OR
- Buy grid paper. OR
- Use computer software to make a grid. OR
- Go to this website http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/plain/ to make a free grid. Enter the details of the grid and click Download PDF. Try different sizes until you get the grid the way you want and then print it off.
The idea behind the grid is for the children to look at the scrambled drawing on the whiteboard and unscramble it by drawing each square in sequence on their grid paper. So, after you have drawn, bought, designed or downloaded a grid for every student, write a number in the middle of each square starting at 1 and in sequence all the way to the last square. You may wish to do it on the computer to save time before you print it off.
It’s time to get the kids involved! Hand out a pencil and piece of graph paper to each child. Starting from the top-left square and drawing in sequence (1, 2, 3, 4, …), get them to draw each tile from the puzzle to the paper and form the complete image. At this stage, they still have no idea what the final image looks like, so imagine their excitement as the drawing comes together.
Hand out some markers and brush pens to finish off their final image. A black marker/pencil could be handy for going over the outline first. Suggest that they color in the entire picture so that it covers the grid lines. When they’re done, hang the pictures up on the wall or on the fridge as encouragement.
Whole Brain Development
If it helps enhance concentration, you could offer a prize to the child who finishes with the correct image first but remember to praise every child for a job well done. Even if the picture isn’t 100% correct, you have still advanced their skills in numeracy, problem solving, and drawing in an entertaining way that will boost their learning capabilities in the future.