WARNING: This activity uses small magnets, which can pose a serious choking hazard. If swallowed, they can cause serious injuries and even death. Adult supervision is required.
I made a self correcting game to help the Dumpling identify odd and even numbers using upcycled bottle caps and magnets.
While the game was designed to help her memorize odd and even numbers, it was also important that we discussed what the concept means. I explained that an even number is like when everyone buddies up and has another person to play with. When there is an odd number, however, there will always be someone who is by himself — the odd person out. We were eating breakfast during this math lesson, so I visually demonstrated with a handful of Cheerios on the table and grouped them in pairs to determine whether there was an even/odd number. Once she understood that, I told her the shortcut was just to memorize which numbers are odd and even…and mommy made a game for it!
- Flat magnets (12x): Need to be small enough to fit in the inside of the bottle caps. I purchased mine at a local craft shop; similar ones can be found on Amazon.
- Bottle caps (12x)
- Strong tape
Label the bottle caps “0”, “1”, “2”, “3”, “4”, “5”, “6”, “7”, “8”, “9”, “odd” and “even” with a sharpie.
Arrange six magnets with the positive side facing up and six with the negative side facing up. To do so, first stack all 12 magnets together. Next, pull apart six so that you have two stacks. Then, flip one of the stacks over. Now you have one stack that is positive and one that is negative.
Take one of the stacks and separate each magnet about an inch apart — let’s call this Group A.
Do the same thing with the second stack — this is Group B.
Secure magnets onto the insides of the caps with strong tape. Bottle caps labeled “1”, “3”, “5”, “7”, “9” and “even” (yes, “even”) get Group A magnets. Bottle caps labeled “0”, “2”, “4”, “6”, “8”, and “odd” get Group B magnets. Make sure the magnets are securely attached though, because the attraction can be strong enough to pull the magnets and tape off!
Hover the caps labeled with “odd” and “even” over the numbers and watch as they either attract or repel each other. Please note that the “odd” and “even” caps need to be held with the text facing down — meaning the inside of the cap faces up.