Preschool Counting with the Eight Treasure Box

It’s a bit of a break from routine this week, so I don’t have a Wordcraft post…but I do have a suggestion on simple math and counting activity for preschoolers with the Chinese New Year eight treasure box.

(Okay for starters, let’s ignore the fact that the one in our home has technically got seven compartments, not eight…analysis paralysis is so not a convenient state to get embedded into…) 😉

Again, as with our counting activities, it didn’t start out purposefully as one.  But since the children had curiously opened the Eight Treasure Box to explore its contents, the idea just quite literally popped into my head when I popped a  milk chocolate bar into my mouth.

1. Simple visual addition and subtraction – for example: if I have four chocolate bars and I gave one away to you, how many would I have left? What if I gave one more away to your little brother?  How many more would I need if I wanted to give one to Grandpa, Grandma, Daddy and have one for myself?

2. Melon seeds planting – for example: if one seed can be used to plant a new tree, how many trees can I plant with these eight seeds?

Make it as simple or as complicated as you like. And bring your dinosaur to play along too! The possibilities are endless as many more different variations of questions can be thought up, and when you’re tired of it all, why, the subjects can just be eaten up!  😛

Some cultural history trivia for those who might be interested:

The Eight Treasure Box originated in the sixteenth to early nineteenth centuries during the Qing Dynasty, and was used by royalty to store small precious items.  Today, during Chinese New Year, it is typically filled with an assortment of sweetmeats, like candy, chocolate, dried fruits, nuts and melon seeds. The content in ours is pretty untraditional already, as historically the following items would be found in a traditional box:-

  • Peanuts – to symbolize longevity.
  • Melon seeds – dyed red in colour to signify joy, these also symbolize a long line of descendants since a melon has lots of seeds.
  • Pistachio – the direct translation of its name in Mandarin is kaixinguo, which means “a happy fruit” because its half cracked shell resembles a smile, and symbolizes a joyous new year.
  • Candied kumquats – to symbolize a sweet, prosperous and lucky year ahead as the translation in Mandarin is jingua, which means “gold melon”.
  • Dried red dates – to symbolize early realization of goals.
  • Chocolates shaped like gold ingots – to symbolize great wealth.
  • Candied lotus root – to symbolize family unity and harmony.
  • Milk candy – to symbolize a sweet and abundant year ahead. 

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One response to “Preschool Counting with the Eight Treasure Box”

  1. Phyllis says :

    I love all of your activities!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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