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Paper Towel Tube Number Matching Game: Upcycled Learning Activity

How to make a DIY paper towel tube number matching game to build number sense.

You do not need fancy toys or supplies to make fun learning games for your kids. Toddlers and preschoolers like activities that are engaging and fun. They have no idea if something is trendy or not.

So don’t be afraid to use what you happen to have on hand and recycle materials into fun learning games. This is one of those activities.

Make an easy number matching game that boosts number sense while aiding with fine motor skills. And it’s just fun.

Let’s make a paper towel tube number matching game.

Paper Towel Tube DIY Number Game

Paper Towel Tube Number Matching Game

This game is wonderful because you can make it over and over again. Does it wear out eventually? Yes, but it uses a supply that we keep generating at least. (This is especially helpful if you have more than one kiddo who will want to play with it. It is easy to make enough for everyone!)

Here’s how easy it is to put together.

Supplies for Paper Towel Number Game

You only need a few key items for this activity.

  • Paper Towel Tube
  • Blank Stickers
  • Marker or Pen

Yep, just these three things! You can also use a toilet paper tube if that’s what you have handy.

For blank stickers I prefer the circle ones like you would use to price items at a garage sale. These work really well: blank circle stickers.

How To Make Your DIY Number Matching Game

Step 1: Take your paper towel tube and write the numbers 1-9 all over it.

Step 2: Take your stickers and write the numbers 1-9 on it, one number per sticker.

Step3: Give the stickers and tube to your child to match the numbers on the stickers with the ones on the tube!

That’s all there is to it! The goal is for your child to recognize the numbers and match them appropriately. This builds number sense.

Number sense is the understanding that each number has its own unique value, and these values can interact with each other. Basically, you want to make sure children understand what a number is on its own and are not just rattling off a sequence of numbers with no idea what they mean.

(You can learn more about number sense and get even more activities to work on it here: Number Sense for Kids)


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Tips For Use

This is a fairly straightforward activity, but the first few times you do it younger children might need some guidance. Here are some tips.

  • Say the numbers out loud as you match them up so your child can see and hear the numbers.
  • If needed, peel the stickers off the page for your child.
  • Try peeling the outside part of the stickers off the page so it is easier for your child to pull the number stickers off themselves.

Tips for Older Kids

This activity can work for older children too! (Think preschool, kindergarten level.)

  • Try challenging your child to only match one type of number, like odds or evens. Try multiples of 5 or 3 too, for example.
  • Write simple addition equations on the stickers that they can then match with the answer on the tube.
  • Write simple subtraction equations on the stickers that they can then match with the answer on the tube.

I like having ways to make activities a little more challenging to grow with the kids. And it is also helpful if you have children of different ages. You can still make one activity, but have it be at an appropriate level for each child.

how to make a paper towel tube match game number sense fun with picture of paper towel tube with numbers written on it and sheet of dot stickers with numbers used to match

Even More Fun Ways To Use This Matching Game

I love using this activity for numbers, but it can be used so many more ways!

  • Write the alphabet on the tube and stickers, then have your child match the letters.
  • Draw shapes on the tube and stickers for your child to match.
  • If you have multi-colored stickers you can draw colored dots on the tube to match the colors.
  • If you can write small enough, this activity can even work with sight words!

Clean Up

Once this game is done you can try to peel the stickers back off the tube to use it again. Or upcycle it into an art project. If you aren’t interested in that, just go ahead and recycle your tube!

Number Games for Toddlers and Preschool

This number game is a great way to practice counting and number sense. It can boost fine motor skills while your child peels off the stickers. And it can boost independent play while they play with this activity on their own. All wins!


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Paper Towel Tube DIY Number Game

How To Make a Paper Towel Tube Learning Game

Yield: 1 Game
Prep Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute
Difficulty: Easy

Make an upcycled learning toy for your children! This paper towel tub game works number sense and is so easy to make.

Materials

  • Paper Towel Tube
  • Blank Stickers

Tools

  • Marker or Pen

Instructions

  1. Take your paper towel tubes and write numbers 1-9 all over it.
  2. Take your circle stickers and write numbers 1-9 all over it.
  3. Give the stickers and tube to your child to match up!

Notes

Tips


Peel the outside part of the stickers off to make them easier for little hands to pull off the backing.

You can also practice letters, shapes, and colors with this activity. Try making it more challenging for older children by writing simple addition or subtraction equations on the stickers and the answers on the tube.

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