Honestly, I could have made this topic all about math lessons and students. But, since I was a little girl, I’ve noticed how people associate counting fingers to being dull in math. That’s why I’m not going to make this about teachers and students alone. I want everybody to understand that there’s nothing wrong about calculating with fingers. Even as a teacher, I’m not stopping my students from counting with their hands. I know for a fact that different people have different levels of learning. Besides, the most important thing is getting the answer right.

Importance of Visuals

It is stated in various sources that there are 12 ways of learning. One of which is focusing on visual tools to teach students. Other examples include verbal and auditory learning. Studies suggest that the human brain can interpret what the person sees 60,000 times faster than reading words. Now, fingers can definitely serve as visual tools. Some people even use their hands like abacus.

Learning math is hard enough. Why not make it easier by letting the young ones count using their fingers? Funnily enough, our fingers are the most accessible visual tools we can count on.

Why the Hate?

People who dislike counting with fingers consider the act to be unhealthy for the brain. They even believe that a kid’s brain development gets weaker if the finger technique is continued. They also consider the technique to be unhelpful in making the child understand math. To them, counting fingers is just giving answers with no regard to the mathematical concept behind. In fact, some schools all over the world prohibit counting fingers during math class.

Studies Supporting the Technique

Despite the negative implications of finger counting, several studies actually support this technique. One study claimed that representations and strategies using fingers help students to learn and understand math. In my case at least, whenever I attempt to solve something in my head, I visualize my fingers. I could even feel my fingers slightly moving while I’m calculating in my mind.

Another study stated that first graders who are good in finger counting have better skills with numbers when they reach second grade. More studies emerged to prove that well-trained children regarding finger representation can end up with achievements related to math in the future.

Advanced Calculations Using Fingers

Many people consider finger counting ridiculous and childish. Counting 1 to 10 through each finger seems to be the easiest thing in the world. Wait until they get to see these unusual and more advanced techniques:

Finger Partitions

Many people resort to counting their finger partitions to calculate. On one hand, there are already 15 partitions. For sums up to 30, finger partition counting is faster than the basic one.

Chisenbop Counting

Now, let’s turn up the heat! Interestingly, Koreans have this finger counting technique called Chisenbop Counting. This is useful for calculations up to the sum of 99. Here’s how to do it:

  • Place your hands on a table as if you’re playing a piano.
  • On the right hand, the fingers represent units. The thumb represents 5.
  • On the left hand, the fingers represent tens. The thumb represents 50.

Are you starting to get confused? Well, take a look at this diagram below for reference:

10 Billion Counting

Yes, you’ve read that right – 10 billion in just two hands. Even I can’t understand this technique! Facts stated that this is an ancient finger counting method from the Chinese. I’m sure Chinese forefathers didn’t invent this technique just for fun. It must have worked.

Multiplication by 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10

I have to admit, I encountered this technique when I was a kid. This is a fun way to learn multiplication – I swear! Here’s how it goes:

  • Raise your hands in front of your face with palms facing towards you.
  • The fingers represent numbers 6 to 10 starting from the bottom or pinky finger. Same goes with the other hand.
  • To multiply, let two fingertips touch each other. For example, if you want to solve 6 x 6, connect your two pinky fingers.
  • To calculate, the two fingers touching and the fingers below them should be counted by tens. Since there are no fingers below your pinkies, you only have 2 x 10 which is 20.
  • For fingers above the two, multiply them based on their actual quantity. Since you have four fingers on each side, it means 4 x 4 which is 16.
  • Now, add 20 and 16. You have 36, right? Try it with other equations. I assure you that you will always get the right answer with this technique.

Finger Abacus

Like the 10 billion finger counting technique, the finger abacus is also an ancient calculating method in Asia, specifically in India. It was a very useful tool to calculate complex equations without an abacus, especially for blind people. In fact, the method was too complex that it could take years to master it. Some of the complicated equations the finger abacus could solve were multiplication of numbers up to 10 digits, and getting the square root of up to six-digit numbers.

Even to this day, the Universal Concept Mental Arithmetic System (UCMAS) still teaches the finger abacus to some schools. Its program started all the way from 1993. It already invaded 57 countries including the United States and the United Kingdom, and taught millions of kids. Actually, even top universities like Harvard, the University of Chicago, Stanford, the University of California San Diego, the University of Manchester, and the University of Khartoum did some researches about the finger abacus. All universities agreed that the method is still useful for students from 4 to 13 years old.

The Express Tribune

Final Thoughts

If you were confused when I mentioned some advanced calculations using fingers, then that’s the reaction I was hoping for. Finger counting is definitely not something we should underestimate. Using fingers as visual tools is not different to using images to understand things. If some people still find using fingers as a dull move to calculate something, then maybe they should also prohibit pictures in articles, books and other learning materials. We must never hinder a child’s preferred learning process just because the society says so.

We are all different, no doubt about that. That’s why some of us are contented with silence while focusing on something important during work or study time. But, in my case, I can’t concentrate without music. Silence is distracting for me because after all, we can’t achieve total silence unless we’re in a scientifically altered room for it. Without music, I can hear even the slightest sounds which distracts me. As a teacher, I need to read a lot to have smooth discussions in my classes. That can’t happen if I’m easily distracted by sounds. I need music to consistently play the whole time until I don’t notice it anymore.

Music for Deep Focus

Now, what exactly is the perfect music so we can focus or concentrate deeply? Well, there’s no exact music for it. The perfect deep focus tracks for you totally rely on your personality and mindset. I am a type of person who easily gets distracted. So, I need to set the ambience with instrumental music that’s consistent – no sudden highs or lows such as loud bass, electronic dance beats, etc. The type of music I’m listening to conceals sounds from my environment but, at the same time, doesn’t overpower everything completely. When I hear birds chirping, it seems that they are just part of my music.

But, not everybody likes instrumental music. My husband, for example, tends to get sleepy when he listens to tracks without lyrics. So, he listens to his favorite rock songs at work. Of course, he needs to use earphones. Meanwhile, my kids want to listen to their favorite cartoon songs during study time and homework. They say they get bored with silence, my tunes or my constant blabbering.

My Top 11 Tracks for Deep Focus

I don’t expect everyone to like the type of music I listen to during mind-based activities. But, there’s no harm in trying. Maybe you would like it anyway. I discovered these tracks on Spotify. I hope you’ll find the following tracks useful:

“Requiem” (Lights & Motion)

This track is a smooth journey for the ears. It starts low for quite some time until you get used to the music despite all the violins, bells and louder volume in the middle and last part of the track. I, for one, haven’t noticed the intense progress this track gives until I listened to it on purpose. Isn’t it amazing how my ears become fully accustomed to the tune without me being conscious about it every time I’m busy?

“Daylight Goodbye” (Message To Bears)

A piano plays softly at first with an ambient sound in the background. Later, more repetitive, clinking sounds join in. Even human hums are added to the track. But, the extra sounds are added smoothly. No sudden noise at all. Everything blends perfectly. The clinking sounds even figuratively tickles my brain. For some reason, I read or write faster with this track.

“Supernovas” (William Roud)

The vibe of this track at first is similar to “Daylight Goodbye.” But, as the track progresses, soft drum beats join the dreamy melody. It is an instrumental song with a hint of spice. I never get sleepy with this track.

“Branches And Constellations” (The Echelon Effect)

The Echelon Effect’s smartly composed track is quite similar to “Supernovas” because of the drums in the last part. But, the first part is much quieter. Sometimes, you need tracks that almost have a similar vibe when you make a playlist for deep focus. That enables you to have a smoother progress in your playlist.

“Losing the Light” (Explosions In The Sky)

The whole track focuses on ambience. You won’t notice its progress, which is great. “Losing the Light” has some extra sounds but all are subtle. These sounds just put texture into the track.

“Silver Lining” (Lights & Motion)

Another track from Lights & Motion, “Silver Lining” reminds me of some Coldplay songs. It sounds nostalgic and psychedelic. It is more upbeat than the previous songs I’ve listed. But, it is still not distracting. The powerful vibe just makes you want to think and move faster.

“Bless Those Tired Eyes” (Clem Leek)

The title hits me hard. Just kidding! This track also focuses on ambience but has extra guitar sounds for texture. The guitar is more on being plucked, not strummed. The track is relaxing and clears your mind from other thoughts.

“An Old Peasant Like Me” (Explosions In The Sky/David Wingo)

This time, Explosions In The Sky collaborates with David Wingo to compose a relaxing ambient music with minimal piano and violin sounds for texture. It sounds similar to “Bless Those Tired Eyes.”

“Petrichor” (At The End Of Times/Nothing)

If you’re into rock music, “Petrichor” has that sort of vibe. It has a lot of electric guitar sounds. It also has that continuous marching beat of the drum in the later part. But, it is amazing that the whole track remains soft to the ears. The ambient sound really helps in balancing everything out.

“Hypersleep” (65daysofstatic)

Now, we have the combination of ambient and drone sounds in this track. The result is a surreal and out-of-this-world music, as if you are transported into the outer space. Personally, this belongs to my top three go-to songs whenever I need to concentrate on a certain task.

“Igelstorp” (Fellows)

When it comes to sophistication, I think this track nails it. I can’t even identify if the sounds are electronic or from musical instruments. “Igelstorp” has so many elements that you can’t predict what the next sound is going to be. I associate this track to memory because of the reverberating sound effects. So far, this track never fails to make me memorize stuff.

Final Thoughts

There’s always science behind anything, and music is no exception. Basically, music helps the brain waves to achieve a certain frequency. The brain wave frequency conditions the brain to handle specific tasks. Obviously, some songs can make you alert while some aim to relax you. Music is a trigger to help you with what you need to do. That’s why music is definitely not just for fun and entertainment.

Not all virtual games are bad to a child’s lifestyle. In fact, many computer games can test the child’s alertness, comprehension, creativeness and other helpful skills. As long as you pick the right game, your kids will stay far from unhealthy gaming. Here are 6 examples of child-friendly educational games you can install in your PC:

Caillou Kindergarten: Counting and Thinking Skills Combined

This game is good for kids before or during their kindergarten days. The best part of this game is its focus on organization and counting. Specifically, Caillou is going to teach kids essential skills such as associations, sorting and recognizing numbers. Aside from math, the game will teach children some French and Spanish words.

In just one game, there are a total of 26 activities that children will surely love. One activity involves clicking squares with numbers to help Caillou complete the maze. Another one is searching for misfit objects inside a room. The rest are looking for opposites, spelling words letter-by-letter, matching photos, coloring images and other exciting activities.

The best part of this game? Children can bond with their parents. The whole family will definitely have a fun time teaching the young ones.

Aqua Words

Now, we’re heading to puzzles. Aqua Words aims to teach vocabulary through puzzle games. In this game, bubbles present letters in random order. The child must form words from the letters given. Longer and more complex words gain higher points. Once a word is formed, new bubbles are going to replace the existing ones. The child should think carefully on which bubbles to click because the new ones might give more complex letters.

Since children have different intellectual levels, Aqua Words has three various game modes: strategy, time attack and arcade. Arcade mode is similar to Tetris which can test the child’s focus. Time Attack, on the other hand, requires speed. Lastly, Strategy aims to test the child’s creativity with words. Aside from the modes, the game also has three difficulty settings.

Realore Studios

Bob the Builder: Can Do Zoo

Personally, this one’s my favorite. I play this game with my two kids at home. Bob the Builder needs to create a zoo to save the animals sent into a town. While most preschooler games focus on letters and numbers, this game aims to teach life skills. It focuses on challenging the child’s critical thinking skills such as problem solving, recognizing patterns, shapes and colors, and following directions.

Problem solving is taught through puzzles. The game wants the child to realize that every problem is just a puzzle with a certain solution. Meanwhile, recognition and memory tests challenge the child’s perception of colors, patterns and shapes. Now, one of the most crucial skills for a child is following directions. The game’s building activity teaches the child to follow step-by-step instructions. I love how my kids get blueprints and rewards as if they are architects. I also noticed that my kids are so excited in collecting stickers that can be received as rewards.

In addition to the colorful graphics and catchy gameplay, the background music is delightful and engaging. My kids and I sing along during game time. They also have no issues navigating around the game because Bob the Builder reads the options when the mouse pointer hovers on a menu.

Dora’s Carnival 2: At the Boardwalk

My daughter loves Dora the Explorer so much. No wonder she always gets excited playing this game. Dora has so many games available. But, each game has a specific theme. The carnival theme is a favorite of my little girl.

This game has 10 mini games available. Examples are giving water to dolphins, recognizing colors of boots and choosing the correct piñata. The activities aim to teach counting, improve coordination of hands and eyes, and some Spanish words. There is also a challenging air hockey game with Swiper that can be played by parents as well.

Talking about unique rewards, tickets are won from mini games so you can purchase prizes such as printable coloring pages, connect-the-dots puzzles and picture frames.

SpongeBob SquarePants Typing

Typing games can be redundant, boring or too challenging for kids. But, SpongeBob SquarePants Typing game is a fun way to teach children how to type fast. It is a unique typing game because it has a storyline as if it came directly from an actual episode. The scenes are funny, capturing the essence of the series completely.

The activities such as Snail’s Pace Race, The Glove World 500, A Star Is Born, Doh Ray Me and Senseless Patrick have different storylines but only one test – typing! Don’t worry if your child gets lost because the game will teach him how to properly place his fingers on the keyboard. Not only that, the game will remind your child about proper posture while typing.

Your family will surely enjoy this game for quite a long time because it has 17 levels. The rewards are adorable certificates your kids will definitely love.

Diego’s Dinosaur Adventure

While most educational games for kids focus on easier activities, Diego’s Dinosaur Adventure takes it up a notch with challenging ones. It also veers away from the usual math and letters lessons. It teaches kids about dinosaur names and their correct pronunciations, dinosaur bones and skeletal system, and the extinct creature’s food and habitat. So, as a relevant reward system, prizes are bones to be collected.

The major activities for this game are dinosaur racing, matching dinosaur needs, flying dinosaurs, egg rescue and a maze. In the dinosaur racing mini game, kids can pick their own dino to race with. Each dinosaur has a different set of strengths and weaknesses. The path is not safe because of the obstacles such as rocks, wood and water. The Flying game has a similar theme as this.

The Matching game will teach kids responsibility and association. The child must take care of the baby dinosaur by matching certain needs to the newly hatched dino.

Final Thoughts

The rise of technology is not purely disadvantageous to humans. It can enhance classroom tools and ways of learning at home. Of course, parents should take full responsibility when it comes to the kids’ control of high-tech gadgets. They must supervise the child at all times, especially when in front of the monitor.

Early childhood education is probably one of the most difficult lines of work in the world yet holds a great impact to the formation of a good society. Parents may be considered as the first teachers of a child however they can only teach life lessons as much as their experience took them. In order to augment and create a follow through in the learning process of a kid, an institution with trained professionals should start inculcating the basic academic and behavioral principles as early as they can.

Preschool teachers do not solely rely on their personal knowledge and training in molding kids into good citizens. Just like warriors who are to face a grueling battle, preschool teachers need their own set of weapons and these weapons are strategically placed or made available on their classrooms. If all considerations and researches about effective early childhood education are applied, then a preschool classroom is a “teacher” on itself.

These preschool classroom must –haves may be stand alone or need guidance from the teachers. Their true objective is to foster conversation, exploration of materials, and learning to make predictions. The more it sparks curiosity and interaction between kids, engaging them to worthwhile activities which for them may look like just games, the more they are lured into learning something important.


Easel is one of the fundamental tools that should in a preschool classroom. It serves as a medium for preparing kids to know and experience art. Aside from the fun they get in color mixing, they are also slowly introduced to the basic principle of colors.

Easel also promotes eye-hand organization, small motor control and artistic freedom.

Building Blocks

Block play offers young fellas opportunities to discover their potentials. Basic block building is an excellent way of introducing balance and stability, creativity and design, color appreciation, mental stimulation, mathematics, self-expression and a lot other diversity of skills, such as motor, social and cognitive abilities.

On the other hand, building blocks are brilliant instrument for teachers to teach the young children without getting bored and it encourages positive social interaction which is a vital fraction of learning.


Magnets are one of those stimulating toys that engage hands-on learning movement. Children and even adults love them simply because they are able to arouse our curiosity.

Playing with magnets offers important lessons for young children in experimentation, recognition, and categorization.

Learning with magnets can be a good way of promoting coordination just by exercising the hand and finger reflexes which is essential for writing. Moreover, by simple linking and disconnecting magnets, a child is subconsciously using his brain and practices thinking skills on dealing with gravity and equilibrium.

Play Dough


Preschool teachers should include Play Dough as one of the interactive teaching materials. Play Dough, also known as Play Doh, is a non-toxic modeling clay, and an astonishing tool that provides a lot of learning opportunities for youngsters.

Learning with play dough can be messy; however, using this amazing tool can be very beneficial to children. Play Dough has some calming therapeutic effect to cranky kids. It helps them to express their emotions. Not only that, Play Dough enhances hand-eye coordination, creativity, motor and skills, and amplifies inquisitiveness and understanding.

Children Of The World Learning Floor Puzzle

Racism is never a problem to young kids. It is important to expose little fellas to different cultures for them to understand how different life would be on the other side of the world. Introducing the different groups of people through puzzle, especially to the age class which they can relate to, prepares them to be emphatic and sensitive to the different cultures and traditions they may encounter in the future.


A hefty wardrobe of different costumes can also be a good element for an effective preschool education. Ofcourse, the objective of costumes is not about trying clothes to kids, but rather focus on the roles they can portray when they are suited up with a specific set of clothes. Once kids are on their costumes, they can role play different groups of people or certain profession which may now test their behavior towards the character and how they handle their personal emotions while maintaining character.

Alphabet and Numerical Puzzles


Letters and numbers engraved puzzles are essential in learning for preschoolers. Aside from the excitement puzzles give to kids, it also fosters a variety of cognitive and spacial skills. Puzzles rouse child’s curiosity, fortifies concentration and determination.


Acquire some critical judgment and engineering going with Legos! Lego has grown into an international trend in the field of education. Legos are one of the instruments that expand lateral thinking in an enjoyable setting.

Moreover, Lego is an excellent way of introducing three dimensions to preschoolers. Aside from enhancing critical thinking and creativity, Lego has the ability to boost literacy as kids work following set of guidelines. It offers youngsters an opportunity to explore new skills without the apprehension of failure.


Puppets make magnificent illustration aids for preschool-age children. It’s a fun way of attracting kids’ attention and getting their full cooperation. Puppets can augment children’s communication skills by providing well thought-out chances to interact with the puppets.

There are children who are averse to speak and have stage frights. By using puppets, they may be more willing to speak as they are using the puppets as medium.

Dramatic Play Set

Playing different roles is a must for preschoolers. By doing so, youngsters will have plenty of ideas on choosing their future professions. Moreover, the activity will improve their communication and interaction towards others.

On the other hand, dramatic play set will also enable kids to think critically and accordingly on the given situation.

Musical Learning Toy

It is important for every child to be exposed not only to different sights and smells, but also to variety of sounds.  The Musical Learning Toy will help preschoolers to distinguish one sound from another. By using this, they will be more acquainted on a certain sound and be able to determine it once they’ve encountered it as they grow up.

Animal Wooden Dolls

It is undeniable that most of the young children on their ages aren’t able to see different kind of animals due to safety and health purposes. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t teach them those. With the Animal Wooden Toy, kids will have ideas on the appearances and names of the animals without even seeing them physically. Also, it can be a great tool for learning, because preschoolers can easily identify things by images and shapes.

Every classroom needs a bulletin board. Open communication is important in the classroom environment. So, as a teacher, I make sure that new announcements must not only be disseminated vocally. I always post a follow-up on the bulletin board to ensure that my students will not forget.

Other than announcements, I use our bulletin board to motivate my students. I post inspirational quotes and anecdotes there. I also put the names of my best-performing students. You can actually post anything on a bulletin board, as long as it is relevant to education and the students.

Bulletin Board Background Suggestions

Having a bulletin board, however, is not a foolproof way to inform students. Why? Some bulletin boards look so dull that students would not even bother looking at it. When our bulletin board was still plain, just a simple corkboard with no designs at all, I print papers for nothing. My students would not even stay there for a minute and read all the papers.

When I started designing our bulletin board background with some enthusiastic helpers, my students flocked there once it was finished. Most of them stayed longer to read each post. Since then, I change our bulletin board’s design every month. Before I even run out of ideas, thank goodness I stumbled upon this article from Organized Classroom blog. I was blown away with some ideas I never thought of before.

Fadeless Paper

With Fourth Grade Florida Fun as inspiration, bulletin board backgrounds can be covered with fadeless paper. Meanwhile, burlap ribbon is used on borders. Bandanas are added for extra decoration. The overall result is one unique bulletin board.

Fourth Grade Florida Fun


For a wide range of colors and designs, I commonly use fabric. After reading the blog, I started using my old bed sheets. I just make sure to cut them perfectly. If ever I would run out of ideas again, I’ll just resort to fabric. Another good thing about fabric is how easy to remove tapes from it. If you don’t want to tape your posts, you can attach strings across the board and just clip papers there. I do that sometimes. Attaching the strings may be challenging but once you start clipping your posts, everything gets easier. I use pins to attach the strings. The strings may also be put in different directions for style. For a simpler one, just straight lines would do.


This is one of my favorite ideas. Who would have thought that burlap looks so nice as a bulletin board background? Burlap may look rugged. But, colorful papers and decorations would definitely pop. The best part? The material would tolerate the aftermath of staples and pins. It is also very inexpensive. It is perfect for themed bulletin boards, specifically rustic or western.

Wrapping Paper

I already used wrapping paper as a bulletin board background several times before. Still, it’s my go-to material until now. Like fabric, it has a lot of colors and designs. But, it is cheaper than fabric.

Aluminum Foil

Using aluminum foil is clever! I would start using this in my future bulletin boards. Aluminum foil surely attracts attention. With a shiny background and colorful posts, my students will be thrilled.

Plastic Tablecloth

Putting plastic tablecloth over the whiteboard is unique.  It is simple yet effective.

Contact Paper

For a plain background, contact paper can be a good accent. It is also easy to cut and attach to the board.


Another favorite of mine is using old newspapers as bulletin board background. I can save money with this material. The board looks sophisticated with this cover. I just make sure to put more color into it by decorating the borders and posts.

Wax Paper

For bulletin boards with lots of cutout images and colorful accents, wax paper is perfect to use as base. It almost has the same effect with aluminum foil. It is a shiny white material. That can surely catch attention.


I don’t resort to this much because I’m the type of teacher who pays attention to resourcefulness. But, painting the bulletin board background makes everything so easy. If you want a wrinkle-free board with one permanent color, this is perfect for you.

Scrapbook Paper

For me, scrapbook paper is kind of expensive than most of its kind. But, the final result is so beautiful. The patterns on scrapbook papers are just so beautiful and elegant to look at. Mrs. Teachnology blog shared a clever way to utilize this material. Cutting smaller squares from various patterns and lining them up is a nice idea. It is one of the most sophisticated bulletin board ideas I’ve ever seen.

Mrs. Teachnology

Shower Curtain

I will definitely use this one: shower curtain. The material has a big coverage and smooth texture. I will surely have fun using this material. Some shower curtains have intricate patterns which is perfect. I think the end result is one clean, smooth background.

Tissue Paper

Genius idea alert! The final result photo from Cross Curricular Corner is jaw-dropping. I’m going to use this one as well. Tissue papers are so thin and colorful that when overlapped, they make one amazing background. The overall look is trendy and youthful.

Cross Curricular Corner

Plain Corkboard

I know some teachers would still prefer the traditional corkboard. So, I suggest a level-up on the corkboard by putting colorful and creative borders. Also, you can put colorful papers and headers. I have to admit, corkboards look clean and simple. Added with colors, the total look would be easy and warm on the eyes.

Final Thoughts

Let’s never underestimate the purpose of bulletin boards. Other than the fact that it’s a source of class information, teachers can establish rapport with their students. How? I love working with my students. In some instances, my students are the ones suggesting some ideas. Once the students know how to talk openly with you, there would be no class conflict in the long run. Sometimes, I even hold simple group competitions on who gets to pitch the best design. Have fun decorating your bulletin board!