This activity is a variation and extension of Snap it! Instead of hiding the pieces of cubes, beads, etc. behind the back, we will hide them under a cup.
Supplies: Interlocking cubes or beads, two cups (non see-through) turned upside down.
What to do (basic): Start with 5 or 10 or more items (depending on how much you want to challenge the participant) and make sure everyone knows the number. Hide some under a cup. From the number left on the table, the kids have to figure out how many are under the cup. At this point, you can ask for the answer or continue to the next step. Now you take two items (or another number) from under the first cup, show them to the participant and move them to under the second cup and ask how many are left under the first cup.
How it went:
We did 5, 6, and 7 objects with Nia. Nia and I took turn hiding some of them under a cup. Nia counted on her fingers and gave the correct answer most of the time. She was puzzled when I palmed one of them and did not see the correct number under the cup. She started looking around for it and asked to see my hands.
You can add more steps and move more items between the group of visible ones and the ones under the cups.
You can move the cups around on the table and have the kid(s) track the number in each cup.