Making ‘Dough Disco’ Count in Early Years Mathematics! Very Wacky!

Guest Blogger: Chris Dunn @ShrekTheTeacher

I recently came across Shonette Bason’s rather wacky ‘Dough Disco’ idea for developing fine motor skills. It took me a while to pluck up the courage to give it a go…I tried to convince my TA’s to lead it, but they told me I had no self-respect left to lose and should therefore do it myself!

After a few sessions I started to get the hang of it, and the children enjoy it so much they ask for it on a daily basis. We have a new motto in Nursery…’If your fingers aren’t aching, you’re not trying hard enough’…not to be taken out of context!

If you haven’t heard of it before, here’s Shonette demonstrating…

We like to start off with a slowish Ed Sheeran song, and then increase the pace and energy to Jessie J’s Laserlight (the chorus is a good opportunity to rest the fingers and jump/bounce around for a bit).

Initially the children found it difficult to use individual fingers, especially in a given order, but the development of strength and coordination is rapid. I noticed a spin-off benefit in that the children were also getting better at showing numbers using their fingers in our maths sessions.

This gave me the idea of adding counting into our dough disco sessions. It has worked very well indeed…adding rhythm and physical activity seems to really help the children with their counting. We now count using numbers up to 50, counting forwards and backwards between given numbers.

Counting along to music leads you towards using multiples of 4 in order to keep with the rhythm, e.g. let’s count forwards from 4 to 12. This means we’re always crossing 10’s boundaries, which is a good thing to practise.

I’m tempted to try using the tango so we can count between multiples of 3.  I could even ‘dust off’ my 1980’s progressive rock album collection, with all it’s weird and wonderful time signatures, and practise counting between multiples of 5 or more.  See…I’ve still got some self respect left!

Here’s a link to one of my own blog posts, with a free downloadable guide to developing counting skills…

Click on the link to download the Counting Guide 

Studied for a B.Eng(Hons) in Civil Engineering before spending 7 years designing and building roads. Felt the need to be more creative and the pull of the commercial world, so moved on... Spent the next 7 years working for British Airways in Commercial Development & Strategy (concurrently spent 4yrs as a Territorial Army Infantry Officer). All very exciting, but eventually discovered that lining shareholders' pockets wasn't really motivating me, and that being in the TA wasn't very compatible with starting a family. Felt the need to do something more vocational, so moved on... Left the 'rat race' behind and spent 2 years as a house husband bringing up 4 kids. Wife left, ran out of money, so becoming a teacher seemed like a good idea! Did a PGCE and have spent the last 5 years teaching in a big Primary School in West Sussex...2yrs in Year 3, 1yr as an Every Child Counts maths specialist, and 2yrs in Nursery. Am now Nursery Manager and an SLT member. Can't see any reason to move on as yet!...

One comment on “Making ‘Dough Disco’ Count in Early Years Mathematics! Very Wacky!
  1. Rebecca says:

    Couldn’t find the link. Could you email me the counting guide please.

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