Graphing with Rainbow Color Counting Bears | Still Playing School

Graphing with Rainbow Color Counting Bears

It might seem a bit strange to introduce kids to algebra with rainbow counting bears, but bear with me (pun intended)! I promise that this activity is developmentally appropriate and fun as kids catch on to the concept of graphing points on a Cartesian Plane through hands on math play! 

Introducing algebra to kids using a Cartesian Plane for counting bears math play!

This post contains affiliate links.

We're launching a brand new series about how to use tons of manipulatives to create play based educational activities for kids! This week's tools are rainbow counting bears. In the past we've shown you how to use colored counters to teach patterns in preschool from simple to complex.

We're taking basic graphing that requires children to sort the bears by one attribute to the next level with this activity. Using the x and y axes, I invited our daughter to put each bear on the correct point on the Cartesian Plane as she sorted by the attributes of color and size. 

When I taught Kindergarten I was a huge advocate of giving even the youngest of children the correct terms for mathematical (and scientific and literacy etc.) concepts. I saw the success of this in action! I would explain the words in every day language to the kids but I always had a handful of students who felt both challenged and proud to be using "big" words like axis and Cartesian Plane!

For this activity, I showed our daughter the x axis as we wrote the sizes of the bears. Next we wrote the colors along the y axis. I explained that each bear had one place on the Cartesian Plane where it's color and size came together and that was it's "seat" for this activity. 

I purposely kept our graph plain and unlabeled so that we can reuse this same sheet with different manipulatives such as our transportation counters! For those, one axis will be the color and the other will be the type of vehicle. 

You can print your own copy of our Cartesian Plane hereWe also hope you'll sign up for our weekly newsletters to get instant access to all of our free printables! It's our way to say thank you for reading our posts!

More Ideas for Rainbow Bears and Other Counters: 

Rainbow Bears Preschool Letter Cards from Learning 2 Walk

  Size Order Rainbow Bear Cards from Life Over C's

  Color and Size Sorting with Rainbow Counters from Line Upon Line Learning

  Alphabet Formation Compare Bears from Adventures of Adam

  Size and Color Sorting {Learning with Rainbow Bears} from Squiggles and Bubbles

  Animal Counters Sensory Bin & Color Sort from Raising Little Superheroes

  Color Graphing with Rainbow Bears from Schooltime Snippets

  Rainbow Bears Sensory Bin from Something 2 Offer

  Counting More or Less with Farm Animal Rainbow Counters from Stir the Wonder

  Rainbow Bears Addition Cards from The Kindergarten Connection

  Measuring with Rainbow Bears from Mom Inspired Life

Rainbow Chain Link Color Matching from Sugar Aunts

  Don't forget to use #toolsforlearning on Instagram to share your Rainbow Bear & Counter learning activities!!

More from Still Playing School:

For all of our posts and ideas please follow us on Pinterest:

Subscribe to our weekly emails  for exclusive news, all of our posts, and free printables!

For all of our play based learning activities please follow Still Playing School on FacebookPinterestGoogle+Instagram, & Twitter!


  1. What a great idea! Sometimes it's so easy to introduce kids to new skills!

  2. I love the three sizes of bears! Great for so many learning activities!

  3. I had no idea that this type of graph was a Cartesian Plane. Great way to introduce a new Math concept.

  4. I love this, Devany. I've always been a huge proponent of giving kids the correct term for things -- they WILL rise to our expectations of them, and are often capable of so much more than we give them credit for. <3

  5. I love this-as someone who always found maths (and still do!) challenging, this is a simple way of introducing Cartesian Plane!

  6. I feel pretty proud myself having learned a new "big" word, like cartesian!! Great hands-on graphing idea!

  7. Well I have certainly learnt something new - I had never heard of the Cartesian Plane before!

  8. So cool! My son would love this.