In the few hellish months when I was a kindergarten teacher, we used little plastic bears for counting. About an inch or so high, they were nauseatingly cute, with simpering smiles and crossed paws.

When doing the "if we have five bears, and take away three bears, how many bears do we have left?" routine, things would get complicated when the four year olds would start to eat the two remaining ones.

often contain honey, and can be used as part of a crafty procrastinatory device once they are emptied and washed. I recommend the age-old activity of layering different colored sands by funnelling them one by one into the plastic bear through the spout atop his head.

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