We have lots of party days. We love to play, sing, dance, dig, swing, take walks, read, and play some more. I try to remain intentional about the skills we are learning in the course of our play by providing skill building activities disguised as play. During all of our pumpkin days we had planned an actual Pumpkin Party, but we wanted to allow the children to continue the "party play" for days after the initial introduction.
I have to say I personally LOVED each activity, but one of my favorites was provided by Mother Goose Time, Counting Seeds. In this activity, they sent some counting cards with the numbers printed on one side of the 8x10 thick cardstock pieces and the appropriate amount of seed spaces on the other side. They also provided the seeds, the plastic blue tweezers, the instructions and the learning aspects of this activity.
Side note!! This is something I love about Mother Goose Time (shameless plug, not really...I'm not telling YOU to buy it...I just love it for MY preschoolers) Mother Goose Time provides this..... It is a skills checklist of what my children will be learning each day so I can make certain that it is age appropriate and state aligned. Major bonus!
This is a great example of how to fit math into the everyday play routine for your preschoolers or toddlers. When I look at this picture, there are several aspects of skills and learning that are taking place at once.
First, they are having to work together and take turns. This builds social/emotional skills of self-awareness and impulse control.
Second, they are using tweezers to pick up the seeds. This is building fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination, and balance as they shift their little arms from right to left very carefully.
Third, they are placing one seed into one seed space. this is one to one ordering. You will notice when a child is making a developmental leap when they grow from just looking at a pile of cars and counting to 10 as fast as they can, proclaiming, "Ten!" even though there are only 8 cars to actually pointing at each car and counting each object with the next sequential number, "1, 2, 3, 4!" "There are four cars!" Activities that give them a designated space in the shape of the object they are coutning with gives them a concrete sense of how and what to count. The reinforcement of having the number on the back allows them to put the actual shape of the number to the counted objects.
It really is a complex learning sequence that we take for granted, however, by providing the right tools, we can help encourage a "math brain" for our little ones and give them the confidence they need to accomplish these skills "all by myself!"
"Look Ms. Donna! I did it all by myself!!!"
There is a great sense of pride and accomplishment when a child can complete a task without assistance. Giving our children these opportunities through play allows the children to build the blocks of learning naturally and keeps them engaged. It allows us as teachers to step back and allow the play to do what it is supposed to....teach the brain in a relaxed state that promotes long-term foundational skills to be built upon, self-confidence, and a love of learning.
I wish you well and I hope you get to play today! - L
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com