Chalk hopscotch

It has been a wet early spring but finally we have a math session outside.  How I have waited for this!

This was a session where I had too much to do to take pictures, but counting aloud in hopscotch is not an original idea and there are lots of other sources, in particular homeschool blogs, who link this classic game to math.

An example from The Home School Den on Parents.com

An example from The Home School Den on Parents.com

The slightly obnoxious but nevertheless educational Let’s Play Today has this video:

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Race Car Math: Counting and Number Recognition Activity for Preschoolers – Frugal Fun For Boys

This was fun!  I’m a fan of the blog Frugal Fun for Boys and knew I had to try their race car math.  This was a very involved activity for my group and we did a scaled-down version of the activity in which each kid got two cars assigned by me and let them roll down my cardboard ramp onto the floor to see how far they would go.  We measured some times but not all as there was as much learning going on in the standing-in-line and taking turns department as in math.

Ideally, have two cars of the same color if children have difficulty remembering which number car they we assigned.

Materials
Two cars per child
masking tape and permanent marker for race numbers
squares of paper for drawing numbers
Ramp: cardboard or PVC tubing
Clipboard, paper and pencil

Original idea:

Race Car Math: Counting and Number Recognition Activity for Preschoolers – Frugal Fun For Boys.

via Race Car Math: Counting and Number Recognition Activity for Preschoolers – Frugal Fun For Boys.


Math story: Guji Guji

We read Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen and talked about the story as a math story: How many crocodiles are there and how many ducks? How many stones do they carry to the bridge? Does every duck carry one stone?

Image from Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen.

A math story could be about how many siblings there are if some are ducks and one is really a crocodile. Image from Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen.

I had prepared a number of cut-out cardboard “stones” and could ask, How many stones would the ducks need if they each carried one stone?  I had another set of stones with numerals written on them and we could order them from least to greatest.

I then attempted an extension of this activity in which some of the stones were missing the number but this proved to be too hard for this group and I quickly had to add the number to all stones.

For those who wanted to stay after this, there was coloring of ducks and crocodiles to do.

 

Skills practiced: Counting, number recognition, ordering.

See the book read aloud by Robert Guillaume in the Story Line project.

Original idea for the story book choice is from the book “Cowboys Count, Monkeys Measure, and Princesses Problem Solve: Building Early Math Skills Through Storybooks” by  Jane Wilburne, Jane Keat and Mary Napoli.


How loooong is our step? Math story: Little Chick

Measure the length of our legs and our longest step with string.

Use two colors of string for the two categories of measurement. I tied a knot on the leg measures to distinguish them from the step measures, but that of course didn’t prevent the kids to copy me a tie knots on all their pieces of string, too.

Math story:
Little Chick by Amy Hest and Anita Jeram

Original idea for the story book choice is from the book “Cowboys Count, Monkeys Measure, and Princesses Problem Solve: Building Early Math Skills Through Storybooks” by  Jane Wilburne, Jane Keat and Mary Napoli.


“Why are we doing this?”

That’s a good question!

My answer when I get this question could be, “We try to practice our numbers”, but that doesn’t fly with preschoolers in my experience. I have to think fast then, if I haven’t given a good explanation.

Modeling a number of cupcakes in playdough and matching them with the right numeral was the activity I had in mind today. Nice, tactile and concrete; a little fine motor practice, some counting, some matching, some fun. Well, the fun part was not evident to the five-year-old who asked, “Why are we doing this?”

“We have gotten lots of orders on cupcakes and we have to get them ready, but we must remember to put the order slip with the number by it to make sure we give it to the right customer!”

Satisfied with this explanation, she set to work.


How tall are you?

A big favorite with the kids is self-exploration in numbers; ages, height, stride, and all can be measured and compared to great delight!

Last week we talked about our ages, how old we are in years and how we compare our age.  I wrote the number years on a piece of paper for every child and myself and we lined up from least to greatest.

This week, I had prepared a strip of paper for everyone to lie down on and be measured against.  I marked the height and cut off the strip to hang up in no partiocular order.  Everyone set to work ordering the strips according to length.  We talked about who is shorter and taller and of course got to talk about who is tall for their age and how much they have each grown.

Strips of paper for height ordered on the kitchen door.

Strips of paper for height ordered on the kitchen door.

Materials
A roll of painting paper, alternatively lengths of yarn or string.
Markers
Masking tape for hanging and ordering individual strips

Preparation: Cut strips of paper for the kids to stand by for measurements.

Skills practiced: Comparison, measurement, ordering.


Counting Song: The Ants Go Marching

All the kids in this daycare group can recite the numbers up to five or six.  To practice the sequence of numbers and have fun exploring the what the numbers mean, we sang “The Ants Go Marching”.  I had the verses memorized, a plan to draw an ant per verse, a roll of paper pre-cut and markers ready for the kids.  The rest I left up to the questions they might ask.

We did get through the whole song with some detours.  Another time I would save the drawing until the end.  Some interesting observations included the variation in drawing skills and a, for me, the culture shock of kids not being able to share a large piece of paper.

Daycare math - The Ants Go Marching

Details from the scroll of ants and numerals shared by five children.

The kids explored the numerals as the numbers came up in the song, colored in the numerals and counted the cumulative number of ants as well as drew critters with various numbers of legs.  (We quickly concluded that ants which are insects must have six legs each.)

Materials
Roll or individual sheaths of paper
Crayons or markers
Lyrics to “The Ants Go Marching” (link to Youtube)

Further reading
“Many three-year-olds may be able to identify a 3, but they don’t understand what 3 means. It’s important for parents to understand the difference between conceptual learning and skill development,” she says. “Instead of flashcards, look for teachable moments, count things that are familiar to the child as she plays or helps you with simple chores. Counting socks, toy cars, or other toys will maintain her attention and have more meaning for her. Play is learning for three and four-year olds. Follow their interests and create environments that encourage creativity and exploration.”
– Grace Davila Coates, Program Director of Family Math, University of California at Berkeley.
Read more on Education.com

Skills practiced: Counting, number recognition, pre-writing, reasoning.