archive for the 'Mathematics' category

The Power of Play Dough

I thought it would be fun to set up a play dough bakery. I made some chocolate colored/scented dough and some lavender glitter dough. I also provided birthday candles, wooden flower decorations, colored beads (sprinkles), pie and bread tins, rolling pins, ice cream scoops, silicone cupcake holders, a serving platter with a doily, cookie cutters, etc.. I had everything ready to go before my class arrived.

This is Chloe. She is always so serious and straight-faced in the mornings, so I was thrilled to see her chatting and smiling while making her “special star cookie”. Some of the kids made birthday cakes and cupcakes while singing “Happy Birthday” to each other.

There are so many benefits to playing with this squishy substance.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Play dough allows preschoolers to come up with unique and creative ideas. Children often express pride in accomplishments when they use play dough in purposeful and meaningful ways. Social skills grow as they share space and materials.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Children use their hands and tools to pound, push, poke, shape, flatten, roll, cut, and scrape the dough. Through these experiences, they develop eye-hand coordination and control, dexterity, and strength; critical skills they will need later for writing, drawing, and other purposes.

LANGUAGE/LITERACY

Working with play dough helps young children to enhance their language abilities. They practice listening, understanding, speaking, and communicating skills as they negotiate roles and engage in conversations with classmates and teachers. Materials like play dough encourage preschoolers to describe and reflect on what they are doing.

SCIENCE AND MATH

As young children discuss what they are doing with the dough, they often engage in scientific thinking. They learn through tactile experiences, observing and reflecting on how materials feel and change (grainy, smooth, round, flat). Math skills increase as children compare shapes, measure sizes, and count.

It’s safe to say, NEVER underestimate the power of play dough.


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Strawberry Math Activity

In a previous post, we used strawberry baskets for an art project. Well, now we are turning them into a simple, yet powerful math tool. This strawberry activity is a cute way to practice number recognition and counting skills. It is also wonderful for number quantity. The large numbers help the child to understand that numerals represent quantity and that quantity is represented by a numeral. Additionally, the strawberries can be used for set tasks; recognition, matching, separation, and combination.

And let’s not forget about quantity comparison. Children may use the baskets of fruit to make comparisons of weight, size, and amount.

MATERIALS USED:

-Strawberry baskets
-Pipe cleaners/fuzzy sticks
-Faux strawberries
-Our free printable numbers
-Double-sided tape


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Graphing With Jellybeans

Not only is graphing with jellybeans a yummy way to spend some time, it’s also educational; there are so many learning concepts packed into this small activity. Obviously, the main is graphing. But graphing is just the umbrella that covers several mighty and oh-so important math principles. In this particular instance, the children must rely on their color knowlegde to sort and classify the jellybeans. After placing the candy on their graphs, they will use their counting skills (one-to-one correspondence) to count and match the number of beans, in a row, to its corresponding number below.

Hello, number recognition!

Graphing also incorporates the concept of more/less/same. Ask your preschooler/s questions like, “Do you have more red jellybeans or more purple jellybeans – or are they the same?” Children often struggle with the definition of the word ‘less’, so it’s best to emphasize that, “Less means not as many.”

Just a note to add: Many of my fellow teachers ask me about my policy with eating the candy. My own rule is that after the activity is completed, the child may choose ONE special jellybean to enjoy. The rest are bagged up and labeled (by my assistant) and placed in the parent box to take home.

Download the Jellybean Graphing printable here.

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