Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Teaching Math Skills through PLAY!!
1. Store. Both boys and girls love to set up toys and food to create an imaginary store, buy their goods, and even play the cashier. In fact, I usually have to moderate turn-taking so we don't have any fights over who gets to be the cashier at any given moment! You can use real money, a "bank card" (an expired gift card), real "fake" money, gold pirate coins, or a fistful of invisible money. When you play with them, make sure they count out the coins, or count up to the cost of each item. As children develop a stronger grasp of numbers, try over-paying them and asking for change. You will have to help them figure it out the first time or two, but they will catch on very quickly!
3. Superheroes. Astronauts. Or any other make-believe game. Include counting activities whenever you play with your children. Is your little superhero taking off to save the day? Take off on the count of 3! Next time, take off on the count of 5. When their space ship or boat or train is ready to depart, count down to blast off (from ten, of course!).
Dramatic Play is wonderful because you are strengthening creative thinking, social, verbal, math, and many more skills all at the same time. You can also use more structured games for math reinforcement also:
4. Hide-n-Seek. Consistently count one or two numbers higher than your child can count by herself...it's great practice!
5. Board Games. Research is showing that children who engage in board games twice a week for at least 15 minutes each time may perform measurably better in written math skills than their peers.
6. Mother May I? Another version of this is Mr. Wolf, What Time is it? The wolf is "it" and you or other children ask, "Mr. Wolf, what time is it?" The wolf replies, "3 o'clock" and everyone takes three steps toward him. The game is repeated until the wolf replies, "Dinner time!" and chases down his dinner.
There are so many possibilities and ways to involve math in your play time. Do you have any favorites?
I may share at any of these parties!