Math games with circles

When you’re working on math with younger children it’s really important to start with real things – objects they can hold in their hands and use as they play and work with mathematical ideas. They need to have a solid understanding of the concept that a written down ‘1’ actually means one car, or one block, or one bottle top. Using toys and other items as manipulatives is great to help them understand this, and adding in new manipulatives every so often keeps the math games fun and interesting. So today, here’s an idea for a really quick-to-make set of DIY manipulatives, and lots of ideas for how you might use them.

Great ideas for math games

Math games with circles [Read more…]

Games using bottle tops


A thrifty tip for free toys: collect the lids off your milk bottles and jars. Wash them, dry them and give them to your children and see the creative ways they use them.  (Make sure you don’t give very small children lids so small they could be a choking hazard.) My girls love them and come up with all sorts of ways to play with them.

1. Be artistic: what pictures can you make?

2. Try some maths: sort the tops into different sizes, working from smallest to largest in a long line.

3. Get classifying & talk about colours: sort the bottle tops into piles of each colour. L is always on the look out for any golden ones!

4. Add in some letters or shapes: Use a permanent marker pen to write letters or shapes onto the lids. Can you spot all the curved letters? Or find all the triangles?

5. Add numbers: and see if you can order the lids in numerical order, or use them to do sums.

6. Role play: Use the lids as money to play shop or as treasure for pirates to find.

Hand them over to you kids and see what they come up with – they always have the best ideas for play.

happily shared with teach mama We Play! at Childhood 101 and Show and Tell at ABC and 123

Ten in the bed game

You can make maths much more fun if you mix in some songs and imaginary play. Today we’ve been counting backwards and singing ‘Ten in the Bed’.

First we took a cardboard box and used some fabric scraps to make a bedsheet, pillows and blanket.

Then we made 10 little people and numbered them 1 to 10. With a bit of a squash and a squeeze they all fitted in.

Then it was time for some singing – and lots of giggling as Little rolled her people out of bed. We’ve done an alternative version of this using our sofa as a bed and Big’s favourite teddies to make up the numbers. It’s very funny when you’re 3 to make your teds whizz out of bed!

A great book choice to go with this is Ten in the Bedby Penny Dale, which has beautiful illustrations.

And just in case you don’t know the song, there’s a cute pre-school class over on You Tube waiting to sing it to you.

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