To do: Practice counting, number recognition, shapes and spatial relationships at the park
Time: 1 hour
Materials: A nice park!
Math at the park is no joke, there are so many different things to count! You can practice number recognition, shape vocabulary and spatial relationships. Here are some ideas to incorporate math skills at the park.
Numbers: Play a number hunt. Do you see any numbers on signs or paths at the park? Ask your child, “What numbers do you see?” If you’d rather count things as you go, try counting things from this big list: Sticks, leaves, acorns, pine cones, flowers, big rocks, leaves on the path, or other kids.
Sometimes children, when first learning counting, simply memorize the litany of numbers rather than associating them with separate quantities. To get out of the rut of counting in order, gather a group of items like acorns or leaves. Ask your child to take 3 from your pile. Or give your child 4 and ask them, “How many acorns do you have?”
Shapes: Practice the names of shapes by finding natural or man-made materials at the park to identify. Start with naming an object. “Wow! The center of this flower is round. Do you see any other round things?” If your child is more comfortable with shape names, try a game of I-spy: “I spy a red triangle, or a green oval.”
On-Off-Through-Under: Make a game out of recognizing the position of objects compared to you or your surroundings. Find a good stump or log and practice jumping on the log, jumping off the log, or jumping over the log! Alternatively, ask questions about your surroundings, “Is the squirrel on or off the branch?”, or “Is that boy running forwards or backwards?”
What your child will learn: Your child can practice fun math and numeracy skills at the park, just set aside some time to play those types of games! It doesn’t have to be anything formal, but rather an impromptu game of I-Spy or acorn hunt.
For your older child: How can you take what your child is learning at school, or has learned, and apply it at the park? Perhaps simple addition problems, bartering your acorns back and forth, or speaking about the height and width of the tree!
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