Monday, October 29, 2012

Preschool Math

Aiden is just about 4, so we have begun more purposed math this year using games and manipulatives.

The National Council for the Teaching of Mathematics (NCTM) has a list of expectations for each mathematics topic organized by grade and I refer to these as I plan Aiden's math experiences for the week. There are six major mathematics topics:  number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, process and data analysis & probability. 

I created several math felties to use as a basis for math conversations. I am SO not crafty, but these are really easy to make and he really enjoys playing with them. 

As he plays with these I can ask questions like, "If you put two fish in the castle how many fish will you have left?" or "If you had four friends come over which pizza would you serve?" 

 Concepts like addition, subtraction, fractions, one on one correspondence etc. can all be discussed using the math felties. Aiden also forms his own math connections as he plays with them independently. 

I also purchased several games and manipulatives which I rotate throughout our week. I modified Elle's game Ratuki so it was age appropriate for Aiden. We play Slap Jack (Actually Slap Ratuki) with it. Aiden calls out each number as I flip them over and then we race to slap the Ratuki card when it appears to win the deck. In the picture above you can see how each number is represented four different ways. This game did wonders for his instant number recognition.

Lauri's Number Play has been a great staple. Besides practicing counting we use it to make patterns and compare the sizes of the puzzle pieces. I just love the material the puzzles are made out of.

I hesitated to purchase Inchimals because they are a little pricey, but I am so glad I finally bought it! It is basically cuisinaire rods for younger children. It comes with a booklet full of addition and subtraction challenges. Aiden is not writing the number sentences out yet, but he loves to solve the puzzles.

Sum Swamp is a fantastic addition and subtraction game. Players take turns rolling two number dice and an operation die. They then add or subtract depending on their roll and move that many spaces forward or backward. I give Aiden teddy-bear counters to use to solve the equations.

My amazingly talented mother-in-law (thanks mom!) sewed these superhero beanbags for Aiden. Beanbags are so versatile and can be used to play all kinds of math games. 

We have a raised herb and vegetable garden the children help keep up. Our family garden                           provides a wealth of  natural math experiences for the children, especially in the area of measurement. 

We also use How Tall Am I to practice measurement. Players roll the die and then choose the article of clothing indicated. The object of the game is to build the tallest person. When everyone has completed their wacky person each player measures them using the slide ruler provided. 

Block Buddies has over 76 challenge cards divided into four different levels.                                                  This has been one of the most played with toys at our house.

Tangoes Jr comes with a magnetic board, a set of tangrams and several pictures for children to make. I like that each picture is two sided. One side has lines and one does not so this game really grows with the child.

We use geoboards for all kinds of things, but this, "Geoboard Pictures for Little Hands" is a great starting point. It comes with a set of pictures for children to make using rubber bands. Aiden also really enjoys making his own pictures and patterns.

Pattern blocks are great for building geometry skills...and they keep Aiden busy for quite some time:)

Mighty Mind scaffolds very nicely. Each card builds on what they learned on the previous card. They get progressively harder as you move along.

I have a huge stack of in the frame puzzles that were picked up here and there by my grandmother at the thrift store. We try to do at least one puzzle a day together.

Cooking is another excellent way to provide natural math experiences for your child. Elle and Aiden have learned oodles about fractions and measurement while we spend quality time together in the kitchen. I especially love the Bento Box cookbooks. They are fun to make and have been a delicious way to teach shapes!

The Gamewright game Hiss is a lot of fun and perfect for counting, comparing sizes and patterning. 

Thinkfun's Clever Castle is fantastic for reading a grid and patterning.                                                                   I have been very impressed with all things Thinkfun, We have several of their logic games                              which, thankfully, all tuck nicely into a little drawstring bag. 

So...this is Aiden's math! I really try to make it as natural, fun and hands on as possible. I purchased all of the store bought items in this post on Amazon when Elle, my eight year old sweetie, was little. Aiden now loves them and Elle still uses most of them. so we definitely got our money's worth out of them. I hope this helps as you build your own math 'curriculum'. Happy counting!