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Learning At Home Activities

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Age Groups: Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Play Dough Cakes for Counting Fun
You will need:

Play Dough
Rolling Pin
Cutters
Muffin Tins
Cellophane inserts from biscuit packets
Paper cake cases
Buttons
Birthday cake candles

Directions:

Play alongside your child making cakes with the play dough, roll into balls in your hand or use a rolling pin and cutters.
Place one paper cake case into each ‘hole’ in the tin or cellophane insert, counting out each one aloud.
Do the same when adding your play dough cakes to each paper case. It’s important that children hear this one- to- one counting with objects.
You can then make cherries with small bits of play dough or add buttons, or candles to the top of each cake, again counting each one aloud as you place it on top of the cake. When you and your child have finished, count each cake then affirm the final amount e.g. “we have made six cakes”.
You can add some stretch and challenge by helping your child work out how many cakes are needed for family members and how many will be left, or how many more are needed.

Tip:

This fun counting activity helps children acquire five important counting principles proposed by Gelman and Gallistel (1978) in meaningful ways.
1. One to one correspondence: principle Understanding that a number word is assigned to an item.
2. Stable order principle: Understanding that order of number words is always consistent. Ideally this should be the conventionally accepted sequence of number words.
3. Cardinal principle: Understanding that the final number said signifies the number in the set.
4. Abstraction principle: Understanding counting can be applied to anything.
5. Order- irrelevance principle: Understanding that items can be counted in any order so long as each item is only counted once.


Age Groups: Preschool, Toddler
Target Practice
You will need:

Chalk
Cones
Hoops
Balls
Buckets or containers of varying sizes

Directions:

Set up targets for your child using cones, hoops, buckets or chalked shapes on the floor.

Ask your child to roll, throw, or kick the ball to the target.

Move the target further away to make it harder, or move it closer to make it easier.

Make the target smaller to make it harder, or bigger to make it easier.

Ask your child if they notice how some objects are easier to throw and why they think that is. Can they throw with both hands together? Can they throw with their left and their right hands separately and at the same time?

This game encourages hand/eye coordination, gross and fine motor movements, and direction and precision throwing.

Tip:

If you haven't got ant buckets, why not draw targets on a wall with chalk or on paper which is then stuck to the wall? These can be different shapes and sizes and placed at different heights to provide higher levels of challenge.


Age Group: Infant
Where's It Gone?
You will need:

A silky fabric scarf, fabric napkin or a tea towel
A selection of favourite toys

Directions:

This is best done sitting in front of your baby either on the floor or when your baby is seated in a highchair. Pop the scarf, tea towel or napkin over your face then pull it away quickly and say “Peek-a-Boo”. Repeat again and then invite your baby to pull the scarf, tea towel or napkin off to reveal your face. This becomes a game of great anticipation and fun as your baby discovers that you’ve not disappeared. Switch the game round and pop the scarf, tea towel or napkin over your baby’s face and say “Where’s ……. gone”? Watch as baby pulls the fabric away to reveal that they have not disappeared.

Extend the game by hiding a favourite object, such as a teddy, under the scarf, tea towel or napkin and saying “where’s Teddy gone”? As baby pulls the scarf, tea towel or napkin away to reveal teddy say “there’s Teddy”! This fun game of hide and seek is a great way to help develop the connection of the object and object name as you reinforce the name of the object by saying “where has ……. gone” and “there is ……”

Babies learn through repetition so don’t be surprised if this becomes a game that your baby indicates they want more of it!

Object Permanence

Object permanence is about understanding that when something disappears it has not gone forever and tends to begin to develop between 4-8 months of age. Before a baby begins to understands this concept, things that disappear from her view, such as something falls off the high chair tray or is covered over with an upside down bowl, are gone. Quite literally out of sight and out of mind. Developing object permanence is an important cognitive milestone. It is an essential foundation to learning for symbolic understanding (which a baby needs to develop language, pretend play, and exploration) and helps babies work through separation anxiety.

Tip:


Age Group: Preschool
Fun With Measuring
You will need:

• Paper or card
• Crayons and or felt tipped pens
• Stickers
• Things to measure
• Scissors

Directions:

• Create a set of measuring hands for measuring how long, how wide, how tall and how short things are at home.

• These non-standard units of measure help children understand the concept of using units to measure items.

• Draw round hands, then cut them out and decorate with crayons, felt tipped pens or stickers.

• Number each hand, then start measuring.

• Count how many hands wide, long and tall items or people are.

• Record these results and compare them to find out which is the shortest, longest, widest and tallest.

Tip:

How this activity helps develop early maths learning

Children typically progress through a series of stages in understanding measurement (Copley, 2000):

1 Comprehending that objects can be compared and measured and understanding the meaning of questions like “how long is this?”, “how heavy is that?” etc.

2 Making comparisons themselves, such as judging which pencil is shorter, which pebble is heavier, etc.

3 Determining an appropriate unit and process for measurement.

4 Using standard units of measurement (centimetre, grammes, etc.).

5 Creating and using formulas to help count units.

During the preschool and reception class years, children primarily focus on stages 1 and 2 and may begin to work on the concept of “unit” in the third step. Steps four and five are typically focused on in the primary school years.

Copley, J. V. (2000). The Young Child and Mathematics. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.


Age Groups: Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Pour and Fill
You will need:

Plastic bottles - different shapes and sizes
Plastic Jugs
Plastic Funnels

Directions:

Collect up different size plastic bottles, plastic funnels and jugs for bath-time maths.
Have fun pouring water into the bottles, whilst playing talk about; Filling the bottle to the top, “Is it nearly full?”, “How many little bottles of water does it take to fill this big bottle?”, “Shall we fill it half full?”.
You can add some stretch and challenge by marking up quantities with a permanent marker pen or coloured waterproof tape. For example, marking up 250ml on a 500ml bottle, and marking up 50 ml units on a 200ml bottle.
If you have 2 different shaped bottles that hold the same amount ask your child which one he/she thinks will hold the most water. Help him/her test out to see what happens.

Tip:

Playing with water in this way helps children explore capacity and volume.
Talking with your child as they fill up bottles helps them develop understanding of mathematical terms associated with capacity and volume in ways that are meaningful.
Exploring how the volume of water stays the same regardless of the size or shape of a container is an important mathematical concept to develop. This is referred to as conservation of volume; having the ability to understand that redistributing liquid does not affect its volume. Children usually master this at around the age of seven years.
Children are likely to think that a tall narrow bottle contains more liquid than an equal amount in a short fat bottle. Through playing with water and different shaped containers that hold the same amount, children will begin to explore conservation of volume.