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Learning At Home Activities

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Age Groups: Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Writing in the Sand
You will need:

Sand - or a sunny beach
A stick or index finger

Directions:

Use a stick to make marks in the sand - vertical and horizontal lines, circles and crosses are good to start with.
Encourage your child to copy you then ask him/her to make marks for you to copy.
Talk about the marks and letters you make and the movements you do to make them. “I’m starting here, then going down, then stop”. “I’m starting here then going round and round and round”. “I’m going to make M for Mummy”

Tip:

This helps your child develop skills and confidence in forming and connecting the curves, vertical, horizontal and zig-zag lines that form the bias of letter shapes.
Starting big then gradually working down to smaller develops as your child’s hand and eye co-ordination skills and manual dexterity skills mature and integrate.
As your child associates the language of the mark or letter shape with the action of forming these, he/she will be getting kinesthetic feedback which is essential for any motor action.
Kinesthesia is the knowledge of where each body part is and direction in which it is moving.
It is an important component of motor control for legible handwriting.


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
Sock Sorting
You will need:

A selection of approximately 10 to 12 pairs of socks - big and small, plain and patterned, different colours.
A basket or box

Directions:

Unfurl the socks and place them in the basket or box. Invite your child to help you sort the socks;
“I’ve got a red sock, can you help me find another red sock the same”?

How this activity helps to develop early maths.

■ Skills of sorting and matching by size, colour and pattern.
■ Developing the concept of two and what makes two.
■ Maths language of the same, different, pair, one more.

Toddlers love getting involved in everyday activities so this is a great activity to do together when you are sorting washing to put away.

Tip:


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: 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.