A trayMagnetsVarious magnetic and non-magnetic materialsPaper to record results
Adult Guided ActivityProvide your child with a tray of metal and non-metal objects and some magnets for experimentation and exploration.Include some metal objects to which magnets do not stick, such as jewellery, to prompt curiosity and questions.Create a chart with your child that lists (in words or pictures) the objects that are magnetic, and another for objects that are not magnetic.Developing Investigation and EnquiryAsk your child to guess if the magnet will pick the item up or not. Try it out and then record the result.Introduce the word 'attract' as you explore if the magnet will pick up the item, "Will the magnet attract this?"
Plastic bottles - different shapes and sizesPlastic JugsPlastic Funnels
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.
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.
• Paper or card• Crayons and or felt tipped pens• Stickers• Things to measure• Scissors
• 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.
How this activity helps develop early maths learningChildren 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.
Take a walk around the house and see how many different shapes you can find together:• Sort your shapes into 2 dimensional shapes: circle, square, rectangle and triangle• Sort your shapes into 3 dimensional shapes: spheres, cubes, cuboids and pyramids• Talk about the properties of the shapes: sides, corners, angles, edges, faces:“This cube has 6 square faces”“This triangle has 3 sides and 3 angles”• Explore further by creating cylinder shapes by rolling up a rectangle of paper.• Unravel a cardboard cylinder tube to see how the cylinder shape was made.• Open a small cardboard box to see how the cube shape was created.
How this activity helps develop early maths learningVan Hiele (1986) proposed Levels of Geometric Thinking:Level 0 Children learn to recognise geometric shapes by viewing them as a whole.Level 1 Children learn individual characteristics of shapes such as “a triangle has three sides.”Level 2 Children learn more complicated relationships between the characteristics of a shape – for instance, they may come to understand that a square is a rectangle because it has all the same properties of a rectangle.Most preschoolers are operating at level 0. Children in the primary school stage are typically at level 1. Providing children with opportunities to explore and experiment with shapes and their properties allows them to move through the stages.Van Hiele, P. M. (1986). Structure and Insight: A theory of mathematics education. Orlando, FL: Academic.
Use Sensory Toys/ObjectsDangle objects for your baby to touch, eg hang toys over the cot or changing table, or place little one under the play gym. This encourages their reach.Move objects in front of them such as a toy or rattle, or blow bubbles. Try objects that make a noise, move, are colourful or are black and white. This helps develop their eye movement and strength.Sing Songs or lullabies and nursery rhymesAny actions songs and nursery rhymes are fine. Show them the actions, eg clap their hands, clap their feet, bicycle their legs. Encourage them to look and play with their hands and feet.Do the actions yourself and others such as wiggling fingers, pulling funny faces, clicking fingers and waving. This encourages body awareness.With your baby on their back, hold each hand in yours and cross their hands in front of their body (so they're hugging themselves) and then uncross their hands. Repeat several times and do the same with their legs. This is important for developing coordination.