My son loves counting. He loves math. We count things all day. Legos, spoons, blocks, books, his little sister’s dolls.
We try to count to 30 every morning as part of our recitation for home preschool. We also focus on a number each week. We place that number in a basket, talk about the number, and then place that amount of objects in the basket. Be it animals, legos, whatever he chooses.
I want to further our number exploration with playful and open ended math time.
An open ended learning time to explore numbers and number sense is simple to set up. I set out his number of the week with various objects for counting. All of these items were already in my home, no need to buy anything new.
This Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood development places value on the individual learning and innate curiosities of a child. The play time is, in fact, intense, cognitive learning and should be respected and encouraged. They can come up with answers on their own. They need our faith, our support, and the tools necessary to creatively engage themselves in their work.
On our math invitation to explore included the following items:
- a wooden box of popsicle (craft) sticks
- a two-part ceramic dish with polished rocks
- an old Melissa & Doug tray with our beautiful sandpaper numbers (numbers 1-10 are only $12 — an amazing deal over at Etsy)
- a white tile with paper flowers
- a small stainless steel bowl with colorful bead
I chose to slightly direct the learning time by creating an example of counting in the tray already — in this case, three flowers.
The first thing John did was make an “A” with three popsicle sticks! He counted them out — 1, 2, 3! And then got so excited. He did this several times.He looked at the other materials as I watched. He counted out three rocks and three bead.
Then used fine motor skills, pincer grasp, to get out the little paper flowers.He put his rocks back on the tray.I set the other numbers out to see if he’d want to continue, and he did!He chose to work with number 5 — he felt the number with his hand, and then he counted out five beads.
A beautiful Reggio inspired math tray or work table can inspire children to create and learn about numbers. I look forward to using more small objects, and loose parts, to continue and enhance this important Reggio Emilia inspired preschool math time.
Need more math ideas?
Follow my Reggio-inspired learning Pinterest board, for more inspiration!