Loose parts are materials that can be used in a variety of ways. It is very likely that you have things that can be used for loose parts play already around, such as bottle caps, rocks, pinecones, etc. This handout was created collaboratively between Town Square and the Early Math Collaborative at Erikson Institute as a resource for the Oak Park Collaboration for Early Childhood Symposium.
Explore your neighborhood or back yard if available and find leaf or petals, then once inside have fun with these 5 activities
- SORTING: Ask the children to sort the leaves and petals any way they want and then explain to the other children what their sorting rule was. (For example, one child might sort by color while another sorts by shape).
- COUNTING: Count the leaves and petals that each child has collected, or the number of leaves or petals in each category from the sorting activity above.
- RUBBING: Create leaf rubbing by placing paper on top of a leaf with the vein side up and using the side of a peeled crayon to rub over the leaf onto the paper and reveal the vein pattern.
- PRESSING: Have children arrange leaves and petals on a piece of waxed paper and place another sheet of waxed paper over the top. A grown up can use an iron to press the waxed paper pieces together sealing the leaves inside. (Clear contact paper could also be used).
- CREATING: Children can glue leaves and petals to paper in arrangements that look like insects, animals, birds, or whatever they imagine. They can use markers to add details to their creation.
Early Math Collaborative is a part of Erikson institute dedicated to providing math resources and professional development for educators and administrators.
The collaborative recently launched Download format; making resources available for immediately download and printable for everyone.
Enjoy these at-home activities cards to help children explore numbers, shapes, sorting and more!
At-home activities cards are available in English and Spanish
Math at Home is an online professional development site with resources and information about engaging young children in conceptual math activities.
“Math at Home builds the knowledge and skills of home care providers, teachers, and parents to help them:
- Set up environments that promote math literacy
- Facilitate math activities and lessons for young children
- Learn about mathematical concepts necessary for teaching young children”
Check out all the resources at the M.A.T.H.: Math Access for Teachers and Home Child Care Providers website.
The roots of early math skills begin developing from birth, through babies’ everyday play and interactions with parents and caregivers. These early math skills have a big impact on children’s school readiness—in fact, research has found that a strong understanding of early math concepts predicts both a child’s future math and literacy skills. This website offers handouts, videos, and more for parents and providers to support early math skills.
Visit Too Small To Fail Let’s Talk About Math to see these math resources and more. Content on the website is available in both English and Spanish.
Do you have a fence in your yard?
If you do, you can give children yarn, fabric scraps, streamers, paper strips, and more, to create a weaving in the fence. After children have a chance to explore and get the idea about how to weave the material in the fence openings, you can encourage them to create patterns or scenes.
Goal: Children will refine fine motor skills while creating a pattern through weaving.
Did you ever think about the many opportunities to incorporate math into something like an outing to the park or meal time? This resource was designed to be shared with families, but has plenty of excellent ideas for how to incorporate math into everyday routines and outings in your family child care home. Each idea is connected to a math concept such as number, geometry, spatial sense, or measurement.