Take Math Outside with a Counting Walk
"I counting mama! 1...2...3....6...10" He looks up at me with a big proud expectant smile.
All kids reach a moment in development when a little light switch in their brains goes off in the numbers area. They suddenly get that the words for numbers represent quantities and although it will take them a little while to catch onto how it works exactly, they likely won't stop counting until they do.
When my twins reached this age we did a lot of counting.
We counted their cheerios at breakfast.
We counted their shoes when we put them on.
We counted the babies in their stroller (because one is really never enough).
We also read counting books. Oh so many counting books.
A counting walk is - simply put - a walk where you count stuff. You can do this anywhere, any time of year (although Winter is always more complicated) and you can do it will minimal supplies.
Before our Counting Walk I gathered, their journals, markers, a pen and a camera.
I told my twins were going for a Counting Walk! (Say anything will enough excitement with toddlers and they'll jump for joy. It's one of the things I love about them.)
1. We wrote out a list of things they thought we could find outside.
I guided them a little, but for the most part they chose the things for me to write/draw on the page.
I drew a list for each of them in their journals. (These are just simple notebooks with blank paper. On the cover I wrote their name and taped a picture of them.) I used journals because it gave them a sturdier surface to write on outside than just a piece of paper.
If you are doing this with a group of kids then I recommend making the list at group time. Make copies for each child and clip them onto clipboards.
2. I explained what to do when we got outside.
We talked about how they were going to start with the first thing on their list. Count all of the "Trees" for example that they could see. Then we could write that number.
Once we wrote the number then we would move on to the next thing.
We checked their lists to see what we would be looking for first.
We counted all the trees we could see and then they wrote it on their charts.
Then we used our fingers to point to the next item on our counting chart.
At times one of them was more interested than the other and I followed their lead. Do not feel forced to finish your list or only count things on the list. Use it as a starting point and follow your child's lead.
Remember that this walk started with their interest in counting and should be a fun way to build on that interest.
When they were both done counting, I gathered their notebooks and we just played outside for a while. Later, we sat down again inside and looked at what they had counted.
Start a conversation with, "Wow. I see you counted a lot outside. What did you find out?" and see where your conversation goes.
Markers and Pen
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