It is always nice to try and link learning to your child’s interests and J is loving robots right now. Well he has for a while thanks to stories such as ‘Robot No bot’ and the film ‘Robots.’ So today, I decided to link some mathematical play to robots. To be honest, this could be adapted to suit any interest really as a lot of toys have batteries so the ‘battery pack problem’ could be applied to lots of things.
Firstly, I wrapped an empty cardboard tube in red paper and gave it to J along with some robot stickers.
This kept J busy whilst I made dinner. Removing the stickers from the paper and putting them delicately in place on his telescope was a lovely fine motor workout and lots of fun for J. Children love a good sticker and it’s such a simple activity to set up for them. I had told J that this was going to be an important telescope for a mission after dinner and therefore he really needed to take good care of what he was doing.
Once J’s Robot telescope was ready for use, the mission could be explained to J. The telescope could be easily adapted to any theme, just change the stickers. I made a battery pack consisting of a loaf tin, our home-made play dough and some lolly sticks. I lined one side of the loaf tin with the play dough and then used the play dough to wedge the ‘batteries’ into the pack! The batteries were 16 lolly sticks numbered from 0-15. They had to be in order for the battery pack to work and they all had to be present.
J checked they were all there by counting along the ‘batteries’ pointing to each number as he did so. Good rehearsal for number recognition.
I then sent J away to close his eyes and took away some of the batteries. I hid them around the room and gasped for help…
Oh dear! The robot wouldn’t work without his battery pack! The batteries had been taken and J had to find them urgently!! J was VERY excited!!
J couldn’t just find the lolly sticks randomly though, he had to find them in the correct order! So, he counted along the battery pack in order to identify which number was missing and what number he needed to find first. This meant that J had the opportunity to think about number order and sequence. Ensuring the numbers were in the correct order was essential to solving the problem.
J used his telescope to help him to find the batteries. He simply would not have been able to do the job without it! Let’s face it, anything that adds to the fun and imaginative nature of the play can only be a good thing!
As J found the batteries, he was so excited! He skipped back to the battery pack and slid them into their rightful place… again this reinforced the number order.
This was a simple game to rehearse number recognition and order and can easily be adapted to suit the stage your child is at. J played this OVER and OVER and also took on the role of ‘hiding’ the batteries too. It really was a lot of fun and so rewarding as a parent to see the immediate impact learning through play has! J made me promise we would play this after nursery tomorrow! That speaks volumes to me!!