Math is Everywhere: Educator Quick Tips
How Many Steps? (Skill: Estimation)
Ask children to estimate how many steps they think it will take to go from the table to the cubby or from the door to the shelf. Count how many steps it actually takes.
Hokey-Pokey (Skill: Spatial Orientation)
In, out, up, down, all around—the familiar verses in this song put math words into action to help children learn about spatial relations
Snacks and Meal Times (Skill: Measurement)
Cooking is great hands-on fun. Use rich math phrases such as: let's count, let's estimate, more than, less than, half, full, empty, large, small.
Divide and Serve (Skill: Take Apart/Partitioning; Materials: Apples)
Count how many apples there are for a snack. Count the number of children at the table. If there are 6 apples and 12 children, what can you do?
Art Area (Skills: Counting, Spatial Relations, Patterns)
As children express themselves through art, they can write numbers, explore shapes and patterns, or count the number of objects they draw.
Reading Area (Skill: Counting)
In Elmo's Math Adventure, read the game instructions on pages 6–7 aloud to children and then play! Emphasize "counting on." For example, if you are on space 2 and draw a 3, count out loud as you move the Sesame Street friend, "3, 4, 5."
Playground/Outdoor Area (Skill: Spatial Relations)
Outdoor play can encourage children to explore math concepts in active ways. Play games such as Red Light, Green Light; "Grover Says"; and London Bridge. Talk about the ways children move—over, under, around, forward, backward, above.
Dramatic Play Area (Skill: Patterns; Materials: Radio, MP3 player, or CDs and CD player)
Any dance enthusiasts involved in dramatic play can make up their own pattern of steps. Stomp, stomp, clap, stomp, stomp, clap.... Ask children to extend the pattern by asking, "What comes next?"
Start to explore numbers and operations by saying: How many? How much? What is the total?
Get children thinking about shapes and spatial sense by using words like these: circles, round, sides, angles, up, down, in, out, right, and left.
Help children size things up by using words about measurement: same, different, big, biggest, heavy, lighter.
Critical thinking and communication are encouraged when you say: How much do you have? How did you figure that out?
On your way to school or home, compare the buildings that you pass. Which building is the tallest? Which is the shortest?
Notice number sequences in the addresses you pass. Ask your child to predict which number will come next.
Count down to bedtime. Practice counting backward, from 10 to 0 as you tuck your child into bed.
Discover numbers. Use your fingers to find out different ways to make eight. Start with five plus three fingers. What else works?