A play-of-the-day came with the unplanned spring activity of picking dandelions but it had some powerful learning and simple fun. When my 4 year-old helper came with me to a friend’s house, we had some tea at the table and noticed a package of bubble-tea straws, the really big ones.Four colors of straws came home with us. On our way to the car we stopped to pick some dandelions while Lee clutched the straws in her hand.
Needing somewhere to put the dandelions she slid them into the straws. Three dandelions filled the first straw, then another 3 were added to another straw. Content with her own plan, she carefully chose just the right flowers and just as carefully made sure each straw had 3. Proudly she showed me all four.Using the opportunity, we counted each straw and yes there were 3 dandelions. Then we put them on the step and counted them. To make it easier, I put 2 straws on the left and 2 on the right. It was easy to see 3 + 3 making 6 flowers. That was enough, it was time to go.
This brief activity of making groups with straws and flowers may soon be forgotten, but these early kinds of experiences will create the foundation for learning the math concepts of addition, multiplication, and division farther down the road. This was definitely child-led play with a teachable moment.
There may be some of these moments at your house today. Can you and your child make some groups of things for fun and learning?