Math on the Playground: Part #1

Parents don’t have to be math whizzes and kids don ‘t require a math gene. Math needs to be fun, and can be done anywhere: how about math on the playground?

math on the playgroundWith the weather outside really lovely this week, we walked to a neighborhood playground. On the way we happened to see someone outside pulling weeds. Right next door, another person was doing the same thing. After going down the street some more, we saw a third person. This seemed quite unusual, so we talked about it and did the math: 2 people and then 1 more, that was 3.

Big Sister liked the counting and suggested counting the cars parked on the street. During the day, there weren’t that many but we counted the few that were there. When we got to the playground, there was more math.

math on the playgroundThis playground is just a small tot-lot, so there are no swings. Zero. There are two slides tho, right side by side. There is a sort of airplane teeter-totter with 4 wings. It was really easy to talk about 2 kids and 2 empty spaces being 4. Only 1 kid and 3 empty spaces was still 4, but it wasn’t much fun. No kids and 4 empty spaces was no fun at all.

math on the playgroundA bird flew from some bushes nearby so we watched the bird and then rested in the shade. We scanned the trees for a nest but didn’t see one. Our math fun was short, but very meaningful. Other playgrounds will have different math possibilities. Kids might want to count the steps, or slide 3 times. They may beg for one hundred pushes on the swing. We can maybe get that down to ten.

No matter how much or how little math on the playground we do, we weave it into an ordinary activity. Math flows naturally in and out of the day and kids become comfortable with it. It’s no big deal. Math anxiety can be very real for some people. As parents and caregivers, no matter our own feelings about math, we can make math a part of the background for kids. This helps develop math confidence. What kind of math on the playground can you and your child do?

Check the blog tomorrow for more math fun:

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