Monday, June 14, 2010

Collection Kits

Kids everywhere love to collect things.  Even as adults we find collections that we have too.  It's easy to turn a collection of similar items into a wonderful exploration of math concepts.  The first strategy to make this activity a success is to have an engaging collection.  Children will always learn more and stay focused longer if their attention is held.  The collection my be temporary, the new bag of colored candy.  The collection may be a favorite item, my daughter has a small horse collection.  I know I have an accidental collection of buttons that I'll never use.  In my classroom I have a collection of keys that the hardware store gave me for free.

So now that you are thinking of all the little collections around your house, here are some ideas of how to put them to use...

1.   Explore - It's very important that children are given time to explore something new on their own.  Observe how your child explores the items.  Does he/she count them, line them up, sort them, or study them closely.  This will give you an indication of how to support his/her learning.

2.  Counting - Simple yet important.  Demonstrate one-to-one by pointing and counting out loud.  This can be challenging for some young children.

3.  Sort - Talk about the different attributes of the item (size, color, shape).

4.  Simple Graph - Make a graph using the sorting stacks.

5.  Patterns - At an early age children can grasp the concept of simple patterns such as ABABAB (red, blue, red, blue or big, little, big, little,).

6.  More Free Play/Exploration - You'll be surprised what your child will come up with next!

IMPORTANT - Be aware of choking hazards with young children!