Mathematics

young child enjoying pretend play with mud

Encouraging mud play

Children plunge into messy play with great enthusiasm and no hesitation about getting dirty.The adults in their lives, however, may need a little more encouragement to understand the value of playing in and with mud.

Launching a mud area in your play space requires careful planning and communication with staff and families.This article offers advice on how to get over those hurdles.Then, let the fun begin! Read this.

little girls playing with blocks

Learning through block play

Everyone knows that playing with blocks is essential to learning (and loads of fun, even for grown-ups). But what exactly do children learn as they line the blocks up, stack them, plan and build and bash them over? Harriet K. Cuffaro has some great insights into the value of block play. Read them.
boys playing with unit blocks

Block play and maths

"When children play with blocks, they are practising mathematical skills, " write Pamela C. Phelps, Ph.D. and Laura L. Stannard, Ph.D.

 

"Because it involves measuring lengths, widths, and heights (if only by eye), block play develops a child’s ability to mentally visualise relationships. Such manipulations are similar to those used in geometry and algebra during the child’s later school years" Read more.

block play

Bring back the blocks!

For many young children, hands-on, sensory experiences with three-dimensional objects have been replaced by two-dimensional screens and worksheets. This is detrimental to their learning.

 

With all the evidence linking good spatial skills with future achievement in all STEM areas, we must find a way to bring back the blocks. “I am more convinced than ever that blocks are one of the most essential materials for the early childhood classroom,” writes Rosanne Regan Hansel. Read more.

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making paper chains

Deck the halls!

With Christmas approaching, the four-year-olds in my local nursery are full of anticipation as they practice their Christmas play and learn new songs for this special season. Last week they were busy making some festive paper chains to decorate their classroom in between a good deal of very wet play outdoors!

Paper chain making is relatively simple, yet requires incredible concentration and gives those finger muscles a fine-motor workout. As the children glue and stick together the colourful strips of paper, sing-song counting can be heard around the table: “one, two, three, four, five, six, seven…one hundred!" And then they collaborate on the tricky task of attaching their chains together to form really long ones…

Interested in making paper chains with young children in your setting? Instructions here.

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