Monday, July 4, 2011

More activities to develop the math brain

Today’s column offers additional activities for baby to develop his or her ability to judge volume. As we’ve said in previous columns, early brain connections in estimating volume develops our baby’s math mind. Let’s come up with a multitude of experiences in volume:
Get in the box. Collect boxes of all sizes, some should be big enough for a baby to crawl into, some half that size, and some big enough for you to join baby. Find some boxes so small that they hold only a little teddy bear. You can expand on the concept of volume by adding descriptive words such as big, small, too big, tiny, huge, itty-bitty, and monster size.
Puzzle it. Puzzle work helps children with shape, rotation, visual parts and wholes, and with volume and size. At the “put in” stage you need to find puzzles that require very little rotation and fitting such as circles. Look for puzzles with one to four pieces to minimize frustration and to give baby the sense of accomplishment. Many of these beginning puzzles have knobbed handles, making it easier for baby to grasp. When choosing knobbed puzzles, look for large, easy to grasp knobs and be sure the knobs will not come off and become a choking hazard. Some of the best toys in the puzzle category are the six piece ‘shape sorters’ and the ‘pound a ball’. If you happen to visit a Montessori classroom, you will see the ‘cylinder block’ toys. They are designed for the three to five year old exploring volume, size, depth, and diameter.
Get dirty and wet. Wading pools and sand boxes stocked with safe filling and pouring containers are perfect for exploring volume and the attributes of these different materials in the hot summer months. Sand and water play is sensory in nature, relaxing and enjoyable for toddlers and preschoolers. For safety, always monitor your child. Better yet, get in the wading pool or sandbox with him or her! Keep the water and container for the water clean and the sand protected against cats seeking bathroom facilities.
Here is a giant
who is tall, tall, tall.
(stand up on tip-toes)
And here is an elf
who is small, small, small.
(squat down low)
The elf who is small
will try, try, try
(Begin to stand up)
To reach the giant
who is high, high, high
(stretch up high with arms reaching)

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