Wednesday, August 1, 2012

{The Number Car Game : Sneaky Learning}

Well, yesterday I had one of those days with my 3 year old where I bet grey hairs were getting ready to sprout and I wanted to tear every one of them out!
So. Today. New Day.
There are a tonne of things I could have done this morning, but I made the choice to focus on him today. I made up a game that he absolutely loved! Better than that, it cost me nothing and took minutes to create!

Whilst we used cars, you could use whatever you like for this (stuffed toys, dolls, a button collection, little toy farm animals etc). I am focusing on 1-20 numbers here, but again, do what your child is comfortable with (1-5, 1-10).

Step one: Cut up some scrap paper and write the numerals large enough to see (these were 1/4 A4 size because I had 20 to do).

Step two: Repeat this step but make the second set smaller. These are to 'draw out of a hat/ bowl' so don't need to be large.

Step three: Line up the large cards in ascending order on the ground and place the smaller ones in a hat (/bowl).

Step 4: Take turns and start with yourself to model what to do. Draw a number from the bowl. Choose a car. Together find the matching BIG number and drive it to the right 'garage'.

Step five: let them have a turn now. Get them to pick a number. Ask them to identify it. Ask them to find the big version of it and then pick a car and drive it to the garage.

The conversation went a little like this:
Mum: "Your turn to pick a number"
Child: *takes number out*
M: "What number is that?"
C: "19!"
M: "Great! Can you find the big 19?"
C: *points to '19'* "There it is!"
M: "now can you choose a small car and drive it to the 19 Garage?" [you can ask for different categories of cars and opposites here...ask for small, large, blue, silver etc]
C: *pushes car and parks it there*
M: "Well done buddy, now Mummy's turn to pick a number".

There are many things being learned here without them even knowing:
*numeral recognition
*number order
*taking turns
*categories (colours & opposites).
-If your child struggles with this step, ask them to choose their favourite car (or whatever your using). Ask them why they like that one. They are likely to say something like 'because its yellow or it's big'. Then use that info to ask them for their next turn to choose something red or little this time.

Then I let him loose for open ended play with it whilst I made a cuppa. I loved listening to him play with them and he even used the cars and numbers in his play: "C'mon little car, let's visit the amblience (ambulance) at the 9 garage".
It's very easy to get carried away with fancy toys and sparkly learning gadgets. But nothing beats using everyday objects and Mum or Dad taking time to get on the floor and 'play a game' together.
If you try something like this, I'd love to see your interpretation of it. You can post pics on the 'homemade facebook wall' or email them instead. I love seeing how creative you all are!

Lauren x

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