Sunday, February 12, 2017

Learning with Collections!

There are so many things your children can do with a collection of objects! It could be coins, shells, rocks, buttons! I can remember, as a child, being fascinated with a jar of multi-colored buttons that sat on a shelf at my grandmother's house. We would pick some, or pour some out, and  play with them, making up all sorts of games.

There are many simple things your children may choose to do ... many of them math and science related! Let them play with collections, and make decisions about what to do with them. Their ideas might surprise you! They may first choose to just examine up close and begin to notice differences between groups - colors, sizes, shapes ...  noticing is the first step to classifying and sorting!

Counting collections is another great next step, while they are doing some examining :) You can add in some math vocabulary such as more, greater, less, fewer and they will have concrete examples right in front of them.

Then, patterns! Your kiddos may choose to make a pattern, or, if not ready for that, to continue one laid out for them - red, white, red, white ... what comes next? Ours asked for pipe cleaners to thread buttons on - in patterns! Simple patterns can evolve into more complex - instead of red,white red, white (ABABAB), they may try ABBABB or ABCABC patterns, using more colors or sizes.

Sorting mats have proven to be LOTS of fun for my kiddos - and a great focusing tool. Simply take large paper, draw a grid and laminate them to hold up through multiple uses.

My kiddos have pulled them out to examine all sorts of things ... shells, coins, rocks ....

They even took the plastic animals and sorted them by habitat - ocean, farm, polar, etc. Have them choose an attribute to sort by - color, size, shape, shiny, flat, bumpy, etc. -  and then figure out what goes where. They may have to make subgroups and it could generate great discussion :)

Attention to detail is something my friends are really getting involved in - they want to examine with a magnifying glass and do some sketching to really try to be scientists :) We talk all the time about how scientists observe, sketch and write about what they see ... collections are a great way to put this into play!

Have fun!

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