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Category Archives: Maths

Posts about our learning and DIY materials for early maths

Workout for little fingers

This year we went to the PYO farm to get a pumpkin, but I was unorganised and we were too late – the ones on the fields were all rotten, but we were already there and kids wanted to PICK SOMETHING!

So, we found a lot of crops that were not being picked and were going to waste and we took a few things home. Our loot included few sunflower heads, some corn ears and some broad beans that were lying about in the field. Girls were particularly excited about these ones once they have discovered that under the dried out brown pods were very brightly coloured pinkish -purple beans.

We brought our treasure home and without delay they started peeling and shelling things. That was a good workout for their fingers!

We are going to throw in some conkers and some acorns and later on I’ll make them an autumn sensory bin. We haven’t had one for a while and girls love them! Hopefully the beans and corn wouldn’t start rotting. It’s quite peculiar thing happening in this neck of the woods – seeds tend to stat growing at the harvest time instead of saving their energy till next year.  I don’t quite understand it. Some of the corn that we picked started sprouting right on the cob, beans were sprouting inside their pods and acorns in our garden are rooting themselves to the ground! I need to look it up, I am pretty sure that’s not how plant’s self-preservation supposed to work…

After a while of shelling beans I matter-of-factly put some cocktail sticks out and engineering began! I started them off with building a square-based pyramid, hoping to go through some of the other 3D shapes, but they had their own plans, and I didn’t mind. (beans were very soft, freshly picked – this wouldn’t work with dried ones)

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Writing with magnets

I have been decluttering recently and came across a big tub of mixed magnetic construction sets that are not being played much with nowadays. I watched them playing with it and realised why. While it seemed like a good idea to me to combine all magnetic sets into one box (MagMax, Geomag, Magnetix and other assorted bits of unknown origin) because the parts looked very much the same, it didn’t work because there were subtle differences (just a few mm) in ball, rod and inserts sizes which meant that the figures that girls were trying to build kept falling apart if a part of a different set was used. It was very frustrating for them, so they quit it altogether.

I will be getting read of the lesser quality ones and will keep the better ones of one brand only and will build up the collection overtime instead by combining sets from the same brand.

But, before I have passed unwanted ones to the charity shop – we have done this fun activity:

Not all the letters could be built, letters with angles are the most difficult ones as magnets don’t stay at an angle, they tend to snap back

 

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2017 in literacy and writing, Maths

 

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Pop the letter!

We really like Styrofoam! We save white and black underlays from pizza and trays from fruits, and this is what we do with them:

First, we write on them with chalks (if black) or markers (if white), then we take a cocktail stick or something pointy and we start popping small holes along the lines, or drawing over the lines with the sticks.

It works great for fine motor skill development! They like the popping sounds, and after they are done with drawing – they usually entertain themselves with breaking the trays. Each time it breaks with a loud pop they squeal and giggle and keep going until only small bits are left.

At some point we used those bits as well to make wind chimes / outside tree decorations/ bird scares on a veggie patch together with the cut-up bits of drinking straws that we made when doing straw cutting exercise . They make a soft bell-like sound or maybe a whisper if you listen carefully.

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We tried cutting them with scissors for cutting practice – it works too!

Really want to try doing some Styrofoam etching with them next. Need a half decent roller for that and pigment ink. Anyone got some knocking about they don’t need?

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2017 in Crafts, literacy and writing, Maths

 

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Favourite activities. Bath mats and fine motor skills.

For quite a few of our favourite fine-motor skills activities we have been using ordinary bath mats. We started with small ones of different colours and used them for coloured bead sorting. The younger person started doing it with fingers, then progressed to measuring spoon/melon ball spoon, the older one first was using sugar tongs, then progressed to tweezers. Tweesers are not so easy with wooden Pony Beads, and we broke few plastic tweezers, then I started giving my older daughter smaller, plastic beads and this seems to work.

We also used coloured water and pipette to fill the suckers.

After a while I thought a challenge was in order, so I pulled out a big transparent bath mat and filled up some pots with food colouring, laid some pipets out (mine are re-purposed from some baby medicine) and quietly left it in the middle of the patio…

Smaller person wanted to have a go immediately, she was just experimenting with how much droplets can one sucker cup hold, then she tried mixing few different colours of droplets in one cup and so on.

Her sister came in from school and wanted to have a go too. She first was working on making colour patters, then decided to make a picture.

All in all – good concentration and maths (patterns) practice! And creativity of course!

beads and bath mats

Arranging pony beads on bath mats

 

Maths milk tops and “stained glass” geometry

Little person has been practising her quantity and number pairing with our milk-top dots

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and doing our favourite shape-sticking today when the sun showed up for a little bit. I have cut up some more file folders as the old one’s colours have faded from the sun. I like the stained glass effect. The brighter the colours the better.

We used these wallets. You don’t have to use geometric shapes, just any shapes you like that will inspire your child to make a picture. You will also need a small spray bottle for spraying on the window to stick the shapes on (can use a travel spray bottles from a pound shop) and a cloth for spillages or when water runs down the window.

I have been busy making some teen and tens Montessori boards (made from cardboard).  And I finally finished Sandpaper cursive letters, only mine are made from corrugated holographic card (anything shiny goes, and neither of us likes the feel of sandpaper)

 

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Maths

 

Toothpicks and packing peanuts

We spent a few minutes constructing from packing peanuts and toothpicks (supervise your child – they are quite sharp). I was hoping to give a little lesson in maths – you know, count vertices, edges and faces – have a go with building different polyhedrons, or try to get Mya to work out how many toothpicks/peanuts she needs to build something and to compare with our set of Geometric solids. I brushed up on my geometry knowledge here – Math is Fun

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Packing peanuts and toothpicks

Packing peanuts – excellent building material

I was the only one who was thinking that way. Neva enjoyed breaking the packing peanuts apart and poking them with toothpicks (they make a great popping sound when poked or snapped), then asked me to build her a cow. Mya was building her own something which she refused to identify and wanted to pull apart the shapes that I’ve build for them.

Ah, well – all fun and games. Some other time maybe…

We’ve also made some rockets – expanding our knowledge on Space after visiting Science Museum in London yesterday. We visited exhibition Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age Mya was really captivated by a talk delivered by (alas) an actress, playing role of Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova – the first woman in space. So today when building her rocket Mya asked to give her few pieces of rope “to tether Belle, Rapunzel and Hello Kitty” characters because they needed to go on a Space Walk, and she didn’t want them to float away into space.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2016 in Crafts, Maths, Uncategorized

 
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Christmas Maths Beads

Mya needs some practice hands-on counting – especially above ten and skip count and unfortunately she’s gone off the practice sheets and wipe-erase books she used to love, so I decided to appeal to her love to all things small and beautiful and I have bought some red, white and green beads from the bargain basket in CJ Beaders in Highcliffe. I have found this blog – A Moment in Our World and decided that’s exactly what I needed. I have adjusted patterns a little and made more strands.

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From the top to the bottom:

  1. Green 10 beads strand
  2. 10 beads strand – skip counting by two’s
  3. 10 beads strand – skip counting by five’s
  4. White 20 beads strand
  5. 20 beads strand with green/red/green pattern for easier counting
  6. 20 beads strand – skip counting by two’s
  7. 40 beads strand – every bead is different (I used all the leftover beads 🙂
  8. 40 beads strand – skip counting by five’s
  9. 50 beads strand – skip counting by ten’s.

All in all – Mya was very excited to receive these and second day on she’s still interested, so I think it’s been a success.

Maths with Christmas beads

Maths with Christmas beads

Skip counting with beads

Skip counting with beads

 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in Maths

 

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