Jessica Bobo

Early Childhood Math – In Their Own World: Playgrounds and Parks

For children, play is a natural way to explore life and enjoy laughter. The playground or park is a perfect place for that! And most children will not realize they are doing early childhood math while they are playing.

Yes, math! Here are some fun, easy early childhood math activities designed to brighten the day (and teach concepts) through children’s mathematical play – in their own world.

Collecting Sticks – exploring measurement with length

In this exploratory activity, children walk around to collect a variety of sticks, and then order them according to length.

What you need: A park or playground with trees

What you do: Invite children to collect sticks they find on the ground and place them in a pile.

What you say: Use simple commands to help children describe the length of each stick. For example, ask Which stick is short?  Which stick is shorter? Then encourage children to place all collected sticks in order from the shortest to the longest.

Afterward, ask the children to use the sticks to create an art project on the ground. For example, they might choose to represent a person or animal. Invite the children to describe the length of each stick as they use it, they could say I will use the two longest sticks for the boy’s legs.


Scavenger Hunt – exploring positional language

In this interactive game, children will listen to your commands and show their understanding of positional language by going on a scavenger hunt.

What you need: 1 toy

What you do: Ask the children to hide their eyes.  Place the toy in an easy-to-find location.

What you say: Use easy-to-follow commands that include positional language. For example, say You will go through the tube. Find the toy next to the bench. After the children have found the toy, repeat the activity with a new scavenger hunt. You may also invite children to hide the toy for you and give you commands using positional language.

Select from the following positional language words to make the scavenger hunt more thrilling:

Above, across, behind, below, beside, down, far, front, in, in front of, inside, left, near, nearby, next to, not far, off, on, on top of, out, outside, over, right, though, to, up, under.


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About ORIGO Education

ORIGO Education is dedicated to making learning meaningful, enjoyable and accessible for all students with Pre-K and Elementary print and digital instructional materials, as well as professional learning for mathematics.

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