Early Childhood

# Using your home as a playground for math!

As I sit back and watch my own two children, ages 6 and 8, I am still amazed at how they can entertain themselves for hours with joyful play. In the picture below, you will see Wyatt pretending to be the lion of the jungle (imagine his roars!), and Scarlett off in the “bushes” watching him. When I asked her what she was doing she gleefully said “wondering how I can escape his fearful presence!” On this day, my dining room became an African savannah while I cooked breakfast!

At home play is everywhere; it is when you are folding laundry, and it is when you are cooking or eating dinner. And just like this morning in my dining room, play is in a child’s imagination. And, yes, to quote Mary Poppins, with just a spoon full of sugar (and a little bit of play), even cleaning up can be fun!

The challenge these days is to ensure play does not become a habit involving video games to pass the time. Sometimes you need to help children on their journey of play as this helps their critical thinking, problem solving abilities, and communication skills.

## Pretend Play

Children are fascinated by cooking. Being able to see how things can be chopped up into tiny pieces or baked into the most delicious concoction is a natural stimulant for children’s wonder. Allow your child the opportunity to create their own pretend cooking show!

What you need: Various cooking pots, pans, bowls, utensils, etc.

What the child does: Pretends to create their favorite dish

What the child says: Encourage your child to use sequencing words as they talk about their dish

## Sensory Play

I have a personal theory that if a child is not dirty at least once a day, they are missing out on the brilliance of childhood. One way to encourage mathematics at home is through sensory play!

What you need:  Shaving Cream and a Cookie Sheet

What the child does: Obviously, gets to play in it! Encourage them to draw 2D shapes, numerals, quantities, and anything else fascinating to them!

To learn more about how you can utilize play with mathematics, check out Math in the Car! Early Childhood Math – In Their Own World