- wooden unit blocks (or recycled blocks) of various sizes and shapes
- small plastic bins or containers (for sorting blocks)
- cassette player and recorded music
- chart paper
Objective: Children will use blocks to play a variety of math games that will develop their ability to classify, seriate, and count.
Choose four or five different unit blocks (square unit, double unit, small triangle, large triangle, small cylinder, for instance). Place several of each block in a pile in the middle of your group-time or block area and invite a small group of children to play. Keep one of each type of block aside. Invite each child to choose a block. Then place the unit blocks that had been set aside in a line in the center of the circle. Ask children to place their block beside the matching block in the middle of the circle. After all of the blocks have been sorted, talk to the children about the different blocks. What do they notice about the blocks? Can they think of other ways that the blocks can be matched?
Select three sizes of unit blocks to work with and collect several of each size block. Invite a small group of children to a floor area to play. Ask them to find the biggest blocks and place them in a separate pile on the floor. Encourage children to notice the two remaining sizes. Assist children in sorting the remaining blocks into two separate groups. Now invite children to choose one block from each pile. Show them how to line up their blocks from largest to smallest.
Counting and Measuring:
Prepare a sheet of chart paper to record children's counting and measuring investigations. Invite children to use wooden unit blocks or large cardboard blocks to measure an area of the classroom. Invite each child to choose one block and to line the blocks end to end. When all of the blocks have been lined up and the measurement is complete, assist children in counting the total amount of blocks used. Record the information on chart paper.
Curriculum Connection: Math, Music, and Movement. For this game, you will need a cassette recorder and favorite music cassette. Choose three small types of unit blocks and provide children with one of each. Draw matching shapes on large sheets of paper, cut out the shapes, and tape them onto the floor. Encourage children to hold their shape and dance to recorded music. When the music stops, they will stand near the matching paper shape. Invite children to switch their shapes with another child and play the game again.
A Pair of Socks by Stuart J. Murphy
Brown Rabbit's Shape Book by Alan Baker
Shapes ("Let's Look at" series) by Nicola Tuxworth