SKILLS: Children will develop their language and math skills as they look at and think about different tools in their environment.
- a variety of small tools and machines, such as a camera, pen, calculator, spatula, whisk, ruler, measuring cup, stapler, scissors, clock, hourglass, magnifying glass, hammer, wrench, trowel, pencils, sand shovel, cookie cutters, and rolling pins
- chart paper and a marker
1 Place a few familiar tools on a table and encourage children to share what they know about them. Together, make a list of where these tools can be found.
2 Place all the tools in the center of your meeting area. Ask children to sort them any way they'd like, and then talk about why certain ones seem to belong together.
3 Divide chart paper into columns. Title each column with a place where tools can be found: kitchen, classroom, office, garden, and so on. Ask children to help you list tools in the appropriate column and also talk about how some tools can be found in several different places.
4 Invite children to look at the tools again. Choose two, such as a ruler and measuring cup, and ask children to think about and describe how they are similar and how they are different. Ask them to choose other tools and discuss their similarities and differences. Record everyone's answers.
5 Continue your discussion by asking children to think of other tools that help people do their work. Keep your list posted so they can add to it over the next few days.
For younger children: Visit a construction site with children. From a safe distance, discuss the different tools you see being used by the workers. Encourage children to describe how they see the tools being used.
For older children: Play a game of "I'm thinking of something." Describe a tool and the work it does without naming it. see if children can identify the tool from your description. Later, invite children to take turns being the "tool describers."
Prepare a take-home activity for children to do with a family member. Make a simple form on which a family member can put the name of a job the child does at home or at school. Underneath the job name, list the tools she uses to get the job done. Ask adults to prepare the lists with their children. Then, invite children to share their lists at group time, when everyone can compare and discuss their findings.
Clocks and More Clocks by Pat Hutchins
Me and the Measure of Things by Joan Sweeney
Totally Tape by Editors of Klutz