Category Archives: Fun with Maths
September is here, and so is Autumn. In India, autumn is usually not taught as a season to students. But it should be, because just like the rest of the world, India experiences its version of autumn. Golden or brown leaves are usually a sign of autumn or fall. While we don’t often get to see autumn leaves in India, we do experience other changes, like the days become shorter and nights become longer. The days are sunny, but the sun’s rays are not as hot as they are in the summer.
Weather in Autumn Activity:
I took a globe and positioned a flashlight on one half of the Earth. I asked Big A to place her hands on different parts of the globe, to tell me which felt hot and which part felt warm. Then, I took a ball and held it straight (not titled like the globe), and I placed the flashlight on one half of the ball. I asked her to tell me if there was a difference in the heat across the different parts of the ball. Except for the top and bottom, where the flashlight rays don’t hit directly, the rest of the ball will be of the same temperature.
We concluded that because the earth is tilted, areas that get direct heat feel hot and those that do not get direct heat feel warm, and this is why we have seasons. In September, India does not receive direct sunlight, hence the days are warm, and are shorter than nighttime.
Here’s a list of other activities I’ve planned for this month:
- Talk about the weather in September and decide what type of clothes to wear for the weather. Work with your child to place clothes for September at the front of the cupboard shelf. By doing this, children realize how clothes are designed for seasons. And when they grow big, they are likely to be fashion conscious and will dress up for the season.
- If you have fashion magazines at home, show pictures of the Autumn/Fall collection and discuss the trends in fashion with your kids.
- Autumn begins with Janmashtmi celebrations. Tell your kids a story about Krishna and then show them how to make butter.
- September is also a month of harvest festivals – Onam in Kerala and Nuakhai in Orissa. Discuss the meaning of harvest, and why farmers celebrate the harvest festival.
- Ganesh Chaturthi is another big festival that comes in September this year. Newspapers are going to be filled with photographs of the Elephant God. Have your child skim through the papers each day and cut pictures of Ganesha and create a collage.
- Take a nature walk, collect some leaves and make leaf skeletons.
- Collect fallen leaves and flowers, trace their designs on paper, cut the paper drawings and thread them together to make a toran. You could also make a toran with real leaf and flowers, but it will stay fresh only for a few days.
- Download and print fall theme worksheet set 1 and worksheet set 2 and have kids fill them up.
If you have fun ideas to do with kids in September, please do share them.
If you have kids at home, especially boys, then there must be little toy cars in your house, either arranged neatly or most likely scattered around. Little A loves his cars and enjoys speeding them around the house. And they pretty much end up in different corners or under the furniture in the house and never back in the toy box.
So, I decided to create a parking lot for him.
I had these plastic trays from the super market, which I thought would make perfect parking lots. So, I covered their base with chart paper and divided the space into small slots. I numbered each slot and put corresponding number stickers on the cars.
I was very thrilled with the result. Now, he not only puts cars back but also recognizes numbers and can match them 🙂
Today’s activity draws inspiration from the Georgetown Elementary Art Blog about Murals. If you visit their site, you’ll see the amazing mural that students made. I loved the vibrant colors and loved that the entire piece was put together through teamwork!
I decided to do the same activity at home with A & A. I gave each a white sheet of paper and asked them to use a black crayon and draw different shapes all over the paper. When they were done drawing shapes, I showed them how to connect shapes together with lines. After our paper was filled with black outlines, I brought out four colors – red, blue, yellow and white.
Both of them began filling colors inside their shapes with their paintbrushes. After using each color a few times, they wanted new colors. I told them we only had four color bottles with us, but we could maybe try mixing two colors to see if we could create a new color. And so, the fun began, they learnt that:
- red+white = pink
- red+yellow = orange
- blue + yellow = green
- blue + red = purple
We added white to the colors to make different hues, so we managed to get light and dark green, light and dark purple and light and dark orange.
After the coloring was over, we let the paper dry. Later at night, I used black paint to redo the outlines around the shapes, since the little ones had colored over them. The next morning, we opened up two photo frames, and replaced the art in it with our own artwork. The kids were thrilled at seeing their artwork on the wall.
Do you display your kid’s artwork in your home? Do share your pictures with us.
What can you make with ice trays and chick peas? An interesting activity for your preschooler.
I love using math manipulatives to teach Math. It’s not always feasible to buy these items from stores, so I am constantly looking for objects at home that can become interesting math manipulatives. And that’s how I came with the ice trays and chick peas to teach counting.
First, I began with two ice trays. I filled ten slots in the first one and asked big A to count the number of chickpeas, then I filled one slot in the next ice tray and asked her to count it. Then, I asked her to count the chick peas in both trays together. She counted 10 and then continued counting the next one as 11. I asked her to fill the numbers in her sheet. I repeated the exercise again, the first ice tray continued to contain 10 chick peas, and each time I added 1 more chick pea into the next tray. For the next 3 turns, she counted 10 and then the additional ones in the second tray, then I decided she was ready for the next step.
When I filled the second tray with 6 chick peas, I told her that the first tray already had 10, so she only needs to continue counting the chick peas in the second tray. I showed her how by saying “This has 10, and then comes 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.”. She picked up the counting pattern quickly, and each time I added a chick pea to the tray, her counting began from 11 onward.
After the second tray was filled with 10, I pulled out a third tray. Now we began counting by 20’s. Two trays had 20 chick peas, and each time I added a chick pea to the third tray, her counting began from 21 onward. Who knew counting could be so much fun!
Little A wasn’t happy about being left out, so I gave him a little tweezer and asked him to pic chick peas from the bowl using the tweezer and put them into slots in the ice tray. He loved the little activity, and it helped him build gross motor skills.
When I say the words “practice addition” what comes to your mind? Are you thinking worksheets with sums and problems? That’s the picture that I see in my mind; and it’s not a very interesting and fun picture. It’s not surprising then, that most children are not too happy when asked to practice math.
My daughter is still in preschool, and hasn’t been taught addition. It’s normally introduced in Grade 1. But, I don’t strictly follow the school system, I believe that the mind of a child is like a sponge; if a concept is presented in a fun an interesting level, then it can be easily absorbed.
Here’s an example of how I taught her addition. I planned it out as an activity and did not tell her that she would be learning math or learning to add.
We began with building blocks, a clipboard and a sheet of paper (with boxes drawn) . I asked her to pull out two building blocks from the box. Next, I asked her to count the hubs (the little dots) on each block and write the number in the boxes. Then, I asked her to count the hubs on both blocks together and write that number in the last box.
She enjoyed the activity and filled 2 sheets with numbers; she did not realize that she was learning; for her it was “just fun”.