Today we are featuring the wonderful blog, The Imagination Tree. The Imagination Tree has so many wonderful ideas on helping your child succeed in learning, with the emphasis on hands on learning.
We appreciate the perspective she discusses, allowing children to direct their own learning and interests through free investigations and manipulation in an enriching environment. With the importance of hands on learning, you want to encorporate as much multi-sensory, tactile opportunities as you can. Ideally the children should be able to learn through physically moving objects in creative play. This hands on learning approach needs to be have real life relations.
In her post, Anna states “Maths lends itself particularly to being discovered and understood with the hands. I remember struggling as a child with the abstract concepts that were thrown out to us in the classroom, about division, fractions and complicated sums. The numbers didn’t make any sense to me from a practical point of view- I needed to feel them and see them to understand the concepts. Children learn to count objects reliably not through rote counting, but by the physical picking up and moving of objects, consolidating 1:1 correspondence and understanding the concept of quantity as they do so. You could make a case that if, (for some reason) you could only have one set of toys or materials for learning in an educational setting, they should be maths based.”
I don’t believe Anna was alone in this. Most children will feel that way, that most math concepts are abstract. It wont be until they are given ample opportunity to engage in hands on learning that they will be able to really understand what they are being taught.
We suggest finding items in your home that can be a part of a hands on learning math investigations area in your home. You can choose the objects, but here are a few suggestions taken from The Imagination Tree. . .
basket with numbered pegs for counting and ordering
basket of conkers/ chestnuts (replace with any natural material e.g. pebbles, leaves, flowers)
bowl of assorted Seashells in various colours, patterns, shapes and sizes for sorting and counting
ball of no-cook play dough
tray of wooden numbers
wooden coloured pencils and notebook
plastic food tray with lavender sensory salt for writing numbers in, counting objects into etc
pipe cleaners for threading beads onto etc
paper cake cases
empty wooden bowl
coloured, wooden shapes in compartmented tray (Spielgaben toys in an old Melissa and Doug toy container)
Thanks again The Imagination Tree!
There are so many possibilities here, and the hands on learning math investigation area will entertain your children for a long time because of all the options they have in front of them! No screen time required.