This post is from Anusha Rao, blog writer and social media extraordinaire.
Meet Fluffy Chocolate. My 1 year old’s current BFF, fellow explorer and partner-in-crime.
I enlisted Fluffy Chocolate’s help for our next summertime math activity. First, we familiarized ourselves with some math vocabulary as directed by one of the Zeno MathWays for Early Learning activities. This activity focuses on words that describe spatial relationships between two objects, e.g. Above, Below, Between, Next to, and Inside. Understanding spatial relationships is a critical skill for early learners to develop. Not only does this skill pave the way for future geometry concepts but it’s also foundational to careers in emerging technologies such as imaging, data visualization and computer graphics.
The activity is in the beta phase and is geared to ages 3+ with multiple variations for learners. To play, the parent and child gather the child’s favorite stuffed toy and a stack of index cards with the vocabulary words written out on them. The child picks a card and the parent guides the child and toy around according to the location written on the card.
I modified the activity to suit my toddler at home. Instead of vocabulary cards, I simply used words and gestures. Also, since he moves around a lot anyway, instead of moving ourselves, I moved his toy around which was more likely to draw his attention. For instance, I held Fluffy Chocolate above my head as I enunciated ‘above’. He babbled back ‘abba’. Then I held it above his head and repeated ‘Above. Fluffy is sitting above your head.’ He looked up, amused at the unusual seat Fluffy had chosen! We went back and forth this way with the other words, and with me following his cues. One funny moment found him diving inside an empty laundry hamper to retrieve beloved Fluffy. Yes, inside was the word…and it was also the space he was exploring!
I loved this burst of activity which required absolutely no specialized material or preparation, but left us in giggles, and richer by a few math words!