An Invitation for Math Fun & Learning
I recently set up a simple numeracy play area for my son. It is simply a small table, filled with various materials for him to investigate. I had no specific end activity in mind when I set up this space for math fun. It is just meant to be a calm and inviting space for him to explore and to encourage his curiosity for numeracy.
Using Open-Ended Materials in a “Math Fun Space”
I change the items on the table from time to time which saves space and keeps the table clear and uncluttered. Most importantly though, frequently rotating the materials keeps my son interested and learning through play. Recently he has become particularly interested in measurement so our latest version of this play area includes a scale and a ruler.
Here’s a list of items on our current table:
- Wooden numbers
- Wooden blocks
- Glass pebbles
- Small wooden sticks
Rotating the materials really keeps the math fun and interesting and my son is so excited when he sees that there are new materials available. Keeping the area open-ended is a great way to encourage hands on learning. My son enjoyed arranging the dice so that their numbers were displayed in numerical order, and then placing the corresponding number of wooden sticks underneath each dice.
He used the wooden blocks to “write” simple equations, arranging the blocks into addition and equal symbols.
Comparisons were made between the length of different blocks using the ruler, and various objects were weighed in the scales.
The favorite item has been the colorful green calculator. He has been entering simple addition sums and then he will arrange the glass beads on the table to represent the equation that he has entered into the calculator. What a great way to make learning math fun!
There are so many engaging materials that you could offer in an area like this to keep math fun. Here are a few other ideas:
- number fridge magnets
- number shaped cookie cutters
- writing materials to encourage kids to write down their investigations
- objects for counting, sorting or threading such as buttons, beads, stones, small sticks or pom poms
- a tray of sand or salt for writing numbers with either their fingers or a paint brush
- egg cartons or muffin tins for sorting and categorizing
- tape measure
- tessellation blocks for pattern making, shape recognition and size sorting activities
Try These Products for Math Fun!
What materials would you add to a Math Fun Space? How do you make math fun for your kids?