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• Jessica Kaminski

# Math: The Power of Play

It's been awhile that I've posted, because life has gotten so busy! Good, but busy! I spent a week working in an awesome school district supporting teachers in both reading and math and am now working on some textbook projects. Not to mention the craziness of holidays and family time!

I've been thinking about what my next post would be and have some literacy ideas. But, a new idea just popped in my head while the kids were playing today!

For those of you who don't know, I'm a mom of three. I have a 5-year old, a 4-year old and a 2-year old...yes life is crazy! I've always been a huge believer in learning through play and real-life experiences, but more so since becoming a mom. It's freezing outside and the sensory bin made an appearance today.

This sensory bin has rice, beans and some old clam shells that used to be in our yard. I threw in some play spiders during Halloween. The kids also decided to grab a ton of kitchen utensils to throw in the mix.

What surprised me was the way they were playing. I ended up asking them to tell me what they were talking about and got some of it on video:

They began counting shells they found and then comparing them. They were asking questions like, "Who has more?" "Who has fewer?"

After I turned the camera off, they decided that Sam, who had 10 shells, should give one to Jack, who had 8. Then they figured out that they both had 9. Sam said, "If I take it back, I have more. But if I give him one, we have the same!"

I am finding that the more opportunities we give our students to play with various objects, the more they rise to the occasion. I was not even involved in the moment, but they found a way to begin using math. The observations from today can now be used in a lesson.

What if instead of organized lessons all the time, we allowed our students to play and explore? What if we provided them with sensory opportunities that fueled their brains and senses?

Counting collections are another great resource. Check out some of these resources for some ideas:

https://www.nctm.org/Publications/teaching-children-mathematics/2007/Vol13/Issue7/Counting-Collections/

https://thekindergartenconnection.com/counting-collections-and-freebie/

Here's some examples of some counting collections one of the teachers I am fortunate to work with shared with me! I had to crop her students out, but they were so excited sharing these!

As I mentioned, this post just kind of happened and reminded me how vital it is to encourage play and math! I hope you find this helpful to you and may even consider some fun ways to PLAY!