What to do with this activity?
There are many items around the house, especially the kitchen, that can be great fun to play with. For instance, a baking tray for muffins or buns is a great item for learning play. If you don't have one, use the indented cardboard, plastic or polystyrene trays that fruit sometimes comes in.
Find small items or toys to put into each hollow and show your baby how to lift them out and put them back again. Choose the items carefully - not too small, nothing sharp, no choking hazards. Recycled small plastic bottles or cartons, plastic biscuit cutters, plastic bricks or balls, all make good items to place in the muffin tin. Count out loud as you pop items into each space and your child will begin to get familiar with counting and numbers.
Maths is more than working with numbers. It also consists of shape and space, patterns, measuring – things you do and come across in everyday life. When children begin to learn formal maths at school, they are building on a foundation of early numeracy learning from home. Even though they may not even be aware of it, parents and children engage in numeracy activity as part of their everyday lives.
Always teach numbers in a natural way through everyday activities and play. Count steps on a stairs, food in your shopping trolley or cows in a field. Compare things when talking big or small, long or short, older or younger and faster or slower: “You carry the small box and I’ll take the big one.” Use the words – up and down, over and under, near or far, more or less when talking to your child. Talk about the shapes of everyday things. Ask your child what shapes they can see around the room they’re in.
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