Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chestnuts, Shells and Stones

Some of you may be thinking, "What kind of crazy title post is she using now?" because, you know, sometimes I try to be creative . . . However, this title is straight out of my four inch thick Math I album that I had to make myself from my Montessori training. (Yes, you read that right, four inch thick Math I album . . . it was a long two years)

Anyhow, this is a fun game that can be played with just one child or a whole slew of them. Bless you if you have a slew of kids that live at your house that would all enjoy this game. whew.

Once you play this game once or twice and they get the hang of it, you can play it while fixing dinner, ironing the three foot tall pile of laundry that you keep meaning to get to, or while you catch up on your DVR'd Oprah shows and eat leftover Easter candy that you snuck out of your kid's Easter basket. I won't tell if you don't.

Here's what you need: three bowls, one filled with chestnuts, one with shells, and one with stones. (of course, use whatever you have - I just so happen to have these "natural" objects from my teaching days) You will also need a basket or tray for transporting, a rug, and number cards (if your child can recognize numbers.)
Here's why you should do it: First of all, this helps them count objects and have one to one correspondence. If your child is ready, it will help reinforce numeral/quantity correspondence and help learn how to follow oral directions (AMEN!) and exercise their memory skills.
Set the bowls of chestnuts, shells and stones at a location away from your rug. There is lots of movement back and forth, which is so fabulous for the young child. Lawton NEVER stops moving, jumping, thrashing, wiggling, or running, unless of course the television is on. Hallelujah for television sometimes! :)
Give the basket to your child and say, "Bring me two shells"
They will go to the basket and get two shells and bring it back to the rug. If they got two, count out the two in the basket, and then have them count them out onto the rug. If they brought back fourteen, (which will likely happen to some of you), count them out, say something like, "Hmmm. I need two shells. Is this two?" and more than likely they will realize that they goofed and will go back and try again. Never say, "That's wrong!", but gently guide them to keep trying until the amount is achieved.
Keep giving oral directions as long as they are interested. You can go as high as your child is capable, or just stick with one, two and three objects for the very young child. (not going in numerical order - just random numbers . . .)
(Carolina had to "taste" all the objects!) :)
Want to step it up a notch? Put a number card on the tray/basket and say "Go get this many stones." and proceed as above. (They have to be able to recognize a numeral)
Want to step it up even another notch? Put the number card on the rug and say, "Go get this many chestnuts." (They have to look at the number, recognize it, and remember it as they go across the house or across the room to "fetch".)
Want to step it up ANOTHER notch? Say,"Can you bring me six stones and three shells?" (They have to remember two sets)
Set the objects on the rug.
You can play this for as long as your child is interested - and have objects. :) You really can keep them entertained and busy - and not even be in the same room as they are! Happy fetching!

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