I had been thinking about ways to make learning a bit more hands-on around here by combining sensory play with our lessons. Liam is really not into worksheets and seems to like getting his whole body involved, but I wanted to be able to incorporate numbers, counting, letters, etc into our “play”. First up, I was thinking about counting, math, measuring, and literacy and how to do it a little differently. It is always great when I can come up with an activity that serves as several lessons and gets us talking with each other and actively engaging in the activity. Since novelty is really the key with Liam, I have to be creative but frugal at the same time. So we’re learning about measuring from what’s around the house.
We had been exploring the letter M with music and homemade musical instruments this week so I began to think about measuring. That starts with a ‘M’ right? So, what to measure and I can I make it a bin. Stale cereal popped into my mind and who doesn’t have that opened bag of cereal kicking around the back of the cupboard. I set out a bin with a bag of Cheerios. I also decided to get out a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup and then a 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup and 1/4 cup scoop. How many of each scoop will it take to approximately fill the 2 cupper? I also put out a little cup of the numbers 2,4,6, & 8 so that he could choose the number that equalled what we counted together as we used each scoop. Plenty to do here including practical life skills which you don’t get with a worksheet.
I started the measuring activity by letting him dump the cereal into the bin, playing with it, and yes, eating it! I have a child who will eat stale food if it is presented in a cool way, haha! Then, I showed him about filling measuring cups up carefully and making sure it wasn’t overflowing or under filled. We investigated each scoop and carefully filled and counted our way down to the 1/4 cup. He found each number and placed it in the correct measuring cup when he was done using it to measure. He poured the 2 cup measure carefully back into the large bin and started over again!
Clearly, keeping his hands busy, keeps him busy and engaged for a longer amount of time. To continue with the fun, we dumped out the cereal and I filled the container with red water for him to try again. He is still young to get the slight difference between liquid and dry measuring but it was still a fun activity for reinforcing how many of each measuring cup goes into a 2 cup measuring cup! Of course, it is now a water activity so that’s half the fun too.
Using sensory materials to assist with particular lessons is very useful for hands-on and visual learners. Liam can really see and feel what he is doing. He is constantly engaged and absorbing information and the sensory input keeps his focus and interest. What better way to learn how to measure in real life situations. I never forget the alphabet rather bring it about organically with the words we see or with the letter of the week we have tied in to our lesson. Learning is everywhere, and you can use everyday moments like measuring the stale cereal you haven’t gotten around to throwing away yet, to enhance your child’s mind!