This week our cabin fever has finally been cured. We played outside the last two days without jackets! It’s not t-shirt weather, but it’s awesome nonetheless. I even left the door wide open most of the day today – fresh air in the house at last!

The kids found a huge tub of sidewalk chalk in the garage and are working hard to cover every paver we own with colorful chalk drawings. This is perfect for me because I can get my work done in the kitchen and keep them in my line of sight while they doodle away on the patio. Today was too nice to stay in the kitchen though, so Ramona skipped her nap (as usual) and we spent most of the afternoon in the backyard. In addition to endless trip down the slide and jumps off the patio ledge, stick-collecting, digging for worms, and getting stuck in the mud, I managed to sneak in a pre-school math activity. Here goes…

I found a section of the patio that hadn’t yet been beautified with children’s artwork, and created some art of my own. I drew a bunch of numbers and shapes on the bricks, randomly distributed and spread out as much as possible. I hope you can see it well enough here:
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The game here is to yell out instructions for your child to follow. Get creative with the commands so it’s fun. For example:

·        Run to the number 4 and jump up and down 4 times on it
·        Put one foot on 5 and the other foot on 12
·        Step on the cube and spell your name out loud
·        Lie down on your age
·        Run to your brother’s age
·        Sit on your favorite shape
·        Spin around 6 times on the number 6
·        Find a shape that has 6 sides

If your child gets one wrong, keep playing and repeat any instructions they have trouble with until they can consistently get it right. When we started playing Ramona didn’t know what a pentagon or hexagon was, but by the end of our game she could recognize both (we’ll see if she remembers this tomorrow when I attempt to reinforce what she learned). When you run out of ideas, let your child make up commands for you to follow. The instructions they come up with are bound to make you LOL!

We played this for a mere 10 minutes, then Ramona’s attention turned to making a nest of leaves and grass for her new “pet” worm.  The numbers and shapes are still out there so maybe we can play another round tomorrow. If the chalk is washed away tonight and I don’t get any more mileage out of this game I am pretty sure she got something out of it today, and best of all we had fun playing together.
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After the next rain, I plan to make up a new version of the game board geared toward the older kids. There are so many possibilities I can’t even list them all (and I don’t want to give away all my ideas in one post, I need something to write about next month!). All I know is now that sidewalk chalk season is upon us, lots more opportunities for quick and dirty math practice come with it.  I can hardly wait! π

Joy Kowenhoven
03/18/2011 05:31

Very cool...Some great ideas!!!

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03/18/2011 12:56

My sidewalk chalk birthday cake feels so lame now. It's funny, we often do letters and word games but I never do number games with sidewalk chalk. Next sunny afternoon, though, I'll be stealing idea!

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Lynette Oh
03/18/2011 18:40

Wow! I looove that you are blogging about this. It does make me feel behind the curve in teaching my kids math : ( Most of their math skills right now are centered around negotiating the number of M & Ms or cheesy puffs they can have!

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Tracey Canavin
03/19/2011 04:53

Jennifer,

This blogging is a great idea and your fun ways to practice math are so creative. I hope that your blog makes it far and wide because I think you're really onto something. Keep it up friend!

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03/19/2011 18:48

Thanks so much for reading & for the positive comments!

BTW I'm impressed that the moms-of-multiples even found time to read this. With the exception of Joy, all 3 of you who left comments have twins!

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07/27/2012 05:22

That is cool! Great ideas!

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04/26/2013 00:21

when I came on this topic and luckily found it nice thanks for this one. I must like to appreciate.

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04/26/2013 00:22

This is the first time i am reading your post and admire that you posted article which gives users lot of information regarding particular topic thanks for this share.

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10/21/2013 19:01

Good read

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