Saturday, May 12, 2012

Math can be a-MAZE-ing!

I know some people have their reservations and fears about math as adults.  I was fortunate growing up, because I had some great teachers that introduced math concepts through games, and other hands on activities.  They made the basics easy for me to understand, which gave me a reason to have a good attitude toward the subject as I entered high school, where I was thrown to the infamous algebra "wolves," and other forms of math that mingle with the alphabet.  I hope to keep the fears of math down to a dull roar for both of my boys.  In fact, my husband and I have plans to implement a small allowance system for Aidan as he takes on a few easy chores, so he can start respecting the value of money. 




Aidan currently receives a magazine in the mail every month that's geared toward preschoolers.  When it arrives, he hunts for any pages that contain mazes, or connect the dot pictures.  He is smitten with these activities, and has no problem working a maze on his own.  The connect the dots are another story.  He's still working on his number recognition, like most preschoolers, and often gets numbers mixed up with letters, so he needs more help connecting the dots.


In the past we have created mazes together on a larger scale with his wooden blocks and Legos.  We have races with his cars through them.  Sometimes he cheats, jumping the walls of the maze to get to the end first.  Apparently, and unfortunately, my husband and I have created a competition monster already!
To satisfy his hunger for these multiple vices, I simply added some numbers to the latest maze.  We used several different objects, and methods of movement.  One object was a bowl of cotton balls.  I let him use the hair dryer to blow the correct amount of cotton balls to the corresponding number.  It was fun to watch the pure joy on his face as he blasted them through the maze.
We changed the maze around a little to keep it interesting, then I challenged him to try and move the cotton balls a different way.  He discovered how powerful his lungs really were!
We also rolled different sized balls through the maze, but of course, we had to use his favorite...cars!
I drew boxes on the number five as a reminder for him, a "cheat sheet" if you will, in case he forgot or wasn't sure what the number was.  We also did a little adding and subtracting when he didn't put the correct amount of objects in each spot, something that I didn't expect to happen until he started playing with the maze (I think it was the over the top excitement that distracted him from counting at first, over the use of the hair dryer)!

So far, the attitude toward math for Aidan has been positive.  We play in many different ways with numbers and math vocabulary at our house.  What are your favorite ways to play with math?


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