Math at Home Math Access for Teachers
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Outdoor Play: Big/Little
 
Math Component Routine
  • Geometry
  • Data and Probability
  • Outdoor play

 

 

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Make adaptations

Snapshot of Development: 0 to 6 Months

Play:

Infants begin by using their eyes to explore toys and then begin to use their hands and mouths to explore. Their play is primarily shaking, banging and mouthing. At the end of this stage, they begin to look for dropped toys and may find a partially hidden object.

Communication:

Young infants recognize their parents and familiar caregivers. They smile and laugh during playful interactions, such as peek-a-boo. They make early cooing and babbling sounds.

Motor:

When on their tummies, infants learn to hold their head up and reach for toys. They begin to reach and grasp for objects, beginning with the care-givers clothes and hair and then moving to toys and objects. At the end of this stage, many infants may help hold their own bottle and help bring the bottle to their mouths. They may also begin to take pureed food from a spoon.

 

Obtain materials Materials:
  • Different sized common items found outside – sticks, rocks, leaves, flowers, trees

Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

 

Engage the children Interactions:

Taking a Walk in the Stroller:

Enjoy a walk outside together as you notice and talk about things that are BIG and LITTLE. Look where the infant is looking and talk about things that her eyes are focusing on. Point to objects the infant is looking at and talk about them in relation to BIG and LITTLE.  For example point out a BIG tree and a LITTLE tree or a BIG flower or a LITTLE flower.  Encourage the infant to look from one to the other as you describe the size of each tree or flower.  Show the infant two rocks, one BIG and one LITTLE or two sticks, one BIG and one LITTLE and encourage the infant to look from one to the other and touch and explore them with her hands.  As the infant looks, touches and explores name and describe the rocks or sticks as BIG or LITTLE.

 

Make adaptations

Snapshot of Development: 6 to 12 Months

Play:

At the beginning of this stage, play is mostly shaking, banging, and mouthing toys. By the end of this stage, infants begin to combine objects that go together in play. They reach for and hold two objects and may begin to reach for a third. Many infants will look for dropped toys and find partially and completely hidden toys. Many infants enjoy taking things out and putting things into containers.

Communication:

At this age, infants respond when their name is called. They may turn their head, make eye contact and sometimes smile and vocalize. They may look for family members and pets when called by name. They may respond to simple requests made with gestures, such as, “Come here,” and they may understand “No” or “Stop.” They may lift their arms to be picked up, clap hands, and wave bye-bye. They love to shout and squeal and may be babbling with many different sounds. They may be participating in and sometimes initiating peek-a-boo.

Motor:

During this stage, many infants begin to sit by themselves and play. They begin to move by rolling, crawling, and cruising. They pick up toys by using a raking motion with their whole hand and by the end of this stage they are using their fingers and thumbs to pick up small objects. They may feed themselves small bits of food.

 

Obtain materials Materials:
  • Different sized common items found outside – sticks, rocks, leaves, flowers, trees

Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

 

Engage the children Interactions:

Taking a Walk in the Stroller:

Enjoy a walk outside together as you notice and talk about things that are BIG and LITTLE.  To help an infant begin to understand BIG and LITTLE, show the infant common objects in the environment two a time.  For example point out a BIG tree and a LITTLE tree or a BIG flower or a LITTLE flower.  Encourage the infant to look from one to the other as you describe the size of each tree or flower.  Show the infant two rocks, one BIG and one LITTLE or two sticks, one BIG and one LITTLE and allow the infant to hold and explore them with their hands.  BE SURE ALL OBJECTS ARE NOT CHOKING HAZARDS.  As the infant looks, touches and explores name and describe the rocks or sticks as BIG or LITTLE

 

Make adaptations

Snapshot of Development: 12 to 18 Months

Play:

At the beginning of this stage, many infants are imitating the use of everyday objects, such as cups and spoons. This moves into early pretend play where the infant may feed you, or pretend to drink from a cup or eat off of an empty spoon. They also are great imitators and may enjoy imitating daily activities. They may enjoy putting multiple objects in containers and systematically searching for hidden toys and objects. Many infants will pat pictures in books and sometimes vocalize while looking at books.

Communication:

At the beginning of this stage, many infants begin to respond to one step directions, such as, “Give me the ball.” They may need gestures to help them understand the direction. At the end of this stage, many infants follow a related two-step direction without the help of gestures, such as, “Get the ball and give it to Daddy.” They may be pointing to ask for wants and needs and to ask you to name objects. At around 12 months of age, many infants say 1-3 words on their own and by the end of this stage may say up to 15 or more words. Many infants play turn-taking games at this stage.

Motor:

At the beginning of this stage, many infants are crawling and cruising to get around, and by the end of this stage, infants are walking with good balance. They may also enjoy walking while carrying large objects and pulling toys. When given a crayon for the first time, they may mouth the crayon or mark the paper. By the end of this stage, many infants are scribbling on paper. They may be starting to scoop food with a spoon and actually get some to their mouths. Infants may also be using a straw or open cup to drink.

 

Obtain materials Materials:
  • Different sized common items found outside – sticks, rocks, leaves

  • Different sized sand buckets

Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

 

Engage the children Interactions:

Playing Outside in the Yard or Park:

Infants this age love to collect items found in their environment.  Together collect some sticks, rocks and leaves of all different sizes.  Place all the items in a big pile.   Allow the infant to play with the objects putting them in and out of the containers.  While the infant is playing with the collection of sticks, rocks and leaves, talk about the size of the objects in relation to each other.  Use the words BIG and LITTLE to describe each item as the infant puts them in and out of the containers or lines them up together on the ground.  When and if the infant lines them up on the ground, you line some items up in order or BIGGEST to LITTLEST.  Point out the BIGGEST item and the LITTLEST item to the infant.  Continue the game until the infant loses interest.  At the end sort the objects by size with the infant into the buckets, placing the BIG items in the BIG buckets and the LITTLE items in the LITTLE buckets and save for another day.

 

Reflections on this Lesson

How might you teach the math lesson-BIG-LITTLE during other daily activities and routines?

What books do you have in your child care setting, that include the math concept – BIG-LITTLE?

What songs or finger plays do you typically use in your child care setting support the math concept – BIG-LITTLE?

 


 

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