Mealtime: Full/Empty

Math Lesson for:

Infants

Content Area:

Algebra
Measurement
Numbers and Operations

Routine:

Mealtime

Mealtime: Full/Empty

Lesson plan for infants 0 to 6 months

Step 1: Review developmental stage: 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 placed on their tummies, infants learn to hold up their heads and reach for toys. They begin to reach and grasp for objects, beginning with the caregivers’ clothes and hair and then moving on to toys and objects. At the end of this stage, many infants may help hold their own bottles and help bring the bottles to their mouths. They may also begin to take pureed food from a spoon.

Step 2: Gather materials.

  • Bib
  • Bottle
  • Spoon
  • Bowl
  • Pureed fruits and vegetables

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Bottle-Feeding: Show the infant his/her FULL bottle and say: “(Child’s name), your bottle is FULL.” When the baby looks at the bottle or reaches for the bottle, say: “Oh, you want your FULL bottle.” Give the infant the bottle. When the infant finishes the bottle, show the infant the EMPTY bottle and say: “Bottle is EMPTY. We are all done.”

Spoon-Feeding: Show the infant the bowl with food and a spoon. Hold the bowl up and say: “The bowl is FULL.” When the infant looks at the spoon and opens his/her mouth, give the infant a spoonful of food.  Show the infant the spoon and say: “The spoon is empty.” During the feeding, show the infant the spoon and say “FULL spoon” as you scoop food onto the spoon. Say: “EMPTY spoon” after each mouthful. When the infant finishes the bowl of food, show the infant the EMPTY bowl and say: “(Child’s name) bowl is EMPTY. We are all done.”

Mealtime: Full/Empty

Lesson plan for infants 6 to 12 months

Step 1: Review developmental stage: 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 objects out of containers and putting them back in.

Communication: At this age, infants respond when their names are called. They may turn their heads, 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.” 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.

Step 2: Gather materials.

  • Sippy cup
  • Bib
  • Spoon
  • Bowl
  • Food (mashed food)

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Cup Drinking: Fill a small sippy cup with breast milk or formula. Show the infant the FULL cup and say: “(Child’s name) cup is FULL.” Wait for the infant to reach for the cup or vocalize.When the infant is finished drinking, turn the cup upside down and say: “The cup is EMPTY. We are all done with the milk.”

Spoon-Feeding: Fill a small bowl with food. Show the infant the bowl of food and say: “(Child’s name) bowl is FULL.” Preload a small amount of food onto the spoon. Give the spoon to the infant and say: “The spoon is FULL.” After the infant takes the food off of the spoon, say: “The spoon is EMPTY.” Hold out your hand and wait for the infant to offer you the EMPTY spoon. Preload the spoon again. Give the spoon to the infant and say: “The spoon is FULL.” Repeat the process until the infant finishes the meal. When the bowl is empty, turn it upside down and say: “The bowl is EMPTY. (Child’s name) is all done.”

Mealtime: Full/Empty

Lesson plan for infants 12 to 18 months

Step 1: Review developmental stage: 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, when 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 into 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 one to three words on their own and, by the end of this stage, may say up to 15 words or more. 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 an open cup to drink.

Step 2: Gather materials.

  • Cup
  • Spoon
  • Bowl
  • Table food
  • Bib

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Cup Drinking: Fill a small sippy cup with breast milk or formula. Show the infant the FULL cup and say “(Child’s name) cup is FULL.” Wait for the infant to reach for the cup or vocalize and hand the cup to the infant. If the infant can, allow the infant to use the cup on his/her own. When the infant is finished drinking, help the infant turn the cup upside down and say: “The cup is EMPTY. We are all done with milk.”

Spoon-Feeding: Fill a small bowl with food. Show the infant the bowl of food and say: “(Child’s name) bowl is FULL.” Allow the infant to fill the spoon on his/her own or preload a small amount of food onto the spoon and give the spoon to the infant and say: “The spoon is FULL.” After the infant eats the food off of the spoon, say: “The spoon is EMPTY.” Hold out your hand and wait for the infant to offer you the EMPTY spoon. Preload the spoon again and give the spoon to the infant and say: “The spoon is FULL.” Repeat the process until the infant finishes the meal. When the bowl is empty, turn it upside down and say: “The bowl is EMPTY. (Child’s name) is all done.”

How might you teach FULL and EMPTY during other daily activities and routines?

What books do you have in your child care setting that reinforce the math concepts of FULL and EMPTY?

What songs or finger plays do you typically use in your child care setting that reinforce the math concepts of FULL and EMPTY?

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