Mealtime: In/Out

Math Lesson for:

Infants

Content Area:

Algebra
Measurement
Numbers and Operations

Routine:

Mealtime

Mealtime: In/Out

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.

  • Spoons
  • 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.

Spoon-Feeding: Show the infant the bowl with food and a spoon. Hold the bowl up and say: “Look (child’s name), the spoon is IN the bowl.” When the infant looks at the spoon and opens his/her mouth, give the infant a spoonful of food and say: “(Name of food) goes IN your mouth.” As you remove the spoon from the infant’s mouth, say: “The spoon is OUT of your mouth.” During the feeding, show the infant the spoon IN the bowl and say: “Spoon IN” as you scoop food onto the spoon. Say: “Spoon OUT” after each mouthful as you remove the spoon from the infant’s mouth. Give the infant his/her own spoon to play with and hold during the feeding. Talk about IN and OUT in reference to the spoon throughout the meal.

 

Mealtime: In/Out

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.

  • Spoons
  • Bowls
  • Food (mashed and finger foods)
  • Cheerios

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.

Spoon Feeding: Fill a small bowl with food. Show the infant the bowl of food and say: “Look (child’s name), the spoon is IN the bowl.” Preload a small amount of food onto the spoon. Give the spoon to the infant and say: “Put the spoon IN your mouth, yum,” as the infant naturally brings the spoon to his/her mouth. As the infant removes the spoon from his/her mouth, say: “The spoon is OUT of your mouth.” Hold out your hand, ask the infant to give you the spoon and wait for the infant to offer you the spoon. Either repeat the process until the infant finishes the meal or use a second spoon to continue feeding the infant, talking the entire time about whether the spoon is IN or OUT of the bowl and IN or OUT of the infant’s mouth.

Finger Foods: Cheerios or puffs are excellent foods to help young infants learn to feed themselves. These foods also help infants gain greater manual dexterity by refining their grasp and release skills. Place a small bowl on the tray in front of the infant with a few Cheerios in it. Point to the Cheerios and say: “Look (child’s name), there are Cheerios IN the bowl.” Allow the infant to play with the Cheerios and talk about whether the Cheerios are IN or OUT of the bowl or IN or OUT of the infant’s mouth.

Mealtime: In/Out

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.

  • Small-necked container, like an empty spice container
  • Cheerios

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.

Finger Foods: Cheerios or puffs are excellent foods to help young infants learn to feed themselves. These foods also help infants gain greater manual dexterity by refining their grasp and release skills. When placed in a small-necked container, they also provide endless entertainment as older infants try to figure out how to get the cereal out of the container. Place a few Cheerios in the container. Point to the Cheerios and say: “Look (child’s name), there are Cheerios IN the container. Can you get them OUT?” Allow the infant to play with the Cheerios and problem-solve ways to remove the Cheerios from the container. Younger infants will shake the container and poke their fingers into the container. Older infants may dump OUT the Cheerios by turning the container upside down spontaneously or after you show them how to dump out the cereal. While the infant is figuring out how to get the Cheerios out of the container, talk about whether the Cheerios are IN or OUT of the container.

How might you teach INOUT in during other daily activities and routines?

What books do you have in your child care setting that reinforce the math concept of INOUT?

What songs or finger plays do you typically use in your child care setting that reinforce the math concept of INOUT?

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