Outdoor Play: In/Out

Math Lesson for:

Infants

Content Area:

Algebra
Geometry
Numbers and Operations

Routine:

Outdoor Play

Outdoor Play: 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.

  • Sand bucket
  • Variety of objects found outdoors (such as sticks, rocks and leaves)

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.

Sit down on the ground on a blanket with the infant in your lap. Show the infant the buckets filled with sticks, rocks or leaves. As you take a rock OUT of the bucket, say: “(Your name) takes the rock OUT of the bucket.” Encourage the infant to touch, reach for and explore the rock with his/her eyes and hands. Put the rock back IN the bucket and say: “(Your name) puts the rock IN the bucket.” Repeat the game with sticks and leaves. MAKE  SURE THAT ALL OBJECTS ARE LARGE AND DO NOT PRESENT A CHOKING HAZARD.

Outdoor Play: 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.

  • Sand bucket
  • Variety of objects found outdoors (such as sticks, rocks and leaves)

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.

Sit down with the infant sitting up in your lap or sit across from an infant who can sit independently. Place a bucket of rocks, sticks and leaves in front of the infant. Help the infant take the items OUT of the bucket. As the infant takes an item out, say: “(Child’s name), take the (name the item) OUT!” Or just “(Name of item) OUT!” Encourage the infant to take lots of items OUT of the bucket. Clap and celebrate each item that the infant takes OUT. After you have had fun exploring the different items in the bucket, put the items IN the bucket together. Show the infant how to put an item in the bucket as you say: “Put IN” each time. Then encourage the infant to put (name of item) IN, saying: “(Child’s name) puts the (name of item) IN” each time. Remember to clap, high-five or celebrate each time the infant drops an item in the bucket. Infants this age may just enjoy dumping the items OUT and putting the items back IN over and over. This is a wonderful opportunity for the infant to hear you say “IN” and “OUT” many times during this play interaction.

Outdoor Play: 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.

  • Three sand buckets
  • Variety of objects found outdoors (such as sticks, rocks and leaves)

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.

Sit down across from the infant with outdoor items such as rocks, sticks and leaves sorted and placed in three sand buckets. Encourage the infant to take the outdoor items OUT of the buckets. As the infant takes an outdoor item out, say: “(Child’s name) took (name of item) OUT!” Or just “(name of item) OUT!” Encourage the infant to take lots of outdoor items out of the bucket. Clap and celebrate each time the infant takes one of the items OUT.

Infants at this age may enjoy dumping the whole bucket OUT at one time. Enjoy the fun crash sound that the dumping makes as you say: “All the rocks, sticks and leaves are OUT! (Child’s name) dumped all the rocks, sticks and leaves OUT!” Show the infant how to put the rocks, sticks and leaves into separate buckets, sorting them as you go. As you sort, say: “Put IN” each time. Then encourage the infant to sort the outdoor items into the buckets, saying: “(Child’s name) put (name of item) IN” each time.

Remember to clap, high-five or celebrate each time the infant drops an outdoor item into one of the buckets.

How might you teach the math lesson INOUT 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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