Outdoor Play: Same/Different

Math Lesson for:

Infants

Content Area:

Algebra
Data Analysis and Probability
Numbers and Operations

Routine:

Outdoor Play

Outdoor Play: Same/Different

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.

  • Common objects in the outdoor environment (such as rocks, sticks 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.

Taking a walk in the stroller: Young infants understand SAME and DIFFERENT though routine. The routine of getting ready to go outside and take a walk, putting on a jacket, going out the door, being placed in and buckled into the stroller teaches the infant the concept of SAME. To help an infant begin to understand SAME and DIFFERENT, show the infant common objects in the environment two a time. For SAME, show the infant two rocks or two sticks and encourage the infant to look from one to the other. Tap the objects together and say: “SAME, these are both sticks.” For DIFFERENT, show the infant a rock and a stick. Name the items and encourage the infant to look from one to the other as you name the object and say: “DIFFERENT, one is a rock and one is a stick.”

Outdoor Play: Same/Different

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.

  • Common objects in the outdoor environment (such as rocks, sticks 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.

Taking a walk in the stroller: Young infants understand SAME and DIFFERENT though routine. The routine of getting ready to go outside and take a walk, putting on a jacket, going out the door or being placed in and buckled into the stroller teaches the infant the concept of SAME. To help an infant begin to understand SAME and DIFFERENT, show the infant common objects in the environment two a time. For SAME, offer the infant two rocks or two sticks and encourage the infant to reach for and explore them. MAKE SURE ALL OBJECTS ARE LARGE AND DO NOT PRESENT A CHOKING HAZARD. Tap the objects together and say: “SAME, these are both sticks.” For DIFFERENT, show the infant a rock and a stick. Name the items and encourage the infant to reach for and explore one of the objects. Say: “DIFFERENT, (child’s name) has a rock and (your name) has a stick.”

Outdoor Play: Same/Different

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.

  • Common objects in the outdoor environment (such as rocks, sticks and leaves)
  • Three containers (such as bowls or storage containers)

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.

Play outside in the yard or park: Infants this age love to collect items found in their environment. Together, collect some sticks, rocks and leaves. Place all of the items in a big pile. Allow the infant to play with the objects, putting them into containers and taking them out again. When the objects in the container are the SAME, point to the objects and say: “These are all rocks. They are the SAME.” When the objects in the container are DIFFERENT, point to the objects and say: “(Child’s name) put rocks, leaves and sticks in. They are DIFFERENT.” Continue the game until the infant loses interest. At the end, sort the objects with the infant into the three containers and save them for another day.

How might you teach the math lesson SAME and DIFFERENT during other daily activities and routines?

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

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

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