Thursday, 15 November 2012

Documenting Delight: day three hundred and twenty one {an invitation to play with numbers}

Recently Finn has moved a little bit away from his strong interest in letters, towards a love of numerals. Many of our days start just like this:

Finn: Mummy, can you count to 32?

Me: Yes I can.

Finn: When you count to that number can you say the numbers in a spooky voice?
Hmmmmm, I know where all of this has come from. The Count from Sesame Street, I have you to thank.
So today I set up an outside play invitation to engage with numbers. I searched the house for any tactile numbers we had (wooden puzzle numbers, magnetic numbers and foam sticker numbers) and poured them into a tray filled with rice. Add some plastic tweezers and the kids were set for the afternoon. The thing I love about setting up these open ended play activities is watching what Finn and Harper do with them. It is rarely what I think they will do.

I predicted that Finn would sort the numbers into groups and that Harper would spend time touching the rice and the numbers (or maybe making attempts to move ALL the rice onto the floor) but nope, I was way off. Harper took the lead straight away and enlisted Finn to help her sort the numbers into groups, even going as far as asking me for plastic containers to put the groups into. Wow, I didn’t see that one coming. Finn took a while to engage with the numbers but after helping Harper he asked collected a piece of paper from inside and started picking out all the foam sticker numbers. I stood back and just watched him as he spent time placing the numbers in sequence, counting out loud as he stuck down each number.  He was so proud of his sheet of numbers once he was done:

What do you think of this?

Me: I think I didn’t know that you knew how to put those numbers in order, but now I do!

And once all the play based learning was over, Harper plonked herself in the tub. From the squeals, I am assuming that sitting in a boat of rice is A LOT of fun! 


  1. WOW Amber!! what a fantastic activity... the kind I see on pinterest but didnt really think to do - but now I wanna. not sure we have such a good numbers collection tho! anyway im SUPER impressed w the things they did - love how they kinda did the opposite u expected and love how finn ordered all his numbers - wonderful. HUGE props to you for letting them guide the activity as they wanted too... i would need duct tape over my mouth i think! ;)

  2. Wow Amber, I love this so much! And the fact that Finn knew how to order the numbers is very impressive! Wonderful :)

    Hannah has also moved onto counting and numerals in the last few months. I may try this with her in the new year.