Because parents and caregivers don’t always have access to high-quality resources or training on how to support children’s learning, AND because there is never enough time to do professional development with youth-serving staff, our “Creating a Math-ful Environment” Spark Deck provides 52 ideas for improving everyone’s ability to support math learning on-the-job and on-the-go, whether it is a program leader working with a group of youth, a parent at the supermarket, or a babysitter stuck at home with kids on a rainy day.
Designed to be used at home, around town, and in youth-serving programs and school settings, the suggestions on the cards are aimed at maximizing play and creativity in service of helping children develop strong math skills.
Some examples from this deck:
- Draw a shape on a piece of paper. Ask children to go outside and list or draw as many items as they can that have that shape. If children can find 10 items with that shape, give them a badge with that shape that they can wear for the day.
- Help children use a funny item, like a banana or a sandal, to measure things in the room. Have them write down the measurements (e.g., our table is 5 bananas long and 3 bananas wide).
- Say, “I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 20,” then ask children to take turns guessing the number. After each guess, give hints by saying “Higher” or “Lower.” Make this more challenging by playing with numbers between 1-100.
At the end of the day or program time, reflect on how the activity went. What did you learn? What did the children learn? If it didn’t work today, try it again tomorrow. What could you change to make it work better? You can use the Spark Decks Journal Page to help with this!