On this rainy afternoon, after Maddy and Owen’s last day of soccer, I put a super-tired Cora down for her nap, and I brought out two of Maddy and Owen’s faves and let them do whatever they wanted with them: bingo chips and bottle tops.
They played for a while, designing pictures using both, flipping them, stacking them, and organizing them. After a bit, I tried to sneak in a little math vocabulary:
- Bingo chips and bottle tops: These are the bingo chips we use for most of our bingo and grid games and the bottle tops I’ve collected for a few weeks and have used for sorting colors a while back.
A few days ago, I glanced at the math vocabulary that teachers incorporate through both Pre-K and Kindergarten, so I had a bunch of terms in mind that I tried to use today. (for example: more, less, equal, combine, compare, measure, predict, quantity, etc.)
Owen began to fill a small cap up with bingo chips, so I said, Owen, do you think that if you fill that top with chips, it will have more chips or less chips than this top? (I held up a larger top.)
He said, I think it will fit 30 chips.
I said, Okay, well, you’re giving me a big number. You fill your top with chips, then I’ll fill my top with chips. After they’re both full, we can count the chips and compare which can hold more chips than the other.
So that’s what we did–we filled, counted, compared, filled, counted, compared some more. We did this several times with different tops until I just held yet another top (seriously, we have about 50) next to Owen’s and said,
Owen, can you predict whether this top will hold more chips or less chips than the top you’re holding? ‘Predict’ means make a logical guess.
He said, I predict it will hold more.
We tried, and he was correct! He and Maddy predicted, counted, and compared some more, then Owen said, Look, Mommy, I can make a square! He moved his chips around and worked out a pretty decent square. We tried a few other shapes and then we decided we were done for the day.
Some possible extensions or variations of today’s fun might be:
- use some paper and write the actual number of chips that each top holds next to the top itself;
- put the tops in order from largest to smallest number of chips it can hold;
- write the “math vocabulary word” you’re describing or talking about, do the “experiment”, then have your child write that word in a writing notebook;
- draw shapes–triangle, circle, square, rectangle–on cards then have your child make that shape with bingo chips, tops, or both;
- have your child design a picture on paper then copy it with bingo chips and tops….
So much fun with things these guys love to play with and sooo cool to introduce new words to little learners, especially when they’re just playing around with rainbow colored tops and bingo chips.