Today was a very unusual Monday for us; Brent was home in bed all day after a long night, losing his battle with the stomach bug, Owen was home from school with a belly ache, and I was pretty much sleepwalking most of the day, waiting for the uninvited guest to plant its buggy self on the rest of us.
My plan was to really take it easy. I was tired. We all were tired.
After Maddy’s preschool drop-off and a quick stop at the drug store for everything pain remedy, Owen, Cora, and I found ourselves sprawled out on the living room floor, lounging in the morning sunshine, playing with the bug set that Aunt Jenny brought us this weekend. Owen said to me, Mommy, insects have six legs. Help me find all the insect friends so they can have a bug party. And so we began:
- Counting Legs: That’s all we did. We had the 12 bugs that came with the set (ours are not pictured to the right, but I cannot find Backyard Bugs: Find out who your little neighbors are anywhere online so they’ll have to do), and we added our box of snakes, lizards, and frogs to the mix. We just lazied in the sunshine and organized our bug party. Cora handled the snakes; she lined them up and counted their tails. Owen has become an overnight insect master, so he first searched for the 6-legged guys and put them in a line. Then he took on the spiders. I handled most of the 4-legged ones–the lizards and random dinosaurs that made their way into the wrong box.
After we arranged them in their party lines, I asked if there was another way we could organize them–instead of by how many legs they had. I was making the butterfly fly over the other bugs, and Owen caught on: We could do the guys who have wings and the guys who just walk, but let’s do it later. I’m done, Mommy.
And that was fine with me–I was secretly done before we even began today.
So here’s why today’s leg counting was pretty cool even though it might seem like it’s not a big deal:
1. Counting–any way, shape, or form–needs to be done as often as possible so that the numbers sink in!
2. Young children’s personal feelings toward mathematics is muy importante. This disposition involves a young person’s attitude, persistence, risk-taking, and self-regulation. Children are motivated to learn when the mathematical experiences they are presented are related to their interests and needs. (Adapted from Juanita V. Copley. The Young Child and Mathematics. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2000.