Charlie had a dentist appointment this morning.
So while my husband went off to have half of his face numbed up, I stayed home with the kids and we worked on math. As I was having them practice various exercises from their Kumon workbooks (pronounced "Ku-Mon" and not "COME ON you can do this!") I was struck with an idea for helping them to visualize and grasp number sequences.
Although there are a lot of great websites out there and lessons I could download, for the most part, I really wing it when it comes to teaching the children. Sure, I try to draw upon some of the things that they learned in Montessori, but because I don't have all of the supplies that a Montessori classroom has, I do my best to work with what I've got.
So today, I had in mind some kind of tool that allowed enough spaces for the children to count out a specific quantity and then visualize the numerical sequence using small objects. Small objects like ...say, dried beans.
But unfortunately, we're out of dried beans because our children poured them in the dirt with the hope that in the morning, we'd have a beanstalk. Leading up to the clouds. Where a giant with a goose that laid golden eggs would reside.
The thought of using coins crossed my bind - or buttons - but Henry, seeing that it solicits a response from me, has taken to shoving little objects in his mouth just to see my alarmed reaction.
So there I am thinking and thinking.
What could I use?
And then it came to me.
Relying upon my handy mini-muffin tins, and a bowl of Cheerios, I had the children count out the number of muffin indents. Then, I had them place the appropriate number of Cheerios in each indent.
One had one.
Two had two.
Three had three.
Four had four.
Still with me?
All the way up to ... twenty four had twenty four.
I also taught them that twenty four is divisible by two, three, four, six, eight and twelve.
"Huh? Diviso what?"
(They ate all the Cheerios before we made it that far.)
A fun activity that teaches and yet satisfies a hearty five-year-old ...
And two-year-old appetite?
In my book, that's a win win!