Math Without Worksheets

Last week I put some new materials on the shelf; small wooden cubes in a variety of colors. When anything new is added to our program my little explorers are eager to investigate.

I watched D carefully lining the wooden cubes inside the frame of a mirror block. She said proudly, "Look at my pattern! Pink, purple, pink, purple."

She counted the blocks in her row - seven in total - and she wondered aloud, "How many could fit in this whole thing?"

Mathematical experiences for very young children should build largely upon their play and the natural relationships between learning and life in their daily activities, interests, and questions.

K joined in with the small cube blocks, mimicking her friend's counting and very carefully placing the blocks inside her own mirror frame.

We discovered that each rectangular mirror frame could hold 3 rows of seven and we discussed how many blocks that was all together. "7+7+7 is 21," D explained. She made rows on the ground with different numbers and practiced simple addition while K continued to explore filling the mirror frames.

What I find most amazing is that all of this learning happened without a single flash card or worksheet! Children are so driven to understand and make discoveries that as long as the environment is rich and engaging they thrive in their learning.

I'm excited to see the different ways my little friends explore math in the classroom. I think adding the 10 frames as an option to work with in addition to the cube blocks and other loose parts would really help to extend this interest in counting and simple math.