To make the literacy and numeracy mats I drew a range of creatures and objects that could be interacted with in an open-ended way, using the cards alongside them.
First I made a simple bumble bee, without stripes, for the girls to add the appropriate number of stripes to. There is an extra challenge that can be added in here for an extension activity, of making the stripes the correct length to fit across the width of the bee’s body! Cakie picked a number card as part of a fun game, put it on her playmate, then rolled and added the correct number.
Next she added apples (or any chosen fruit) to an empty tree, using a numeral card in the same way as before. She had to go back and recount these a few times to make sure she reached the right total. Play dough is great for practising 1:1 counting correspondence as it can either be moved or squashed as it is counted, helping the child to know they have already visited that object.
Cakie’s favourite play mat was, of course, the empty cake! We used this to roll out candles to add, but it could have strawberries, sprinkles or any other topping instead. Open-ended fun!
The snake family are a fun way of comparing lengths and C. found it quite a challenge to roll the correct length of dough to match each one. She had to go back and adjust lengths by removing or re-rolling each time and it was very interesting to watch her thinking skills as she worked.
Similar cards could be made for exploring thicknesses, heights and sizes.
- literacy: recognising, naming and sounding out letters, grapheme/phoneme correspondence
- maths: comparing and sorting by length, thickness and size / counting out objects up to 20 / counting reliably using 1:1 correspondence
- physical: fine motor co-ordination while rolling, squeezing and balling up the dough
Cakie: 3 years 9 months
Pop: 2 years 2 months
Bean: 16 weeks
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