Can we always learn like this?
Updated: Mar 27
Learning through the children's own imaginative play...
Harry (age 6, Year 1) loves his cars and is always racing his Hot Wheels. He asked me to play so we enhanced his game by turning an old Amazon cardboard box into a track. He drew on things you would find at a race track and Isla (age 8, Year 3) loves being creative so this grabbed her attention too. They included hot dog and ice-cream vendors which lent itself to a discussion about the cost of items, money and pound signs. Harry directed his imaginary drivers to the things he drew by adding sentences 'This is the pit stop.' And 'This is the rescue truck.' Sentence writing which he didn't mind, didn't feel like work and didn't mind sounding out words or talking about spellings.
Then the real fun started... We took the track outside (held down in the wind by our wellies!) and raced the cars. I used the tape measure from our tool box so we could measure how far they went. Harry was learning to measure in centimetres and Isla was learning to measure beyond a metre (converting centimetres to metres). The last two finishers were given 8th and 7th place and put on the corresponding places in Harry's track and then we raced the remaining 6, and so on... This was reinforcing early maths ideas around ordering numbers, subtraction, how many more as well as lots of mathematical language during the game such as furthest and shortest. To keep the play going even longer, we added a pen and paper and they recorded the distance travelled to compare how far each car went on different races. Harry was writing 3 digit numbers and Isla was recording in metres with the decimal point.
It was only when I was talking to Isla about 1 metre being 100 centimetres that she linked this to school or learning... "Is this maths? Can we learn like this everyday? It's really fun!"
Playing together. Learning together. Happy children. Happy mammy.