- Any and all craft supplies you have on hand
- Any little glueable items you have (buttons, pom poms, jewels, beads, popsicle sticks, etc)
- An empty butter box or toilet paper roll or something you can use for the body of the rocket (or car or monster truck…whatever your little LOVES)
- Mod Podge or glue
- Scissors for your little
- Paints and brushes
The Learning Goal:
- Introduce math and its importance
- Practice adding and counting
Small Manipulative Practice:
- Cutting with scissors
- Glueing small items
Toddlers are usually pretty fascinated by all the different jobs in the world. An easy way to make math exciting is to let your toddler see its importance in the REAL world. Explain to your little that engineers are the ones who build cool things like rockets and monster trucks and tractors. Ask lots of questions like: Why do you think rockets are important? How do you think they build rockets? What kind of tools do engineers need?
Explain that one of the most important tools an engineer uses is his or her brain! Tell your little that math and numbers are how engineers make rockets work. Emphasize how necessary it is for engineers to make sure their math is correct. Boston is only 3, so I taught him what “equal” means. I told him that engineers make sure everything is exactly equal on rockets. I asked him if he wants to be a rocket engineer.
Get out all the craft supplies and let your little tell you where the “engine” (ours was a toilet paper roll) should go. Ask him where the wings should go and how many you need. I introduced the idea of symmetry to him and that we want all sides equal so the rocket doesn’t blow up. He LOVED talking about making it REALLY good so it doesn’t blow up 🙂
Once you have the body of the rocket made and glued together, you can’t have your little cut out pieces of construction paper to glue on. This is really good for their small manipulative and takes up more time. At this point, you can also have your toddler paint the rocket if you want.
Next get out all the little pieces (pom poms, buttons, etc) and ask your little how much he needs of each one. If he says, “I need 5.” Say, “Ok, I have two right here in my hand. How many more do we need to get to five?” Maybe your child will catch on fast. Gauge how much he or she understands about adding. I would show him the amount we needed with my fingers held up (5). Then I would put put down the amount we started with (2 fingers) and ask him how many fingers are left and explain that is how much you need. Do this with each category of small items. Boston really enjoyed this, and if he started to get bored I would remind him how important it is that we get it right so his rocket doesn’t blow up.
Good luck engineers!