Early math is not about the rote learning of discrete facts like how much 5 + 7 equals. Rather, it’s about children actively making sense of the world around them. Unlike drills or worksheets with one correct answer, open-ended, playful exploration encourages children to solve problems in real situations. Because the situations are meaningful, children can gain a deeper understanding of number, quantity, size, patterning, and data management.
For example, it is easier to understand what six means when applied to a real-life task such as finding six beads to string on a necklace or placing one cracker on each of six plates. It is for this reason that we used baby jars, the color yellow, and numbers to practice our counting, adding, and subtracting. To fit this into our bug theme, we used baby jars painted yellow, and numbered 1-5.
These symbolized a beehive that your little ones made by stacking them on top of each other. They started by stacking the jars in no particular order. Once they mastered this task, they stacked them (while counting out loud) with the number one on the bottom and the number five on the top. Then they stacked them with the number five on the bottom and the number five on the top. Next, they practiced adding and subtracting different jars and counting them.