There are so many ways to incorporate math into play! Simply asking questions, such as how many do you have?, If I take away one, how many are left?, If I want five, but only have two, how many more do I need?, etc. These types of questions all encourage our children to enhance their math skills. Here are a few activities that demonstrate ways to incorporate math and other skills into play using Safari Ltd’s Insects Bulk Bag.
Bug Sensory Activity
Sensory activities are great for children. They help them fill their sensory needs and create a space in which they can relieve stress, focus and enhance their tactile senses. Simply putting in some dirt and flowers in a sensory bin and adding some insects provide so many opportunities for learning. This small world scene engages their attention as they better understand the world around them in a safe space. One of my daughters is intrigued with all bugs, while the other is terrified and doesn’t want to get close enough to truly see how magnificent they can be. Throwing together a sensory bin is the perfect solution for both of them to explore together.
We added in some tweezers, tongs, scoops, and magnifying glasses for the girls to use while exploring. Safari Ltd.’s insects are truly incredible because the details on the bugs are more exact than many other brand. This allows us to incorporate science into our play as we talk about the autonomy of these 14 unique bugs that come in their bulk bag (48 bugs in total). In this particular sensory activity, we incorporated math into play by categorizing the bugs after the girls used their fine motor skills to find the bugs with the tools provided.
After finding the bugs, we separated them into bugs that had wings and bugs that didn’t have wings. We incorporated math into play by counting how many bugs we had in each category as we went. We further were able to incorporate math into play by probing with questions like, “We had 4 bugs with wings. Now we have 1 more bug with wings. How many bugs with wings do we have now?”
By incorporating math into play this way, it no longer feels like a chore, but rather something for them to explore and discover. It becomes a lot more engaging and fun as your child is counting, categorizing, and grouping the insects through this hands-on experience.
How many legs?
This simply activity is one you can easily create at home. Whether you recreate the bugs by drawing them like we did here, or simply laying the Safari Ltd Insects on the paper, this activity is one your child can have fun with! Rather than having them count the legs of insects from a paper, the toy insects add a fun tangible element of discovering how many legs bugs have. We created this worksheet for my daughter to categorize the bugs into groups after she counted how many legs each type had. She loved using a magnifying glass to look at the bugs more closely as she counted. After she was done counting all of the various bug legs, we added up how many bugs total were in each category. This activity uses counting, adding, and even subtracting–– all while playing!
Count by Number Spider Web
Using Safari Ltd insects we were able to have engaging conversations about the different bugs, their habitat, diet and purposes. We created this simple count by number activity using yarn, a paper plate, and a hole punch. The girls enhanced their fine motor skills by punching the holes in the plate and weaving the needle in and out of the holes. We placed the numbers out of order so that they had to use their cognitive skills to figure out which number came next. The girls loved this added activity complement using the Safari Ltd Insects. After we created the spider web, they loved trying to figure out ways to hang our Safari Ltd Spiders from the string.
Incorporating Math into Songs
The ants go marching is a great song to incorporate math skills while still focusing on insects. The girls loved using the toy ants as they marched around the house singing The Ants Go Marching! We love to use music in play. Singing songs that encourage addition or subtraction is the perfect way to enhance math skills!
This simple activity is one that is easy to create at any time! It is a coloring and counting activity. We loved learning more about ladybugs and then counting so we could also use addition. I was so impressed with my four-year-old’s ability to add high numbers as she took it one step at a time. Safari Ltd’s Ladybug-Good Luck Minis would be a perfect addition to this activity. Throw it into a sensory bin, water table, or jar and add dots using a dry erase marker to the toy ladybugs that match the ladybugs on their activity page!
We are currently exploring more ways to incorporate math into our play using our Safari Ltd Insects. My girls are loving it! Incorporating math into play can truly be simple. Your children will love learning about math in a relaxed and fun setting as you include some of these suggestions. It’s amazing to watch their excitement as they discover that they are already using math before attending school! Play is a great way to have many meaningful conversations and learning experiences. Including figurines, like Safari Ltd’s minis, is a great way to enhance learning through play!
Words by: RyLee Matangi, www.matangilemon.com.