We brought out the tape measurers this week. Ah, nothing like a tool in the hand of young friends to get the juices flowing and the neurons firing up! Playful math! Math that is done for no other purpose than the sheer joy and fun it brings. I don’t worry that they don’t understand the concept of inches or feet or even if they recognize numbers, or have numbers actually facing them!
This tape measure was easy for the children to use. It was small and fit in the palm of their hands. It could be pulled out without snapping back unless the children pushed in on a button on the side and then slid back slowly rather than snapping back quickly. We have a few different types of tape measurers in our toolbox, and they love them all. Children love exploring with tools. The exploration, cooperation and investigation on this morning was an educator’s dream!
As the children measure every object in sight, I find opportunities to introduce new understanding and vocabulary. I often refer to this as throwing seeds in the wind. Some may land, and sprout. Some may fly in one ear and out the other. I throw them anyway. I observe their play and wait to see when they may be ready for added information to extend their level of play to a higher understanding.
We talk about the word inch. We count the numbers on the tape. Vocabulary words are flying through the air as they play. Words such as longer, shorter, taller, smaller, bigger, and wider. I see cooperation and experimentation between friends.