## Outdoor Play: Big/Little

Infants

### Content Area:

Data Analysis and Probability
Geometry

Outdoor Play

## Outdoor Play: Big/Little

### Lesson plan for infants 0 to 6 months

#### Step 1: Review developmental stage: 0 to 6 months.

Play: Infants begin by using their eyes to explore toys and then begin to use their hands and mouths to explore. Their play is primarily shaking, banging and mouthing. At the end of this stage, they begin to look for dropped toys and may find a partially hidden object.

Communication: Young infants recognize their parents and familiar caregivers. They smile and laugh during playful interactions such as peek-a-boo. They make early cooing and babbling sounds.

Motor: When placed on their tummies, infants learn to hold up their heads and reach for toys. They begin to reach and grasp for objects, beginning with the caregivers’ clothes and hair and then moving on to toys and objects. At the end of this stage, many infants may help hold their own bottles and help bring the bottles to their mouths. They may also begin to take pureed food from a spoon.

#### Step 2: Gather materials.

• Outdoor items of different sizes (e.g., sticks, rocks, leaves, flowers, trees)

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

#### Step 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Taking a walk in the stroller: Enjoy a walk outside together as you notice and talk about objects that are BIG and LITTLE. Point to objects that the infant is looking at and talk about about BIG and LITTLE. For example, point out a BIG tree and a LITTLE tree or a BIG flower and a LITTLE flower. Encourage the infant to look from one to the other as you describe the size of each tree or flower. Show the infant two rocks, one BIG and one LITTLE, or two sticks, one BIG and one LITTLE, and encourage the infant to look from one to the other and touch and explore them with his/her hands. As the infant looks, touches and explores, name the items and describe them as BIG or LITTLE.

## Outdoor Play: Big/Little

### Lesson plan for infants 6 to 12 months

#### Step 1: Review developmental stage: 6 to 12 months.

Play: At the beginning of this stage, play is mostly shaking, banging and mouthing toys. By the end of this stage, infants begin to combine objects that go together in play. They reach for and hold two objects and may begin to reach for a third. Many infants will look for dropped toys and find partially and completely hidden toys. Many infants enjoy taking objects out of containers and putting them back in.

Communication: At this age, infants respond when their names are called. They may turn their heads, make eye contact and sometimes smile and vocalize. They may look for family members and pets when called by name. They may respond to simple requests made with gestures, such as: “Come here.” They may understand “No” or “Stop.” They may lift their arms to be picked up, clap hands and wave bye-bye. They love to shout and squeal and may be babbling with many different sounds. They may be participating in and sometimes initiating peek-a-boo.

Motor: During this stage, many infants begin to sit by themselves and play. They begin to move by rolling, crawling and cruising. They pick up toys by using a raking motion with their whole hand and, by the end of this stage, they are using their fingers and thumbs to pick up small objects. They may feed themselves small bits of food.

#### Step 2: Gather materials.

• Outdoor items of different sizes (e.g., sticks, rocks, leaves, flowers, trees)

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

#### Step 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Taking a walk in the stroller: Enjoy a walk outside together as you notice and talk about things that are BIG and LITTLE. To help an infant begin to understand BIG and LITTLE, show the infant common objects in the environment two a time. For example, point out a BIG tree and a LITTLE tree or a BIG flower and a LITTLE flower. Encourage the infant to look from one to the other as you describe the size of each tree or flower.  Show the infant two rocks, one BIG and one LITTLE, or two sticks, one BIG and one LITTLE, and allow the infant to hold and explore the objects with his/her hands. MAKE SURE NONE OF THE OBJECTS PRESENT CHOKING HAZARDS. As the infant looks, touches and explores the objects, name the items and describe them as BIG or LITTLE.

## Outdoor Play: Big/Little

### Lesson plan for infants 12 to 18 months

#### Step 1: Review developmental stage: 12 to 18 months.

Play: At the beginning of this stage, many infants are imitating the use of everyday objects such as cups and spoons. This moves into early pretend play, when the infant may feed you or pretend to drink from a cup or eat off of an empty spoon. They also are great imitators and may enjoy imitating daily activities. They may enjoy putting multiple objects into containers and systematically searching for hidden toys and objects. Many infants will pat pictures in books and sometimes vocalize while looking at books.

Communication: At the beginning of this stage, many infants begin to respond to one-step directions such as: “Give me the ball.” They may need gestures to help them understand the direction. At the end of this stage, many infants follow a related two-step direction without the help of gestures, such as: “Get the ball and give it to Daddy.” They may be pointing to ask for wants and needs and to ask you to name objects. At around 12 months of age, many infants say one to three words on their own and, by the end of this stage, may say up to 15 words or more. Many infants play turn-taking games at this stage.

Motor: At the beginning of this stage, many infants are crawling and cruising to get around and, by the end of this stage, infants are walking with good balance. They may also enjoy walking while carrying large objects and pulling toys. When given a crayon for the first time, they may mouth the crayon or mark the paper. By the end of this stage, many infants are scribbling on paper. They may be starting to scoop food with a spoon and actually get some to their mouths. Infants may also be using a straw or an open cup to drink.

#### Step 2: Gather materials.

• Outdoor items of different sizes (e.g., sticks, rocks, leaves, flowers, trees)
• Sand buckets of different sizes

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

#### Step 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Playing outside in the yard or the park: Infants at this age love to collect items found in their environments. Together with the infant, collect sticks, rocks and leaves of all different sizes. Place all of the items in a big pile. Allow the infant to play with the objects and put them in containers and take them out again. While the infant is playing with the collection of sticks, rocks and leaves, talk about the sizes of the objects in relation to each other. Use the words BIG and LITTLE to describe each item as the infant puts the items in containers or lines them up on the ground. When and if the infant lines the items up on the ground, line up some items of your own on the ground in order from BIGGEST to LITTLEST. Point out the BIGGEST item and the LITTLEST item to the infant. Continue the game until the infant loses interest. At the end, sort the objects by size with the infant, placing the BIG items in the BIG buckets and the LITTLE items in the LITTLE buckets to save for another day.

#### Reflections on this lesson

How might you teach the math lesson BIG-LITTLE during other daily activities and routines?

What books do you have in your child care setting that reinforce the math concept of BIG-LITTLE?

What songs or finger plays do you typically use in your child care setting that reinforce the math concept of BIG-LITTLE?