Sunday, February 2, 2014

Marshmallow Math

It's a marshmallow world in the winter
When the snow comes to cover the ground…

Those song lyrics became reality this past week for so many children who don’t normally experience snowy weather.  Children were excited to roll snowballs, stomp in the powder, and make snowmen with “carrot faces.”

We are always fans of connecting children’s excitement with the goals of pre-school. Use the fun of marshmallow math and art to recreate and enjoy the wintry experience.

Show children pictures of snowmen in books or walk around your neighborhood to look at snowmen.

Ask them to describe how snowmen are made. As you do this focus on three balls of snow. Ask them to find other groups of three: 3 houses, 3 swings, 3 shovels, etc. The key is to verbalize an understanding of 3.   

When you get back in the warmth of your home or school, ask your children to count out 3 large marshmallows and build a marshmallow snowman. To make it sturdier, an adult might help by putting a toothpick through the marshmallows. Be careful!

Extend the experience by having children make 3 snowmen, with 3 marshmallows. Ask, “How many marshmallows in all?”  When we provide concrete experiences like this we are setting the stage of beginning multiplication!

To continue the marshmallow/snow theme, put miniature marshmallows in a bowl.

Ask your child to reach in and grab a handful.

Ask your child (children) to estimate how many marshmallows he/she has in hand. Then count them.

Next ask your child to try and grab more marshmallows. Some children may even use 2 hands! Count to check that the estimate is correct.

Finally, integrate art into your snowy day fun. Draw an outline of a cup. Have your child use a brown crayon, marker, or paint to make hot chocolate.

Ask your child how many marshmallows he/she would like to put into the cup. Have the child count this number. Then glue them into the cup to make a 3D art presentation of a snowy day treat!

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