Thursday, December 19, 2013

Danino Bowling and Preschool Math

Now, that we have collected enough Danino bottles, we could finally set up a game of bowling. We used 6 for this game, but I guess any number works. This game turned out so "well rounded": Santino got to run, work on his gross motor skills, have fun and practice math!

The first part of the game was simple "bowling": we arranged our "bowling pins" in a triangle and used a small rubber basketball as a bowling ball.

As Santino got better after every shot, he was able to knock them all down pretty soon. That was fun! Plus, he didn't stop running, back and forth, back and forth. Energizer bunny.

Then he started arranging the pins in a straight line instead of a triangle, and that gave me an idea. I got him to sit down for a minute, to concentrate on the new rules. It is not an easy task, you know, to get a 3 year old boy to sit down in the middle of running! Even then, it took me a few times to repeat myself for him to hear what I was suggesting, as he was too excited, yelling and screaming "my bowling ball!".

I managed to get through my new idea: I said, let's count all the pins first. We counted them together, and found out there were 6 pins. Now, I said, go shoot the ball, and we will count how many pins you knock over. So, he made his shot, and got 3 pins down.

We counted how many fell, then we counted how many were left standing. I said "we had 6 pins standing, now 3 fell down, how many are left standing?" We counted them and found out there were 3. "So, I said, six minus three equals three."

It took us more tries, more counting the same scenario, over and over. If he knocked over 1 or 2 pins, or 4 or 5, it was always the same: how many pins do we have, how many fell, how many left standing? I realize, it is probably an advanced activity for a little guy, but he got it!


The "zero" concept was still beyond him. Even though I explained many times, if he didn't knock over any pins, "how many pins fell down? If none, then it is zero". He just wouldn't remember this. I am not sure why. Maybe his mind was too busy having fun and running back and forth, or maybe he was getting it, just didn't bother telling me, whatever it was, he didn't get the "zero".

 Next time, hopefully?

After we got comfortable counting pins by ones, I showed how to count them in twos, or pairs. This was easier for him, as it is not a completely new concept. We did practice counting in pairs and fives and tens before. I noticed, that Santino often doesn't show that he is registering my explanations, but spits them out later like he always knew them.

So, there you have it. A game for exercising both body and mind. Now I am looking for another active game idea!