Math Play with Natural Loose Parts

Posted by: Rhonda August 11, 2020

We are approaching the time of year in which nature generously replenishes its available loose parts. Leaves fall, acorns drop, seed pods form, and there is no end to the natural materials you can collect for free just in your backyard.

“One area of early learning particularly suited for the use of these materials is math,” writes Dorie Ranheim. “There is a myriad of questions that can be asked to guide children’s thinking. For example, What did we find the most of? Tell me about your stick. Can you find something longer? Which rock is heavier? Through these playful interactions, rich math language flows and becomes part of the child’s vocabulary.

“You can also use loose parts to model mathematical skills like how to count acorns using one-to-one correspondence, how to create a pattern with fall leaves, or how to measure by comparing two feathers. All the foundational areas of early math can be explored in a playful way using natural loose parts.” More ideas here.