Wednesday, 17 April 2013

10 ways to use bottle tops for maths

Education doesn't have to be an expensive endeavor. Sure, there are some amazing resources out there that can be fairly costly but children don't need these things in order to learn. Take the simple bottled topsfor example. By recycling the bottle tops from your milk cartons, juice bottles and other types of containers you have a fantastic learning resource. Here are some ways you can use bottle tops for learning

Exploring Colours
You can use bottle tops to help build early maths concept of colour recognition, sorting and matching. By sorting the bottle tops into colour groups, we are learning to identify the colour as well as the name of the colour on the bottle tops. To make matching and sorting easier for my daughter (3yrs), we used these printable ice cream scoops from First-School Preschool Activities and Crafts

To make colour patterns with bottle tops, we started with two colours. Together my daughter and I made the colour pattern of green, yellow, green, yellow, green, yellow. I then got her to say the pattern with me (a few times) while we pointed to the bottle tops. She was then able to continue the pattern with the left over bottle tops.

I added three colours to our next pattern and we worked through the same process together by saying the pattern then working out what colour comes next. Patterns can be repeated with different coloured bottle tops to reinforce the concept of patterns. 

Number Recognition
We used foam number stickers to turn our bottle tops into a hands-on number resource. The first activity was all about number recognition by matching the bottle top to the number of the board. By recycling an old box, outlining the bottle top shapes then adding foam numbers, we made ourselves a number matching game. 

Ordering Numbers
We used the numbered bottle tops to order numbers from smallest to the biggest numbers.

Number Value
We also used more bottle tops to work on place value by looking at how many bottle tops we would need to represent each number. 

Bottle Top Stamps
Bottle top stamps are easily made by using foam letters and I glued the number backwards onto the top of the bottle top and then placed the same number inside the bottle top to create the stamps.

Using paint to dip our bottle top stamps into, we then make numbers with our paint while we play. This is a great sensory activity that also helps build fine motor skills as we play. We also have made alphabet bottle tops as well.

For older learners
My son is learning times tables at the moment so I used the same bottle top number idea to make a hands-on resource for learning his two times tables.  We first used the bottle top numbers for skip counting in two's before making multiplication sums.

Building and Construction
Building and constructing with bottle tops helps building problem solving skills. Stacking the bottle tops on top of each other is not always stable so working out other ways to build and designs structures makes playing and learning with bottle tops is lots of fun. 

If you would like to see more ideas on early counting, visit my pinterest board, Early Learning - Numbers.