Math for all Seasons
The four seasons provide lots of reasons to explore math! Encourage your child to notice patterns of change with the seasons by asking questions such as:
- Is it getting lighter or darker at bedtime?
- How do the plants change at this time of year? What will happen next?
- Is it colder or warmer today? How can you tell?
- Is it likely to be colder or warmer tomorrow?
Involve your child in planning a seasonal party or special event:
- Ask them how long it is until a special day.
- When buying gifts, ask them what kind of gift they can buy for various amounts of money.
- Sort gifts by size (volume) or weight (mass).
- When wrapping gifts, ask: “How much wrapping paper do you need? How much ribbon will you need? Will the gift fit in this box? What shape is this gift?”
- Count down the days to a special event or day using counters such as blocks, stickers or Popsicle sticks.
Count the days:
- Ask how many days your child has been in school.
Play with leaves:
- Sort leaves by shape, size, and colour Count how many are in each group.
- Compare groups of leaves. Ask which group has more or fewer or the same number of leaves.
- Use string to measure around the leaves.
- Ask your child to find a leaf that is the same size as his or her hand, or one that is bigger or smaller..
- Ask how many leaves your child thinks he or she can hold in one hand (estimate). Or estimate how many leaves are in a patch on the ground.
- Ask which pumpkin is the heaviest or biggest.
- Carve shapes into a jack-o-lantern.
- Sort pumpkins by size (for example, from largest to smallest, or from least amount of green to most amount of green).
- Estimate the seeds, then count. How close was the estimate?
Sort Halloween treats:
- Ask your child to divide into the ones they like most and the ones they like the least..
- Put the treats into groups (organized by shapes, size, or type).
- Ask your child to take one group of treats and make it into two different groups.
Count the days (again):
- Ask your child how many days he or she has been in school.
- Ask how many days it is until winter break.
Notice the holiday lights:
- Look for patterns in holiday season lights. Ask which colour they see most often. Are there different shapes in the decorations?
Take advantage of the snow or rain:
- Ask how many days were sunny this week and how many days were rainy.
- Ask about puddles: “How deep is this puddle? Which puddle is the deepest? Which puddle holds the most water?”
- Ask how much water or snow your child thinks has fallen today.
- Ask which boots, coat or mittens will fit: “Which ones are the right size? Which mittens match?”
- Play in the snow. Build a snow fort. Build a snowman. Compare and order snowballs by size.
- Make a path in the snow to a car or tree or sidewalk. Ask how many boot prints it took.
Listen to the birds:
- Listen to bird songs. Ask: “What pattern do you hear? Can you repeat it?”
Count and measure in the garden:
- Compare different plants by asking which seed they think will grow into the biggest plant.
- Measure plant growth. Ask if this plant will grow higher than your knee.
- Choose the right size of vase to put flowers in.
- Sort flowers by size or colour.
- Count birds and sort seeds.
- Have your child throw a baseball. Ask how many steps away the ball is.
- Order different balls by size – marble, golf, tennis, softball, soccer, for example.
Measure while playing:
- Ask your child to guess how far he or she can run in 30 seconds. Then run and compare the guess with the actual distance.
- Ask your child to estimate how many steps to the playground.
- Ask how many scoops of sand are in one pail.
- Measure the longest throw or the furthest kick by number of steps.
- Ask your child if there are more people in the water or on the beach.
- Ask your child to look for patterns in shells, beach balls and beach towels. Arrange shells in patterns. Ask what comes next.
- Ask your child to sort shells in different ways and tell how they are sorted.
- Have your child draw and copy patterns in the sand. Ask what comes next.