I must have spent most of the time from when T was born until she turned 2 and a half, saying to one child or the other “use your kind hands, as they would be hitting, pushing and pinching each other half the time. As this week’s #playfulpreschool theme is Kindness, I thought it would be fun to use kind hands as inspiration for some learning. Again we are focusing on maths skills and knowledge like last week’s Pancake Shape Toss.
Measuring is one of the areas that early years numeracy in the UK focuses on – the language used and some idea of standard and non-standard units of measuring. As a child, I was always fascinated by what people did before there were standardized measures. How could more than 1 person work on a huge project (like building the pyramids) when, according to my history lessons at school, they used measurements like fingers, palms and short cubits (distance from finger tip to elbow) to measure with? Yes, logic tells me that they must have marked these out for big projects, but it was still fun to think of the chaos that would have ensued if everyone used their own measurements. We decided to take this idea of measuring, and use our kind hands to measure how tall we are, and then took the opportunity to write ideas for acts of kindness that we can do.
- Measure using non-standard units
- Talk about acts of kindness
Measuring with kind hands
Start off by drawing around your child’s hand – it’s fun to try and see your child trace around their own hand if they’re old enough to. We drew around T’s hand 3 times before she became bored of having her hand drawn around.
With the 3 different hands I quickly cut them out and used them as templates to produce more hands. T enjoyed drawing around the template hands and as I made them. She also used a piece of paper and made some of her own.
With a pile of hands, I made 4 sheets of paper, each with between 4 and 6 hands on them because I figured T would be approx. 4 sheets of paper tall (isn).
I got her to lay down on the floor and I said “we’re going to measure how many of your hands tall you are”. She’s very into measuring her height at the moment as she’s now taller than her older brother. Because she likes to keep checking to see if she’s still taller than him, she found this idea quite fun.
I laid the cut-out kind hands in a row beside her, and she counted them out as we laid them down. She was 10 kind hands tall. She then wanted to measure me with her kind hands. I was apparently 100 hands tall (everything at the moment is 100).
With the number of hands known we then sat down and chatted about kind things that she could do for her family, friends and animals. She came up with 10 different things including “Take the dog for a long walk”, “Be helpful so mummy doesn’t have to shout” and “Share the slide”.
- Is everyone the same hands tall using their own kind hands? If you’re doing this with a group of children or even with your family, repeat the drawing of the hands, and then measure each other.
- Graphing the number of hands: graph or produce a chart showing how many kind hands tall that people are. Are most people the same height of hands or is everyone different?
Other hands on maths activities for preschoolers
Kindness themed posts from the #playfulpreschool team
Check out these other fantastic learning and creative ideas for preschoolers this week as part of the playful preschool team.
Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.