For this activity we wanted the children to experience sound and color while having fun with math. The teachers placed a variety of colored tiles inside a large water tray and placed it on top of the light table. This allowed the tiles to illuminate under the water and enticed the children to practice their counting.
This provocation proved to be a big hit! Each child loved splashing the water in front of them and were able to work their fine motor skills as they reached steadily for the colored tiles. In doing so the children were exploring the effects of force as they splashed the water.
This activity also utilized sensory play with sound. As the children moved the tiles across the tray they listened to the clicking sound the tiles made. As they played and reached for the tiles they were able to incorporate their counting practice. Each tile that was picked was counted into the piles they made.
Making piles of the colored tiles helps the children to discern and understand the concepts of “less and more, many and few” and establishing these connections with numbers. By creating piles they were introduced to the concept of categories as well which helped them to distinguish the concept of quanitities. Using water with colored tiles encouraged the children to strengthen their hand muscles as they gripped the tiles to explore color and numbers in their play. According to Angie Dorrell, “water play is one of the most relaxing activities children can experience,” this is important for the children’s learning environment to know and feel they are in a safe space that welcomes creativity. These experiences also nurture social skills as children learn how to share space and materials with their peers throughout their experience. This provocation helped the children to develop their abstract thoughts of counting into a more concrete form by creating associations with colored tiles and water into their active play.
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