January 2009


Math Activities

Number Hunt - Take several lunch sacks and write different numerals on each one. Give each child a bag and challenge them to find a set and put it in the bag. Let children share what they have found with their friends. Have children return the objects to where they found them.

Hint! This can also be done with a partner or in small groups.

Graphing - Ask each child to find a leaf on the playground. Make a graph and have the children lay their leaf in the appropriate space. Compare quantities. *You could also graph children’s favorite outdoor game.

Geometry - Draw basic geometric shapes (square, triangle, rectangle, oval, rhombus, circle) on 6” cardboard squares. Pass out the shapes and challenge the children to find something on the playground with a similar shape.

*Divide children into small groups and let them make shapes with their bodies on the grass.

Counting - Children can count trees, fence posts, balls, bushes, and many other items on the playground.

*Have them estimate how many and then verify their guess by counting.

Patterns - Collect 5 or 6 leaves, rocks, sticks or other natural objects. Place a leaf, then a rock, a leaf, then a rock. “What will come next?” Let children make up their own patterns with objects in nature.

Measurement - Give children rulers and let them measure objects on the playground. “Can you find something 2” long? Can you find something smaller than an inch? What’s longer than 5”? How can you measure the slide?”


Sorting - Ask children to collect different items on the playground. (This will vary with the season and your habitat.) Put their objects together in a big pile. Ask the children to put the objects that are alike together.

Seriation - Collect sticks of different lengths and have the children put them in order from smallest to largest.

*They could also seriate leaves, rocks, etc.

Estimation - Fill a basket with rocks, pinecones, leaves, or other natural objects. Ask the children to estimate how many are there. Count the objects. Who guessed more? Who guessed less? Who was closest?

Dot to Dot - Take chalk and write numerals 0-20 randomly on a hard play surface. Children start with zero and run, hop, march, or skip to each numeral in order.

*Adapt the amount to the ability of your students.

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