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Incorporating Math into Gross Motor Play

Reflections from the Field

Preschool teacher Jessica Abildgaard describes how she incorporated a sorting activity in an obstacle course using toy trucks to suit her student's developmental needs. In order to prepare her students for kindergarten, she wanted to strengthen their numeral identification and sorting skills while incorporating gross motor play. Jessica explains how combining physical movement with exciting materials can increase student's mathematical enhancement in fun and creative ways.

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  • Video Transcript for Incorporating Math into Gross Motor Play

    This video has captions. You can turn them on by clicking the CC icon at the bottom of the video.
    Download a transcript of this video in English or Spanish .pdf format.
    Child: I’m going to get all the orange. Teacher: And the yellow?

    Jessica Abildgaard, Teacher, The Darcey School: We had a very distinct area, more or less like an obstacle sort of thing in which to move the trucks around and then given the needs of many kids in the class who will mostly be moving on to kindergarten, we incorporated some math based activities. We created a block type puzzle where they needed to move the trucks around and then fill the order and match and to create the puzzle.

    So choose a puzzle. Alright and talk to me about what you need.

    Jessica Abildgaard: The truck drivers needed to fill their order. So the number cards might say two blue, three orange. They would come, they would count, and load their truck.

    Child: One, two, three.
    Jessica: You got it. Yeah, perfect.

    Jessica Abildgaard: Then bring them to the work area to sort and place the blocks on the puzzle.

    Jessica: How many blue?
    Child: Three.
    Jessica: Three blue. And?
    Child: Two green.
    Jessica: Two green. And?
    Child: Two orange.
    Jessica: And two orange. Perfect job.

    Jessica Abildgaard: Many of the kids at that point in time didn’t have strong numeral ID. They had the sorting, and through that, we figured out how we could build upon that. Each individual truck driver is doing the counting and the order filling, take their order back up and place those things on the puzzle.
    It was a great activity, and it’s a doable activity, really in any situation, the math, the counting, the sorting. So there was a lot going on.

    © 2017 Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University.
    May be reprinted for educational purposes.
  • Videography, Editing, Scriptwriting: Sean Leser
  • The Center wishes to thank the Darcey School in Cheshire, Connecticut, for their cooperation in the making of this video, and cooperating teacher Jessica Abildgaard. The development of this video was funded by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood.