I recently noticed one of these opportunities while playing a card game with R. Game time is a learning opportunity in itself, of course. No matter what game is played, a lesson in sportsmanship is always possible. And because I use game time as a chance to model good behavior for both winning and losing, we often keep score.
This particular day, R decided to keep score using his abacus. As he moved and counted the beads, I was struck by the learning potential. He was counting and subtracting as he tallied up the score and discovered who was ahead and by how much. This small activity was adding a math element to another part of his day without him even realizing it.
To take this a step further, I suggested we make each game won worth more points. Instead of each hand being worth one bead, now they were worth two. Who would be the first to get to 20 points? Now he was practicing skip-counting. The abacus is perfect for skip-counting because it's a very hands-on way to practice. And he loved practicing!
Don't have an abacus? You could keep score on a piece of paper or chalkboard instead. That would be a great reason to practice tally marks!
What are some ways you encourage learning through play?
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