This activity is pretty fun, helps your child practice matching skills and number recognition, helps your child practice large motor skills, and gets your kid/kids outside for a little while doing something fun and different.
Things You Will Need:
- Some Junk Mail
- A pretend car or child-sized, scooter, bicycle, tricycle or other "vehicle" for the postman. If necessary, the vehicle can be your child's own feet, but it is typically more fun in a "vehicle" with a basket, trunk or a satchel for transporting the parcels either attached to the vehicle, or safely worn by the child.
- Large Sharpie.
- "Mailboxes" - these can be actual boxes, big sheets of paper, or squares marked out with sidewalk chalk.
What to Consider:
The child will be "delivering" the mail to three or four "addresses" you create. The idea here is to practice matching in a fun way while also developing familiarity with numerals. If you have a two year old that is just getting to know and identify single digits, you'll probably want to make your addresses, single digit addresses. If, on the other hand, you have a four year old that is happily counting to 50 or more, you might want to make things more complex by adding a few more addresses and using numbers with three or more digits (112, 1043, 3260, and 1057) for example. It is not important that the numbers be sequential or realistic in terms of address proximity.
What to Prepare:
- Using the Sharpie, cross out any real addresses or anything that might become confusing for the child.
- In the largest area without text on the envelope or magazine write one of the numbers you have chosen. Make a few pieces of mail for each address. You can also use scratch paper or construction paper with a number taped to the envelope to "cover" confusing texts and pictures if you would like.
- Create your "homes" or "mailboxes" and make sure each has an address that clearly matches the mail you've made.
Shuffle the Mail, hand over to the postal worker and let the deliveries begin. Play along, wave to the post person, sign on a clipboard to accept a package delivery, involve the neighbor kids as "other neighbors" to receive mail. . . You get the idea.
You don't have to use this exercise only to practice math. It also works wonderfully with colors, shapes and anything else you might like to practice matching - just pretend the concepts to be matched are the address. You could even do an exercise with Capital Letters on the "homes" and their matching lower case versions on the "mail" to be delivered for pre-reading skills.