Math skills are intimately intertwined with those required for grasping science concepts. Outside, it is possible to use numbers to count things, and place them in order. Children may estimate quantities of rocks or trees by using their observational skills. The smooth stones a child gathers, the acorns another collects, the sticks or plastic cups in the sandbox, the number of children waiting to ride a new trike—all these give children something concrete to count. Children also classify the stones, insects, seeds, and acorns they find, or place them in order from smallest to largest, heaviest to lightest. Shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles can be used to describe many things that can be seen in the play yard, in the natural environment, or in buildings viewed from the outside.
Children learn about math and the physical world through materials, small pieces of equipment, and props that can be moved around and with which they can build and be creative. With movable equipment, children can construct their own play environments using boxes, boards, barrels, tires, and tubes.
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