• Dr Helen J Williams

Two more home/school games for Reception - shape and space, and length

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

Two games to play in Reception over the next few weeks, that children can also play at home

Obviously, all our focus is on the wellbeing of our children, especially now, as many haven’t been attending school for a long period, a period which might well have been very traumatic for many.

The games I am posting in these blogs focus on our mathematical wellbeing – our children’s (and our) confidence and enjoyment in mathematics. Whilst giving us the chance to observe what they have remembered as well is what is a little more shaky.

As some of your class will be in school and some not, both of these games could be played equally well at home.

Or indeed over a video link with one person telling the other what to do with the resources. Or you could play against your ‘class’. Children playing in partners can be very powerful as they are encouraged to discuss what to do each time.

The first game, 'Make it the Same' focuses on children describing what they see. Children’s talk is closely linked to their cognitive development and we can see their thinking when they play this game.

Shape and space is not just about recognising and naming shapes, crucially it’s about recognising, describing and communicating position, images, similarities and differences.

To begin with, this game works best using familiar equipment.

The second game, 'Stick Race', is an outdoor game, where children line up sticks of different lengths to match a distance.

Make it the Same.

You need

2 identical sets of toys, for example: About 8-10 blocks or bricks of different shapes, a couple of play-people, a vehicle or two; one for each player, or pairs of players.

A ‘barrier’ to stand between you, perhaps a large hard-back book and two tea-trays or sheets of card.

To play

Make sure both players each have exactly the same toys. Stand up the barrier. Decide who starts. This player builds a secret, small world arrangement using all the toys on the tray or the card. When they are satisfied this is complete, they call back the other player.

They then give instructions to the Player 2 to make an identical arrangement.

Only Player 1 can peep over the barrier to check how the building is going, trying really hard not to touch or point!

When Player 1 is satisfied the two arrangements are the same, they call out “The same!” and the barrier is removed for them to compare.

Discuss what was helpful to hear. Swap roles and play again.

What happens if? …

You change the items? What about using Lego? or using pattern-making equipment? … if more people play?

What will you try now?

Stick Race

Firstly, go out and collect a pile of all sorts of length of stick. You also need chalk or similar to make a mark on the ground.

To play

This game is for 2 or more players. Mark a ‘Start’ line on the ground. Now mark a ‘Finish’ line. Between you, you are going to make a straight line of sticks to reach the Finish line.

Decide who starts.

The first person lays a stick with one end on the Start line.

Take it in turns to choose a stick and lay it down so one end touches the end of the last stick laid. keep taking it in turns until you reach the Finish. The winner is the person who lays the stick that is nearest to the Finish. The object is to choose your sticks carefully to get as close to the Finish line as possible - even touching it!

How many sticks did it take to reach from Start to Finish?

Play again.

How are you choosing your sticks each time?

What happens if? …

You change the Start and Finish lines? ... You each lay your own line? ... You don’t have to lay a straight line of sticks? What about playing with Lego? … What if more people play?

What will you try?

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