Five, Six, Pick-Up Sticks

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Nature is the perfect playground for children to learn in, which is a no-brainer because, of course, we evolved and learned to learn in… Nature! I was reminded again today that it’s all right there: sensory concepts, numbers, shapes, and so much more.

The first step of our project today, then, was simply to head out with a little bucket and collect anything that caught Veronika’s eye.

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We paused at intervals to discuss her collection or to organize it in various ways. She loved lining up sticks on this log, for example!

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Or playing with various sizes of pine cones.

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Don’t worry about curating your child’s collection. Simply add anything that he or she wants to the bucket, whether that means little pebbles (one of Veronika’s favorites), seed pods, sticks, leaves, grass, or anything else.

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Once home, we didn’t even have our shoes off before she dumped the collection on the floor.

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But that was just fine with me! I sat down with her to talk about everything we’d brought home. First we concentrated on size as I lined up the sticks. Could she find me the longest one? Yes!

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The shortest stick? Yes! I was really happy to see her mastery of this concept.

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We played around by subdividing her findings in different ways, whether by item, by color, by texture, and more.

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You can also use the opportunity to count. How many pebbles did we bring home? “One, two!” she told me.

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How many acorns? “Just one!” Then of course your toddler is simply going to want to play with all the treasures that have come home.

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