Family Birthdays are Full of Numbers

by Early Math Counts

Most early childhood classrooms have something akin to a “birthday board” posted somewhere on the wall for the children to see.  These usually consist of each child’s name and their birthdays written out, frequently on a cut-out of a birthday cake as a visual reminder of what these numbers mean. It might be interesting to add a new dimension to the traditional birthday board by including family members’ birthdays as well.

As a teacher, I was always looking for new and meaningful ways to represent number in the classroom.  It is tricky, as the young child cares little for random facts and figures, and cares deeply for information that pertains directly to them.  Now, it may be a reach to believe that a 3-year-old will be interested in the birthdays of his/her family members but it could be an interesting investigation, nonetheless. Once you have collected everyone’s special day, you could chart the frequency of birthdays in each month. You could count the moms who have birthdays in the summer and dads who have birthdays in the winter.  The possibilities are endless.

Before embarking on this, be sure that there are no children in your program who do NOT recognize birthdays for cultural/religious reasons.  It is best to be mindful of these children and skip this altogether, so as not to leave anyone out.


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