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Giant Chain Links

by Early Math Counts

Since I had my babies long ago, people have developed really interesting things to hang on strollers. We were lucky to have working harnesses so our babies didn’t fall out onto the street.  Nowadays, folks hang all sorts of stimulating and educational things from the tops of their strollers to keep their children’s attention and to keep them entertained.

Links are one of those really versatile manipulatives that children will play with throughout their young lives.  As infants, they will use them as chew toys as well as to connect their other toys to something.  Later, children will connect them to make chains that are “long” or “longest” or to go across the room.

They can also be used to show numerical differences over distance. For example, stretching a 10-link chain next to a 5-link chain shows that it is twice as long.  You can also explain that the 5 link chain is half as short.

Links provide children with a nonstandard unit of measure. Here is a great lesson plan that uses links as way to measure common household areas.

Click here to see a video of a child using large connecting links in a whole other way.


4 Replies to “Giant Chain Links”

  1. I believe and agree with this blog. I believe that during a child\’s infancy years it is important that children are exposed to all these different types of manipulates. These manipulates can help the child develop their skill sin math. Being that I am new to the field of education and have three years in counting of experience I feel that the earlier we teach children the better. Often times I have found that some of my colleagues will say \” I\’ll hold off on teaching the children (certain things) their to young they wouldn\’t understand. I tend to disagree with this a lot of the times because I believe that as long as the lesson is developmentally appropriate for the child\’s age exposing them to this will benefit them greatly. As a child growing up my mother has told me that at a very young age I began to count things around the house, my food and even cars that I would see pass by when we would go for a family drive. This all began in my mothers opinion because she would buy me manipulates like the toy chains and connectors. My mother would count whatever objects were on it and though I would just stare at my mother. I feel that this helped me develop my math skills which is why I began to count at a early age. This is something that in the future I hope to be able to do with my students and make the one subject that many people may find boring more fun. Its important that we as teachers find ways to be educational with children but also fun. I enjoyed this blog a lot and hope that other teachers will enjoy it as much as I did.

    1. I too, think \”the earlier, the better\” as long as it stays within the context of developmentally appropriate practice and a nurturing relationships. My guess is that you would listen to just about anything your mom said when you were an infant because she was your whole world. Her interactions with you were loving and nurturing first, counting and instructive second.

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