# Standard: 6D

Compare quantities using appropriate vocabulary terms.

## Apples and Oranges

In this lesson, children will begin to develop an understanding of separating a set into a maximum of four parts.

## Chrysanthemum

In this lesson, children will use the number of letters that they have in their names to count and graph and then compare and contrast.

## Dots of Fun

In this lesson, children will explore the concept of addition by counting the dots on a domino.

## Groovy Buttons

In this lesson, children will read a book about Pete the Cat. As Pete loses the buttons from his shirt, the children will count down from four to zero.

## LEGO Math

In this lesson, children will practice counting and adding whole numbers using LEGO blocks.

In this lesson, children will place shoes in order by size.

## Telling Time

In this lesson, children will tell time to the hour and recognize the times that they engage in familiar activities.

## The Tiny Seed

In this lesson, children will count the seeds by ones and twos and then put the packets in order from smallest to largest and vice versa.

## What’s in a Name?

In this lesson, children will count, compare, contrast and graph the number of letters in their names.

## The Magic of Magnetism

“Look!” squeals three-year-old Eleanor.  “I can pick up these two balls! It’s magic!” Have you ever seen young children playing with magnets? The “magical” properties of magnets never fail to captivate early learners and spark a play buzz! Children learn by investigating, observing and figuring out how things work. Magnets fuel that curiosity in […]

## Flower Power in the Outdoor Classroom

“Look, look! Come and see what is inside this flower!”  It’s a warm, late-spring day and our friends are scattered around the yard, discovering the new surprises that have popped up overnight. The flowers are finally showing their beautiful blooms! “Is it a bumblebee?” I ask. They look at me—their eyes big with wonder. […]

## Rocking through Early Learning Standards

Rock balancing or CAIRNS has found its way into our play again this week! Stacking and balancing rocks encourages math and science investigations that are always developmentally appropriate. My adrenaline starts flowing and a smile grows on my face when a two-year-old child exhibits an innate sense of how to balance many more rocks […]

## Playing with Sticks

If you’ve been fortunate enough to visit The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, or driven by the Arboretum on Interstate 88, you may have spotted Joe the Guardian, a 20-foot-tall, spear-wielding troll peering down at the passing cars from atop his grassy berm. Joe is just one of six towering troll statues created by […]

## Nest Building is STEM Building

“I found an empty nest! Can we keep it?” Owen’s joyful discovery captures everyone’s attention. Three-year-old Avery comes running. “Are there eggs?” she asks her older and wiser five-year-old friend. “Can I see?” she begs. “Please let me see?” “There are no eggs, just an old nest. Can we please keep it?” pleads Owen. After […]

## Water Play!

“It works! The water is coming out!” Rokia cannot contain her excitement as the discovery of a full rain barrel adds a new avenue of discovery and learning for our week. “How did you do that? Can I have a turn? Get a bucket!” The excitement builds as so many little brains begin to […]

## Return of the Sand Gardens

“I found GOLD!” squeals Laura. Four little friends are quick to join her in the latest gold rush in the sandbox. In the wee hours of the morning, often when the sun is barely above the horizon and the coffee is still being brewed, gold will magically appear in our sandbox. Spray-painted rocks that […]

## May the Force be With You

“Look! The people blocks are in a line and they crash at the bottom,  just like when we play on the slide!” This is a lightbulb moment as Evelyn transfers knowledge gleaned from a previous play experience into her current hands-on learning. A chain-reaction domino fall during today’s block play reminds Evelyn of […]

## Squirrely STEAM Learning

“If the squirrel comes down from this direction, we can trap him under here!” yells Elliot. The playground equipment sits empty as Elliott, Harper and their fellow “squirrel trappers” congregate at the base of a towering oak tree in our neighborhood park.  The children have long been captivated by this venerable old oak, which has […]

## Rock and Roll

One bright fall morning, I notice that the noise level at Under the Gingko Tree is exceptionally low. A quick glance around reassures me that all of my early learners are safe and accounted for. Then I notice a quiet but intense play buzz happening in our rain garden, so I wander over to […]

## Frosty the STEM Snowman

“Look! The snow packs!  Let’s make a snowman!” Today’s sunshine and rising temperatures have transformed yesterday’s powdery snow into packable fun—ushering in an afternoon of playful math and science learning. These are the times when I love to pull out my camera to document the many foundation-building moments that find their way into our play. […]

## Finding STEM in Snow Play

After months of sequestering and social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19, we could all use some fresh winter air! Nature is just what the doctor ordered to stimulate our senses while we meet our early learning standards. The winter months offer an abundance of STEM learning opportunities, so don’t let the falling […]

## The Magical Field of Magnets

” Hey guys! Look over here! My magnet sticks to the bike!” On this warm November morning, our magnetic wands have brought STEM learning to our outdoor classroom. By leaving the other magnetic materials behind, I am hoping to encourage the children to harness their curiosity and creativity for other forms of magnetic exploration. […]

“Do our shadows look like the monsters in the book?” asks James. I glance over and see James and Noa connecting their shadows by overlapping their arms. When we engage children in outdoor shadow play to support active exploration and discovery, their creativity is endless! James and Noa are playing out their version of […]

## Finding STEM in Squirming Worms

“AAAAUUUUGHHHHHHH! Worms! Look, look! They are everywhere!” Eleanor is jumping up and down hysterically. Nothing will bring our crew running faster than a good worm sighting! Let the earthworm exploration begin. We love worms! Last spring, we witnessed an unusual natural phenomenon as a mass of earthworms wiggled out of their subterranean homes in […]

## STEM Building in the Window Frame

“AUGGGHHHH!” I hear screams, a crash and giggles galore. The joy of Magna-Tiles® has returned to our ever-popular window-stacking play. When these colorful magnetic tile mosaics come crashing down from the window frame, the children respond with laughter and joy. By contrast, the collapse of three-dimensional block formations often elicits groans and tears. Something […]

## STEM in the Bird Feeder

“I see the daddy cardinal, do you know where the mama bird is?” Four-year-old Noah, binoculars in hand, is busy counting birds in our outdoor classroom. Are you aware that the annual Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up later this week? This is a great opportunity to create a bird-watching station and knock out […]

## Ramps, Inclines and STEM in the Great Outdoors

“Hey, Hudson! How did you do that?” Eleanor is amazed at Hudson’s success as he races a car down the ramp. This is the same car that she couldn’t get to stay on the ramp just minutes earlier. I listen as Hudson turns the car over and explains, “See those wheels? The front ones […]

## STEM + Beanbags = F U N!

I recently grabbed our dusty box of beanbags off of the top shelf of the closet and took the beanbags outside. We rarely played with them indoors, so what was I saving them for?  If a beanbag gets lost or forgotten under the plants and soaked in the rain, who cares? At least it […]

## Rainy-Day Block Play

Today’s dark skies and heavy rain have driven us indoors for what started out as a low-energy day. But now it’s even quieter—as in “too quiet.” I can feel my anxiety rising. But as I look around and see the children engaged in deep, calm block play—with wooden blocks strewn all over our classroom—I break […]

## Creating STEM Environments with Loose Parts

As I look around me, I see busy, contented children. Jimmy and Tali are seeing how high they can stack their rocks. Eve and Noa are creating a tea party for fairies near the sandbox. Eleanor and Salli are creating homes and meals for the squirrels who frequent the rain garden. Everyone is happy and […]

## Spring Dandelion Day STEM Adventures

Each spring, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of the growing season—from the greening carpet of grass to the buds bursting into blossom on the trees. We especially delight in the dandelions that can turn any grassy area into a STEM wonderland! Dandelions introduce so many math adventures into our early childhood program. The neighborhood park […]

## A Small Whiff of STEM

“I smell cinnamon rolls!” exclaims Henry as he races through the gate towards our outdoor classroom. Everyone stops what they are doing to inhale deeply. “I do too! I want a cinnamon roll!” pleads Noah. My group is quite disappointed to learn that I am not baking cinnamon rolls this morning. The delicious cinnamon-roll […]

## T is for Teachable Moments

“Hey everybody! Look at all of the tomatoes that are ripe today!” shouts Jacob to the gang. “Can we eat them for lunch? Can we?” asks Lucus. “Can we eat them now?” pleads Elizabeth. It’s early September and preschoolers around the country are learning about apples, but we have tomatoes at our fingertips. The same […]

## STEM Play with Dominoes

“Hey, Evelyn!  Go get your cell phone and meet me at the stumps!” calls Noa. My head whirls around as I check the classroom to see if a cell phone has actually made its way into school today. Then I see Evelyn running to the basket of dominoes to get her “cell phone.” Whew! […]

## Full STEAM Ahead with Geoboards!

“Look what I made!” shouts Parker. Our moment of silent concentration and focus is interrupted by Parker ecstatically showing off her geoboard. “You made a house?” asks Linnea, looking a little wide-eyed and confused. “How did you do that?” “I just added shapes and it worked!” Parker answers, equally amazed by her own creation. “I […]

## Exploring Colors on the Light Table

As the days grow shorter and the slanting rays of sun that create our rainbows are replaced by clouds, we shift our energy to other forms of investigative play with light and color. “Saaliha, come play with me at the light table!” Nora calls out. Saaliha joins her friend and the STEM investigations into […]

## Baby, It’s Cold Outside

“LOOK! We have icicles!” “Can I have one?  I need one!” On this brisk winter morning—much to the children’s delight—nature has given us the gift of icicles. The children’s fascination with these frozen treasures leads to an abundance of “teachable moments” as we engage in some STEM learning while getting some fresh air and exercise. Soon […]

## STEM Soup!

“Who wants soup? I am making soup for lunch today!” Eleanor shouts to anyone willing to join her as she “cooks up” her concoction. Eleanor is our concoction wizard. She can often be found adding loose parts to a large pot of water, mixing away while she muses about the ingredients she needs to […]

## The Magic Tree

“Do you know about our Magic Tree?” four-year-old Rowan asks Alex. She pauses dramatically before passing on the secret of the beloved old tree that has long been a source of delight and inquiry for the children in our early learning program. “Watch, Alex!” she instructs. “I will push this stick into the tree, way […]

## The Name Game

Sing and clap along to the tune of “Bingo.”  There was a boy with dark brown eyes and Timmy was his name – O! T – I – M – M – Y, T – I – M – M – Y, T – I – M – M – Y and Timmy was […]

## Playful Math

“Can we play with those counting things today?” Two bubbly three-year-olds are standing in front of me with expectant smiles on their faces. I have absolutely no idea what they talking about—or what’s going on in those busy little brains, which I can almost hear whirring with activity. “What counting things are you looking […]

## What’s in YOUR Pocket? Collections in Early Childhood

Do you have collectors in your midst? Those young children who can turn a five-minute walk into a 15-minute treasure hunt? The children who fill their pockets with treasures and then load up your pockets with the overflow?  I love these kids. They can wreak havoc with our daily schedules, but they help us […]

## More Than a Card Game

“One, two, three, flip!”  “I win!” shouts Matif. Remember playing War as a child? It’s simple and fun and it teaches young children how to win and lose without a lot of drama. I love playing cards with young children because that little deck helps foster the development of early math and social-emotional skills […]

## Inch by Inch

We brought out the tape measurers this week.  Ah, nothing like a tool in the hand of young friends to get the juices flowing and the neurons firing up!  Playful math! Math that is done for no other purpose than the sheer joy and fun it brings. I don’t worry that they don’t understand the […]

## Dice Are Nice!

A pair of four-year-olds in my classroom are happily playing “dice wars,” a simple but fast-paced game. To play, each child rolls a die and the player who rolls the highest number wins. No one is keeping score today—and nobody seems to care who wins each round.  I watch as Juan shakes the die between […]

## Finding STEM in a Field of Sunflowers

“When we drive to school in the morning, the sunflowers are facing one way and when we drive home after school they are facing the other way. That’s because they always want to see where I am going!” brags Melania to the other children on the bus. “That’s not true,” grumbles Roberta, who is clearly […]

## Finding Math in a Field of Strawberries

“I’ll carry the biggest container,” volunteers four-year-old Matthew as the younger children fall in behind him. Picking strawberries during the first week of summer break is an annual tradition in our early childhood program. What better way to learn about counting, measuring and estimating than to get out in the fresh air and sunshine and […]