This fun activity teaches children the principles of grouping and multiplication. You will need:
A standard egg carton or muffin tin.
Dried beans, M&M’s or other small objects.
Cut off 2 of the egg cups so that you now have 10.
Count out 24 beans and ask your child the divide these in 6 cups so that the same amount is in each cup. When your child sees that 4 are in each cup, state the multiplication problem: “If we have 6 beans in each of these four cups, how many do we have in all?” Your child will answer “24″. Now restate the problem as: “6 x 4 = 24.”
Now have your child divide these 24 beans into 4 cups. State the problem: “4 x 6 = 24.” Your child is not only learning about grouping but also the commutative property of multiplication, that is, 6 x 4 = 4 x 6. The order of the numbers does not change the result: 6 x 4 = 24 and 4 x 6 = 24.
Addition is also commutative: 6 + 4 is the same as 4 + 6. The order does not matter: 6 + 4 = 10 and 4 + 6 = 10. Or 4 + 6 = 6 + 4.
Now divide these 24 beans into 8 cups. Next divide into 3 cups. Again repeat the multiplication problem: 8 x 3 = 24 and 3 x 8 = 24.
This fun activity is also teaching your child division as he/she is dividing 24 objects into 8 cups and so on. Your child will see that division is the inverse of multiplication: 24 divided by 8 = 3 and 3 x 8 = 24.
Continue this multiplication activity by counting out 12 beans and dividing in 4 cups etc. It is probably best to do a few of these a day so the activity remains fun. Activities such as this develop your child’s number sense.
Your kitchen is the heart of your home. It is also your “science lab” as this is where ingredients such as eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder and vanilla through the “magic of heat” become yummy cakes and cupcakes. Be sure to involve your children while baking. Not only are they learning about measuring but also combining ingredients in certain proportions. By asking your child to help double your recipe, you reinforce multiplication skills. Your child will see the value of multiplication in every day life.
Learning to follow a recipe also teaches your child about fractions. More on this in another blog.