Simple Math - 3 Bears Porridge

Friday, July 1, 2011

Imaginative play is a consistent favorite in our house, and Miss E enjoys acting out classic stories. We have been pretending the story, Goldilocks and The Three Bears. Sometimes when we play it, we make three bowls of porridge for the bears, and this incorporates math into our play.

She chooses three bowls from our messy but well stocked container cabinet, and I remind her that we need a small, medium and large bowl  for each bear.

I supply a dry ingredient (flour, cornmeal, or oats) and water. We talk about how many scoops of dry ingredients should go in each bowl. On her own, she decides Papa Bear gets the most scoops of cereal, and she usually puts 3-4 scoops in his bowl. Mama Bear receives less than Papa Bear, and she gets 2 scoops. She pours one scoop into Baby Bear's bowl.

She pours water in each bowl and stirs it up.

As she is preparing their porridge, she narrates the steps she is taking to ensure the bears get the proper amount and provides reasons. Papa Bear is bigger, and he eats more. Baby Bear doesn't really like to eat porridge, and he gets the smallest amount of porridge.

Making cereal for the Three Bears helps foster mathematical concepts such as measurement, volume, and comparing amounts. To extend this activity, we could write recipes for each bear's porridge. We could try to make this not conform to gender stereotypes and encourage our children to think about how Mama Bear may want to eat as much as Papa Bear or more because she could be more hungry and/or be larger than Papa Bear. This would help children learn about the concept of equal amounts in math. In addition to math skills, this activity helps children develop motor skills by pouring and scooping, and it helps increase literacy skills through storytelling.

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