I have been thinking how to teach simple Math concept through play that will interest both my 8 year old XX and 6 year old YH. I found so many resources in countless excellent blogs in the blogosphere. One of them is on learning the concept of Mass using Lego blocks, a hanger and simple objects (found in Frugal Fun for Boys blog). This is timely as XX happens to be learning Mass now.
First, get a hanger and 2 strings / ribbons. Then, with 1 string / ribbon, tie a Lego block as a starting piece so that later on more Lego blocks can be fixed to it and the other string / ribbon tied to any object that is not too heavy. Next, I got XX and YH to each draw a simple score board with 3 columns with the following:
XX and YH took quite some time to work on this score board, simply because they were busy decorating their score board, and we have not even started anything yet!
The kids enjoyed the activity and we tabulated the scores with guesses that have the correct answers. 2 points for the correct answer and 1 point for close to correct answer as a consolation.
Oh, and one interesting and unexpected learning from this activity is that when each child took turns to weigh their Lego blocks, they shifted the Lego string position. This resulted in off center balance of the hanger as the centre of gravity had shifted. When initially we saw that it took 10 Lego blocks to reach balance, it now could not balance and required 12 blocks instead due to the string shift. I had a good opportunity to demonstrate that the position of the strings at the 2 ends of the hanger was important in determining the balancing act of the object and the Lego blocks. And the kids were pleasantly surprised by this new finding!
Try it with your kids and you will be off to great, simple fun learning!