Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Greater Than Jumping Game: A Frugal, Fun Approach to Early Math Skills and Sensory Diet Heavy Work

Last week, before Hurricane Irene came in with all her wind, rain and downed limbs, the weather was absolutely ideal.  So, the kids and I spent long hours outside in the yard.  During much of this time, the children were thoroughly engaged in undirected play, which is just the way I feel summertime should be.  Kids should be allowed the time and freedom to pursue their own creative endeavors and explorations.  Well, usually, they should.

Sometimes, parents do have to step in.

For example, when I noticed one day that Like was not getting enough natural Heavy Work through his self-directed choices of activities, I knew I had to find a way to weave some in.  Thus, was born our Greater Than Jumping Game.

On a recent trip to take advantage of back-to-school deals at Staples, I bought some deeply discounted Trend Enterprises Pocket Flash Cards in order to encourage Luke and Nina to recognize their numbers better.  Since my rule had been that we neither open nor use any new back-to-school materials until Luke’s first official day of Kindergarten, I knew that the children would be psyched if I made an exception and eager to do anything I suggested once I brought out the cards.  So, bring them out I did.  And, soon after, we spontaneously created a little game the kids have literally been jumping for ever since. 


Here’s a brief how-to on how to play our


 Greater Than Jumping Game


  • a deck of number cards (purchased or handmade)

  • a mini-trampoline (mattress, couch or any jumping surface)


  1. Have each child draw a random card and read the number on it.

  2. Lay out the drawn cards and decide which one is greater than the others.

  3. Have the child who drew that card jump on the trampoline the number of times indicated while the other chid(ren) count the jumps.

  4. Play again and again, getting lots of number recognition and jumping in.


  • Pincer Grasp (at times, for drawing cards)
  • Number Recognition
  • Number Value
  • Gross Motor
  • Motor Coordination/Motor Planning

Quick Tips/Extensions

  • To help children gain confidence, begin by using only a small amount of cards – say cards for 1-10.  Then, gradually increase the number you use.
  • After all the cards have been drawn, challenge children to lay them out in order from lowest to highest or to sort them into odds and evens.
  • With one child, simply be the “second player” yourself.
  • Extend math concepts and increase jumping time by having children add the cards drawn together and jump however many times the sum is.
  • Get even more vestibular and proprioceptive action in by incorporating this activity as a part of an obstacle course.

What movement-based ways do you encourage math literacy?
Do you have a great frugal and fun activity to share?
Please share your ideas or links. 

This post is being shared at Homeschool Creations Preschool Corner
where you can find links to lots of fun Pre-K and 5K ideas.


Peterson Party said...

Great game! My oldest daughter loves incorporating physical activities in with her learning games.

Laura said...

Oh, I love this. How perfect for my VERY active son :)


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