Family Maths

The Butterfly Wings

International Year of Maths of Planet Earth

theme for November




This is a family 
hold up one hand, fingers spread

Let's count them and see,
How many are there?
And who they can be? 

Count fingers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This is the mummy

Touch pointer finger
Who loves everyone
And this is the daddy

Touch big finger
Who is lots of fun.

This is my sister (brother)

Touch ring finger
She helps and she plays,
This is the baby

Touch little finger - pinkie
He's growing each day.

But who is this one?

Touch thumb
He's out there alone,
Why it's Charlie, the dog,
And he's chewing a bone.
Wiggle thumb.
Source - Preschool Rainbow 

0-5 years – Hold your child’s hand gently and tell them you are going to do the rhyme “Here is a family”.  Follow the actions in the rhyme and when you touch each finger gently squeeze the finger three times moving up the finger – a finger massage technique.  Use different voices for each family member especially the baby!  Over time encourage your child to join in with the rhyme and ask them which finger is which person and continue the rhyme.  Substitute the name of your dog if you have one or choose a pretend dog’s name each time you recite the rhyme.  Always use both hands – repeat this rhyme at least twice each session.  Some children do not have a dominant hand in the early years so each hand should get similar stimulation!! 


(Action rhyme)

Here are grandma's glasses

Hands make circles for glasses on eyes

And here is Grandma's hat,

Hands touch over the head

 This is the way she folds her hands

And puts them on her lap.


Here are Grandpa's glasses,

Here is Grandpa's hat,

This is the way he folds his arms

And has a little nap.

Making loud snoring noises!


Watch this rhyme on You-tube !!!!!

0-5 years – Follow the actions in this rhyme and chant it facing your child – looking into their eyes! Encourage your child to participate in the rhyme when they are ready – doing the actions, finishing each line eg Here is Grandma’s ____?  Don’t wait too long but just say the word if they are not ready.  Lots and lots of repetition helps your child to learn the words in the rhyme building up their vocabulary.  


Young children learn about their world through exploration, play and hands-on experiences with objects.  By manipulating objects, children build visual images of mathematical ideas such as numbers, shape, pattern and size which helps them deal with increasingly abstract
ideas when they go to school.

In the early years children need access to a wide range of hands-on materials which challenge their thinking and develop their problem solving skills.  Activities such as simple puzzles and ‘posting’ boxes for shapes are ideal for young learners and experiences with counters and other manipulative materials help build ideas about number, pattern and measurement.

It is importance to note that just giving children the manipulative materials will not lead to mathematical learning.  It is the questions asked of the children and the interactions between adults and the child as they explore and use the material which leads to the development of mathematical ideas and thinking.

Many useful learning resources can be readily sourced from around the house. 
Children do not need expensive toys and games to build early mathematical ideas. 
They can learn to count by using pegs, bottle tops, shells, toys or straws and can learn to recognise numbers by using an old calendar or having numbers pointed out in the environment – on car registration plates or street signs.


Boxes and other containers help children learn about shapes, sizes and they benefit from building and stacking them.  Containers can also be used in sand and water play and
other materials to explore measurement.

Every day text such as supermarket junk mail, maps, cereal boxes, milk cartons are all useful resources to talk with children about numbers, shapes, locations and measures……….

Young children benefit from access to and interactions with a wide range of physical resources for learning early mathematics.  However, any amount of materials will not replace quality interactions between adults and children which are vital in maximising learning opportunities.


Adapted from article “Using appropriate resources to assist in developing mathematical ideas”  by Denise Neal found at: 



The Butterfly Wings Team would like to encourage families and early year’s educators to use picture books as a starting point to develop mathematical ideas
and to play with mathematical concepts.

We would like to:

THE DOORBELL RANG by Pat Hutchins 

Watch a retelling of the book “The Doorbell Rang” by Pat Hutchins
at Story Book Readalong or a video by Simitri Crane

When the Doorbell Rangis a book about sharing and friendship. The mother in the story bakes 12 cookies for her two children which equals 6 cookies each. They talk about how they look and smell as good as their grandma's, but the mum says "no one makes cookies like Grandma" and then the doorbell rings. Two friends stop by and now they can each have three cookies each. The doorbell continues to ring until there are 12 children at the table each with one cookie. The doorbell rings again, but this time it's their Grandma with more cookies and now the children can have more than one, just like they were going to before. It's a good book to show children about the importance of sharing and having friends to share with.

This review found at GOOD READS.

The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins is a book about sharing – a mathematical concept that most children understand but are sometimes not willing to do!!!  Make some cookies with your child and act out this wonderful story using family members or some toys.  It will be become a family favourite especially if you use cookies each time you read it!!  


The Shoe Game

All family sit in a circle and take off one shoe.  Children hide their eyes as someone hides all the shoes.  The children must find a shoe that DOES NOT belong to them and bring it back to the circle.  When all the shoes have been found, someone asks a child/adult whose shoe they found.  Child looks around the circle to determine who is wearing a shoe that matches the one he found.  When he finds the owner, he returns the shoe, and that child now must find the owner of the shoe she has found.  This activity leads to lots of conversation regarding sorting, matching and size.  You could play this game at a birthday party!

What Does Not Belong

Gather clothing items from home.  Play a game "What does not belong". 
For example, place out a winter coat, along with a pair of shorts, a pair of sandals and swimmers. Ask your child what does not belong, and why?

Whose Shoes
Fill a box with a variety of pairs of shoes. Include children's shoes, adult shoes, boots, slippers, athletic shoes, sandals, work shoes, and others.  Dump out all the shoes on the floor and mix them up. Take turns finding 2 shoes that match, then tell who would wear them, when they would be worn, and what the person would do while wearing them – lots of storytelling – the sillier the better!!!  Count the shoes, put the shoes in patterns, put the shoes from biggest to smallest – all early maths concepts.

What will you wear?  

Simple game for selecting different clothes for different weather conditions.

What will Bella wear oh? What will Bella wear?  What will Bella wear – on a sunny day?
Substitute your child’s name.

Dressing Up at Home

Dressing up can create fond memories. Allow siblings to switch clothes or open up parents' closets for children. Have each child dress as a family member and then take turns guessing. Allow children to "dress-up" mum or dad with silly outfits.


Clothing Races

Create clothes races for older children. Line up socks or shoes, shorts, jackets and hats about a metre away from each other. Start the children at one end at the clothing line and have a race to the finish line. Whoever gets dressed and runs the fastest, wins.