Book Study: Exploring Mathematics Through Play

It’s time for our annual summer book study with Kindergarten Chaos! This year Abbie and I decided to a math book since there is so much information coming at us related to literacy and SOR. We thought we could all benefit from a summer of learning about math instruction! The book we chose is Exploring Mathematics Through Play In The Early Childhood Classroom.

The book is sold out on Amazon but it’s available for Kindle and on Google Books!

Here are my takeaways:

I think the most important takeaway from this chapter was to stop waiting for perfection. If we wait for perfection, we’ll never get better or grow. And guess what? It’s never going to be perfect. I’ve never had a perfect lesson or perfect day of centers. And that’s ok. That gives us space to grow and learn!


I love that this chapter was all about using what you already have. Think about it. How many manipulatives and Target mini-erasers do you have?! What about your school? Is there a closet full of stuff no one is using? I vividly remember a former school where a dumpster full of manipulatives was thrown away. I got everything I could but it was so heartbreaking to see all of that stuff just thrown out. Think about what you have and how you can use it for students to explore mathematical concepts! And what about at your house? Are any old blocks or Legos not being used? Grab those!

And guess what? Kids need explicit, whole-group instruction. Don’t skip it. This even applies to the manipulatives you use. In fact, the first few days of school our math lessons are just the kids playing with manipulatives while we go over the expectations for using them!

Another great takeaway from this chapter is the importance of choice! This can be accomplished with math centers or math tubs! During this time our kids get to choose the things they want to work on! They’re working on necessary math concepts while getting to do things they want!

Speaking of centers, make sure you’re having a conversation with your kids! Ask them what they’re learning in their center and how they’re doing it. Ask them how they solved the problem or built the tower. These conversations provide great information on their mathematical thinking!

And finally, we need to examine your day and look for areas we can tweak to get in more play or learning. I get it. Not all of us have control over our schedules. Our schedule is dictated by the admin. But we can look at transitions, routines, and things we’re doing to see if we’re using our time in the most beneficial ways. One way we brought in more play was by tweaking our morning routines to bring in more play! This has worked great! And it’s a great way to bring in choice!

Visit Kindergarten Chaos to read Abby’s take on this chapter!

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