Have a few extra keys around? Keys are a great tool for the Toys and Manipulative area to teach math, science, literacy, and develop fine motor and problem solving skills. I gathered some keys from around the house and family members to create a collection for early learning activities.
Using the keys and paper divided into 5 areas, the children picked up keys and used one to one correspondence to place one key in each area. Depending on the child’s development, numbers could be written in each box, 1-5, also. Picking up the keys uses those fine motor skills. Counting each key as it’s picked up and layed down helps to develop number concepts. These activity also demonstrates visually data organization.
Here is the same activity using just silver keys so the child is sorting by color also.
Use a number line to match one key with each number. Again, one on one correspondence. Here children see 1 key for each number and can see that the number 2 represents 2 real keys.
Younger children just simply sort the keys by color: silver and gold. If you gather any colored keys then include green, red, blue, etc.
Keys come in variety of sizes, so children sort the keys by size from small to large. Here children see the relationship of size.
Keys used for patterns provides more math opportunities. Add blocks, cubes, or links so children develop patterning skills with the keys.
Add technology by taking pictures of the patterns children make with keys and show them the pictures on the computer.
The teacher/parent role is to encourage, observe and respond to children individually. Observe to help each child take the next step in their development. Take time to talk with them about what they do and see. Record what the child says and does. The information you observe and gather helps to guide the kinds of questions you ask a child and the next activities you choose.