Nursery World Awards 2008: Resources - Problem-solving, Reasoning & Numeracy

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WINNER: Maths Outdoor Grab & Go Kit, TTS Group

This larger-than-life kit makes maths more fun and adventurous than youcan imagine. The hands-on element helps children to visualise andunderstand numbers, sums and shapes. There is a giant bead string tocount on, a gloop container filled with squidgy, sparkly numbers tofind, and an octopus with numbers on each of its eight tentacles. Giantinflatable numbers are a great basis for children to recognise and countthe numbers nought to nine.

As one setting said, 'The best thing about the kits was that thechildren could make up their own maths games; they were learning mathswithout realising.' Problem-solving is intrinsic to this product as thechildren work in groups to figure out answers and orders, gainingteamwork skills as well.

Numbered cones are an essential part of this outdoor kit and make forgreat obstacle courses that are not only fun but require reasoning aswell. There is also a version of beanbag bowls, where children gainco-ordination while improving their numeracy.

The kit is simple to use and rough and ready. One setting leader said,'The beanbags were great for circle time games involving maths. OliOctopus was a great favourite, but children also enjoyed making up theirown games with the kit.'

Ideas for the kit include hanging the inflatable numbers or number pearmobiles from trees and going on a number hunt. Another is to let thechildren explore around the playground using their shape wands and seewhat they find.

Associating basic shapes with everyday items and learning to determinemore than and less than are just some of the key Early years FoundationStage requirements this kit helps children to achieve. Overall it isdesigned to help providers meet the needs of the new strategy.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Goodie Game Early Skills Set, Learning Resources

This is a set of three jars filled with counting bears, counting cookieshapes and counting colour cookies for children to game play with. Noreading is required and children can work out quantities when sharingout cookies with their friends. 'The counting bears help the childrenpractise their counting without realising, because they appear friendly- hand-sized and without lots of numbers to put them off,' says onepractitioner. Dozens of simple and fun games help the children begin tounderstand the use of maths in everyday life, and each jar has adifferent focus. The bears build early number recognition, calculationand counting, the cookie shapes explore early geometry and algebraskills including shape recognition, matching and patterning, and thecolour cookies help develop colour recognition.

FINALISTS: Lacing Shoes, NES Arnold; Sali Mali 123, Awen

CRITERIA

Open to early years resources and equipment that support children'slearning, development and enjoyment in problem solving, reasoning andnumeracy.

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