Series: Focus on Play

Early Exploration of Attributes with an Avocado

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This spontaneous interaction between caregiver and a toddler reveals a number of very early or “precursor” concepts of math. The caregiver uses intonation and stress to emphasize comparison: “we cut the banana but we will peel the avocado.”

As things begin to get messy, the caregiver continues to provide attribute words: “it puts you in mind of lotion… smooth, spreads easily”. Note how the caregiver uses a mixture of questions and comments that assume intentionality & understanding on the child’s part.

Read more about precursor topics and their related concepts: Precursor Topics.

Why is this important?

This delightful interchange between a 14-month-old and her caregiver illustrates several important points about how playful interactions between very young children and caregivers prepare the ground for mathematical thinking and problem-solving.

Source: Erikson Institute • Copyright: Erikson Institute • Content ID: ED505-170215

More in the Focus on Play series

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Value of Blocks in Kindergarten

A kindergarten teacher makes a strong case for how time spent playing with blocks supports mathematical thinking and learning in her classroom.

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