Have you tried creating sensory bins for your kids yet? We love them at our house and I seem to come up with an idea for a new bin every time there’s a holiday.
For St. Patrick’s Day last year, I created this fun Shamrock Math Sensory bin for Onetime (my 3 year old son). It’s a mini-treasure hunt and pretend play small world wrapped into one – that also gets the kiddos counting and working on their one to one number correspondence!
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Supplies for Shamrock Math Sensory Bin
- Fun foam (or cardstock) 4″ Foam Shamrocks
- Green rice (put on a tray with 10 drops of green food colouring, then spray with vinegar and stir, allow to dry for a few hours)
- A pot/pail to hold the “gold”
- Gold nuggets and/or Plastic Gold Coins (or scrumpled up tin foil balls if you can’t find these)
- A small shovel
- Rainbows are optional but nice! Why not have your child make our Fine-Motor Rainbow to include in this bin? I painted pieces of an old foam camping mat to make the ones in our bin.
Shamrock Math Sensory Play
Onetime really liked the sensory part of pouring and scooping the rice in this bin and “digging” for gold. You could also hide all the gold under the rice for your child to find and collect in the pail/pot.
After telling Onetime about leprechauns and how they bury their gold at the end of the rainbow, he wanted to incorporate his Leprechaun Finger Puppet into the play as well – so the bin ended up being a bit of a small world for pretend play too.
So where does the math come in?
On the back of 5 shamrocks I wrote the numbers from 1 to 5 and put the same number of circles on each in their dice pattern.
Eg. On shamrock #5, it had the numeral and 5 circles.
After showing Onetime how to place the appropriate number of gold nuggets on the number 5 shamrock, he was able to do all the rest completely by himself!
We then practised some counting together before burying all the nuggets and starting again!
If your child is able to count out the numbers from 1 to 5 accurately, you could then encourage them to add and count the nuggets on two of the shamrocks together.
Start with smaller numbers like 1 + 2 = 3, and move gradually up to 5+5=10 (you will need to add another #5 shamrock).
You could even do some subtraction by encouraging your child to count as they remove nuggets from a shamrock to put them back in the bin at clean up time.
It’s also great practise for them to compare two shamrocks and tell you which one has more and which one has less.
Lots of fun and learning! This bin was a favourite place to play all week!
Great St. Patrick’s Day Books for Kids
If you wanted to do some St. Patrick’s Day reading to go along with this bin, be sure to check these out!
We picked up St. Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons at the library and Onetime enjoyed learning about who St. Patrick was and why the Irish people celebrate in his honour.
The book also talks about the different St. Patrick’s day symbols (like the shamrock and leprechauns!) and even incorporates some of the legends about St. Patrick. It’s perfect for kids aged 3 to 10 and I even learned a few things!
Another fun book is That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting.
This book tells a fictional tale of three mischievous leprechauns as they try to go about hiding and protecting their gold, while getting into trouble! Leprechauns, gold, and rainbows – perfect accompaniment for this bin!
The Ring of Truth is a wonderful tale of a peddlar named Patrick O’Kelley who has a problem with lying until the King of the Leprechauns decides to teach him a humorous lesson in truth!
Wishing you and your child a sparkling St. Patrick’s Day!
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