What did we do?
My eldest daughter is very number-oriented so yesterday we read Spinderella together and integrated some numeracy activities along with a very entertaining round of Subbuteo style penalty-taking with frozen peas.
Spinderella, a Julia Donaldson yarn illustrated by Sebastien Braun, tells the tale of Spinderella the spider who is keen to learn to count despite her family’s indifference to all things numerical; ‘down with numbers’ is commonly heard by Spinderella. Fortunately, living in the light above a school’s dinner hall, she is well-placed to learn all she desires, with a little help from her Hairy Godmother.
Now, being a terrible arachnophobe, we had no spider toys on which I could call so I had to think a little outside the box for this one. I wanted to really make the most of the numbers in the books so found:
• Ten pairs of shoes
• Ten Duplo flowers
And as we were reading, inspiration struck both V and I so we also ended up using:
• Goals made of books
• Frozen peas for footballs (the spiders play football with peas in the book!)
We started by counting all the shoes and talking about how they are in pairs and what pairs are, before reading a little. We soon hit upon the first round of pea football and, although I hadn’t planned to, I realised how much the girls would love this so raced off to find some frozen peas and something with which to fashion a goal. We played with the peas and the goal until their ‘footballs’ defrosted and then had a quick pea-squishing session before carrying on with the book.
Upon the Hairy Godmother’s entrance into the story, V insisted that she and A go and get their wands so we had another interlude while they rummaged through the dressing up box. In the book, the children count from 1 to 20 so as we did this, A lay the shoes in a long line, counting as she went. We then used this page, which clearly shows figures 1-20, to count forwards and backwards a few times.
Our final number activity was splitting the ten spiders (Duplo flowers!) into equal teams, which I started and she finished.
How did go?
Spinderella was a brilliant choice of book for number-loving children and lends itself to discussions or activities involving fractions and multiplication as your child’s understanding of numbers develops. All of the above activities happened alongside the standard reading and was complemented by various bouts of counting you could do with the pictures, such as the number of spider legs, boots and children on each team. It took us a good half an hour to complete as there were so many ways to get the girls involved in the counting and it’s one I’ll definitely be doing with them again soon.
As A is so interested in numbers it’s great to see her still very much engaged with books and reading too. Books and games like the ones we played show her that they can cross over and we can have plenty of fun enjoying them both at the same time.
We had peas for dinner, as per the girls’ request after the story, but no pea football this time, or at least none that I saw!
How can you use this?
• Embrace cross-curricular opportunities – I’m going to do some map-making with them next time as there are a couple of examples in the book
• Games games games – pea football was brilliant
• Select books linked to children’s hobbies and interests