Saturday, May 3, 2008
Coins, Size, and Puppets
Today my daughter pointed at the floor and said something almost indistinguishable that sounded kind of like "pen." I didn't see a pen. But when I looked closer, I saw a penny. I was surprised - I didn't know she knew what a penny was. So I thought, maybe she's ready to learn to recognize the different coins? She was. This is what we did.
I got out a bunch of coins of different kinds and let her just fiddle around with them for awhile, while I identified them. I showed her the bird on the quarter, etc. Then I started a game where we put them through holes into various containers. Then we'd shake them like music shakers. The most helpful container was the plastic water bottle. It is big enough for all the coins except the quarter, and that is when she figured out how to distinguish the quarter from the nickel. At first she was distraught that the quarter wouldn't fit into the bottle no matter what we did - there were almost tears over this - but I turned it into something funny and it became a game. She'd put coin after coin into the bottle, and every once in a while, looking at me with a grin, she'd pick up a quarter and go to put it in, shaking her head and saying "no, no." I knew she could identify the nickel when she systematically picked up just the nickels and put them into the bottle. (If anyone can think of a common household container with a top that is big enough for a dime but too small for a nickel, please let me know. I can't find anything.) We developed a ritual where, after all the coins were in the bottle, she'd dump them out over her head. It started when I put the bottle with the coins on top of my head like a hat, and then I slowly tilted forward until the coins poured out. She made her own version of this. It was very, very silly.
Next we made sock puppets with the coins. I used Scotch tape to attach the pennies for eyes, the dime for a nose, quarters for ears, and nickels along the upper lip of the mouth. She helped put the coins on the tape and then onto the sock. Then we played a game where she tried to take the coins off the puppet but the puppet kept running frantically away from her! Eventually she caught him and we rearranged which coins got to be what body part. And then it was back to the bottle!