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Play = LearningHow Play Motivates and Enhances Children's Cognitive and Social-Emotional Growth$
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Dorothy G. Singer, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195304381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195304381.001.0001

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Mathematical Play and Playful Mathematics: A Guide for Early Education

Mathematical Play and Playful Mathematics: A Guide for Early Education

(p.145) 8 Mathematical Play and Playful Mathematics: A Guide for Early Education
Play = Learning


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the role of mathematics in children's play and the role of play in early mathematics education. The confluence of environment and biology guarantees that virtually all children acquire major aspects of everyday mathematics (EM). Children's EM is ubiquitous, often competent, and more complex than usually assumed. It involves activities as diverse as perceiving which of two plates of cookies has “more” and reflecting on the issue of what is the largest number. It should therefore come as no surprise that EM is a significant aspect of children's play. Children use informal skills and ideas relating to number, shape, and pattern as they play with blocks or read storybooks. Indeed, EM provides the cognitive foundation for a good deal of play, as well as for other aspects of the child's life. Even more remarkably, spontaneous play may entail explicit mathematical content: young children can enjoy explorations of number and pattern as much as messing around with clay.

Keywords:   play, children, early education, everyday mathematics, number, pattern, shape

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