Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pirates' Gold Number Play

We've been exploring Pirate Week here at our house. We all love pirates; in fact I realized I've never shared this picture from this past Halloween of our whole family in their pirate wear. So when Big Brother asked for a "Pirate Week" I couldn't resist.

Beyond reading some pirate books, wearing our pirate costumes, and talking like a pirate this week I wanted to create some fun learning and crafting opportunities around pirates. I've been thinking for a while about how to turn Big Brother's love of pirates into a math activity. Using some rocks, gold spray paint, and number fun here are two different activities we came up with. 

Pirates' Gold Number Play

We did two different things to prep for the activities. First the kiddos each painted a small "treasure" box with gold, bronze, and silver acyclic paint (both from Jo Ann Fabrics.)

Each box was a little different when they were done painting. 

The other part of the preparation was a grown up job, it involved using metallic gold spray paint on a handful of rocks we'd found in the yard. I painted ten small rocks for each kiddo to use inside their box and twenty large rocks for a group activity. (I sprayed one side the first time, let it dry, and then turned them over and sprayed again.)

After they were dry I used permanent black marker to write the numbers on to the rocks. On the larger rocks I wrote the numbers 1 through 20, on the smaller rocks I wrote the numbers 1 through 10. (We had two sets of the smaller rocks.)

Backyard Treasure Hunt
With the larger rocks we had a fun, number orientated treasure hunt. I hid the rocks in the yard, number side down. 

The kids dressed in some of our pirate costume pieces and headed into the yard to look for treasure. 

As they found the gold, the older ones called out the numbers and placed them in their buckets. Little Brother was eager to help find the golden rocks and quickly figured out the routine of what to do when someone found a rock. 
After they found the rocks they had to work as partners to put the rocks in numerical order. 

They started with one and worked their way up twenty. They took turns looking for the number in the pile and placing it into the line. This activity helped us to practice identifying and ordering numbers. 

We used the rocks several more times to set up treasure hunts both inside and out. This activity was definitely a hit. 

Independent Treasure Box Play
After we'd practiced what to do with the larger number rocks they put the smaller rocks into their treasure boxes. 

For some quiet independent play Big Brother took his numbers out of the box and practiced putting them in order. (He decided to use his pirate sword as a line maker.) 

When he was done he practiced reading the numbers aloud. He actually worked so quickly with these numbers I'm planning on adding 11 through 20 to his box. 

A little later in the week we also used the small rocks together for some other games. On one day I lined them up randomly and flipped them over gold side up. He had to flip them number side up and move them around until they were in order. We also played a hiding game where I would hide some under my hand and he had to figure out how many were hiding based on how many were left. 

Other activities for the larger rocks during the week included burying them in the sand box and pretending they were money. 

We definitely got a lot of fun play out of these golden rocks during our Pirate week! 

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  1. So much fun! I love anything pirate too! Simple but great ideas!

    1. Thanks Sue, we definitely love finding ways to incorporate pirates into learning.