Activities and reading ideas to support Spot’s Big Book of Maths
Spot’s Big Book of Maths, with lift-the-flap book Spot Bakes a Cake, is a great tactile, audio and braille book for preschool children. The book incorporates Spot’s experience of baking a cake and will enable you and your child to talk about basic mathematical principles such as bigger or smaller, longer or shorter, lighter or heavier. We also touch on some PCSHE subjects such as visiting the supermarket to shop for ingredients; doing things for others; family relationships and celebrations and healthy eating.
It’s hugely popular with young members, their parents, teachers, careers and sensory support officers:
“The Guidance Notes were really useful for preschool planning and links to learning and curriculum activities. It was lovely to use at home, and the Notes included good ideas to help 1:1 support.”
To help you make the most of using Spot’s Big Book of Numbers with your child, here are some ideas for extending learning and further reading.
Learning about Size: Spot and Sally at the supermarket
This tactile picture helps to explain differences in size and the concept of bigger and smaller. This is achieved through talking about how Spot is smaller than his mother and also about how he has a smaller trolley and a smaller bag of flour.
Join in: You might want to get real examples of objects, such as a tennis ball and a football, or a grape and an apple, to further illustrate this concept of bigger and smaller.
Talk about other animals and the differences between the babies and adults such as a duckling and a duck, a chick and a chicken, a kitten and a cat. Talk about size, texture of fur, colour and the noises they make. A visit to a petting farm or zoo may help introduce your child to a small selection of baby animals.
Reading ideas: Borrow Just Like My Mum and Just Like My Dad to explore more young animals, grown up animals and family relationships. To continue the conversation of shopping read Don’t Forget the Bacon! There’s lots of repetition which provides the opportunity for joining in and sharing as a group activity. Don’t forget to collect together some of the objects in the story so you can re-enact it.
Comparing different size objects: Birthday party
Using objects from the book which are linked to a fun, family party, we continue with the idea of bigger and smaller and also touch on the idea of length. By providing two different-sized versions of each object we allow the child to practice deciding which one is bigger than the other.
Join in: To extend the learning, cut pieces of ribbon or string into different lengths and ask the child to say which one is the longest and which the shortest.
Wrap a selection of different size boxes and objects of different weight. Ask your child to sort them into biggest and smallest, and then again into heaviest and lightest.
Reading ideas: Pass the Jam Jim is a funny tale of a birthday party, the glorious party food and a very messy toddler with jam covered hands!
Heavy and Light: At the park, Spot and Sam on the seesaw
This is a good way of showing the difference in weight between the two dogs which can lead to a discussion on heavier and lighter.
Join in: To build on this topic, find a selection of objects, such as a feather, a book, a cushion, a toy car, a tin of food and so on. Then hand the objects to your child and ask them to say whether they are heavy or light. After feeling the weight of a number of objects ask your child to compare them against one another, working out which is the lightest and which is the heaviest.
Introduce the idea of measuring weight by baking a cake, like Spot, and using scales to weigh out the ingredients.
Cooking together is also useful to discuss the different textures of items such as silky smooth flour, slimy eggs, hard chocolate, soft butter.
To take this further you could compare the changing states of different foods. For example, you could show them how when you heat chocolate it melts and turns from a solid into a liquid and that when it cools it turns back into a solid. Feel and compare a block of hard butter, fresh out of the fridge, with butter left in the warm to soften.
Shapes and Sizes: Spot’s Healthy Lunchbox
This feely picture introduces the concept of healthy eating. The tactile picture also gives the opportunity to identify simple shapes and to practice counting the number of items Spot has in his lunchbox.
Join in: You could extend this topic by asking the child what fruit or vegetables they would like in their lunchbox or what healthy fillings they can think of for a sandwich.
Organise an outing to the park and pack a lunchbox like Spot’s to take with you. Let the child pick one treat item to include, so that you can discuss the concept of a balanced diet and that certain foods are fine as long as we don’t eat too much of them.
Help your child explore food tastes, textures and smells. Collect together different tasting fruits you have in stock – for example compare juicy, ripe melon balls with crisp apple and soft banana. Vegie-wise compare long crisp lengths of celery with soft avocado and textured, crunchy raw cauliflower. Don’t forget to talk about colour.
Reading ideas: I Will Not Never Ever Eat a Tomato is a fun book to start talking about fruit and vegetables. Lola is a fussy eater and there are many things she won’t eat, from tomatoes to carrots. With the help of her brother Charlie, and a little imagination, Lola finds out that orange twiglets from Jupiter are really tasty.
Borrow Spot’s Big Book of Maths from our FREE library
Borrow Just Like My Mum from our FREE library
Borrow Just Like My Dad from our FREE library
Borrow Don’t Forget the Bacon! from our FREE library
Borrow Pass the Jam Jim from our FREE library
Borrow I Will Not Never Ever Eat a Tomato from our FREE library