Practicing learned content in the context of play allows students to internalize new ideas and skills and incorporate those skills into their daily lives. Active play also triggers students’ interests and enthusiasm for learning while helping them further develop the physical skills they need to stay healthy and fit. Here are a few ways you can incorporate active play into your math and literacy lesson plans:

  • Provide a wealth of dramatic play materials. Children should have access to a variety of literacy materials, such as menus, phone books, notepads, office tools, and shopping lists. Math materials, such as cash registers, play money, order forms for tallying, and calendars, should also be available. All of these materials help bring learning to life.
  • Create movement-based activities for practicing content skills. Acting out vocabulary words or using ball play (catching and throwing) along with practicing math facts provides a physical experience to help children process information. Students will be much more likely to remember a word or concept if they can associate it with a movement they learned.
  • Connect the natural literacy and math skills embedded in sports education. Player bios, record keeping, statistics, and score keeping are some examples of how literacy and math are connected with sports education. Make sure this is done in an active context where the students are actually participating in both the sport and the literacy and math skills included.
  • Use sound and action poetry in your classroom. The use of these words will encourage action from students and help them develop important vocabulary and listening skills.
  • Utilize sidewalk chalk and basic running games. From number line races and hopscotch math to sight word tag, the ideas are limitless!

Be sure to check out the Active Play section on our website for a variety of materials you can use to incorporate active play into math and literacy. For additional tips and resources on helping children learn literacy and math skills, read the articles in the Literacy and Math categories of our Insights and Inspirations section!