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Jellybean Talk & Play for Spring

collage of photos of kids playing in the park and photo of jellybean

In Chicago winter can defy spring with its tradition of one last snowstorm to bury the first yellow daffodils to decide to bloom. That is when it is important for families to counter Nature with their own traditions--like an annual

Jellybean Hunt. Not only are Jellybean Hunts colorful and sweet, sometimes a well-hidden jellybean can defy next winter by showing up in a Christmas ornament box. Plus, Jellybean Hunts are full of ways to develop a child’s math understanding.

Little children love to help hide the beans. This is when they learn that it isn’t a good idea to hide the whole bag of beans in one place. It works better for everyone to hide one bean behind, under or next to the napkins, the winter coats, or the red lamp. While their surprise at finding a bean under the dishwasher door is still fresh, take the extra minutes to share their excitement and energy.

Talk them through the math. Explain that one spoon goes with each person’s dinner chair (a mathematical one to one relationship). Another mathematical concept could be that daddy’s handful of 6 beans has 2 more beans than sister’s handful of 4 beans. Video your child’s jellybean math play and share it with other moms on Play Smart Literacy’s website. Be your children’s first math teacher. It could become a sweet tradition.

See and . Or go to our partner Play Smart Literacy at to share literacy games, play videos and make contact with play coaches on Chicago’s South Side.

Our workbook, The Gift of Math: Twelve Math Conversation Starters for Parents and Young Children is based on recent research about how babies and toddlers learn Math Talk. It is available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookbaby, and Walmart.


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