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We’ve recently been having a lot of fun with a bag of 50 ping-pong balls (aff link) I got on Amazon. I love open-ended materials that can be re-purposed over and over again.
Tonight, in the bath, I gave my kids about 10 ping-pong balls and 3 small takeout-style containers.
My 3yo girls made me birthday cakes and sang for me. I got to blow out my ping-pong candles and choose which color piece of cake I wanted.
For 6yo J, we turned it into a math game. I love how infinitely adaptable games like this can be.
He chose a different point value for each color ball and turned it into a game where he was collecting points by tossing the balls into the (moving) containers.
This could be used to practice skip counting, multiplication (assigning different values to each bowl – x2, x3, etc), or other skills. (Window crayons work great for labeling any containers.)
The important thing is that the child needs to be part of developing the parameters rather than just being given a prepared task. And if he wants to do something different with the balls & bowls, don’t sweat it!
Just play together, or let him experiment independently, and see where it leads.