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Parents & Families

Paper Playground

Math • Creative Thinking • New Words

Rainy or cold weather doesn’t mean your child has to be bored. You can create your own activity right at home. You probably won’t even have to go to the store.

These activities are not about scoring (but you will make big-time cool-parent points with your child).

The objective is to develop math concepts, physical skills and have fun. So, get creative. Make goofy sports equipment and a paper playground. Talk about numbers, distances and angles. Toss around some new words.

Golf and Croquet

Golf and croquet are sort of alike when you play them indoors. Both require hitting a ball with a stick. In golf, the ball is struck with a club to go in the hole in as few strokes as possible. In croquet, the ball is struck with a mallet through wickets (hoops stuck into the ground). The goal of croquet is to be the first person to reach the end of a course and hit the center peg. 

As you play, talk about how much force is needed to get the ball into the garage or down the croquet course. How many wickets are there to the course? Ask how your child decided the color order of the course pieces.

How to make your own paper playground

You’ll need:

  • Lightweight balls
  • Any and all kinds of tape (whatever you have)
  • Crayons or markers (let your child create a masterpiece decorating the plain surfaces)
  • Scissors
  • Recycled newspaper funny pages, folders, wrapping paper, boxes and tubes
  • Paper cups
  • Large serving utensils

Making these tools for play takes creative thinking, experimentation, and a good bit of tape. If a child took markers and crayons to the paper, they would be even more fun toys!

As you create together, talk about shapes and sizes. Notice how the pieces fit together.

How to make a mallet: Cut slits in the end of a paper towel tube and spread them out. Fold the ends over the side of a closed tube box. Tape. Tape. Tape. Cover tape as shown in photo.

How to make golf clubs: Insert a spatula or serving spoon into a paper tube. Use heavy-duty tape to secure the utensil to the tube.

What your child gains from these activities:

  • Understanding of numbers
  • Has opportunities to extend vocabulary
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Has opportunity for using large muscles
  • Develops awareness of himself in space in relation to other objects
  • Develops an awareness of distances and angles
  • Develops and refines physical coordination and balance
  • Has satisfying and challenging experiences
  • Gains self-confidence and sense of worth

Click here to learn how to recycle to make your own musical instruments!

Get more fun ways to learn about math. Visit our math Family Resource Library here.

View/Download the PDF version here.

Click here to visit our Family Resource Library. You’ll find activities and tips to help you prepare your child for life.