Sunday, June 16, 2013

Shower Curtain Ring Counting

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I inherited a box filled with shower curtains and shower curtain rings from my parents who own and operate a motel in my hometown.  That means there were probably 10-15 shower curtains and upwards of a hundred shower curtain rings.  I hemmed and hawed for days about what I could do with them.  I was tempted to sew another play parachute using the shower curtains and I may still do that.  However, the boys and I found some other ways to play (and learn!) with these materials.  First up, is a math activity (stay tuned in the coming weeks for other activities).

This activity used one shower curtain with grommets, window markers, and 50 plastic shower curtain rings.  I was originally going to cut the hem with the grommets off since that's all I was planning to use.  However, I decided to keep the shower curtain intact for future projects.  I chose to use window markers to write on the shower curtains since they just wipe off using water and a rag.

I wrote a number from 1-10 above a grommet on the shower curtain in a random order.  I chose random order for two reasons.  One, both boys know their numbers and the order they go in, so I thought it would be fun to switch it up.  Two, one end of the shower curtain would weigh a lot more than the other end when all the rings were on, which means it would be more difficult to keep the curtain up.  Once I wrote all the numbers on the shower curtain, I hung it over the half wall that separates the piano room from the dining room.  You could easily hang it over a couch or table or just lay it on the floor.

The numbers
You can see how the shower curtain was hung in this picture.
I also linked two shower curtain rings under the number two as an example for the boys.

Two rings linked together.
The boys quickly caught onto the object of this activity.  However, the boys had to master the skill of opening the shower curtain rings while linking them to another, which proved to be quite difficult for them.  Opening the rings took quite a bit of strength so often I had to assist by either helping them open the rings or by helping them slide the other rings onto the one they were opening.

J trying to open a ring and slide it into the grommet.
K also tried his best to open the rings.
J opening a ring while I hold another ring steady.
This made the linking part so much easier for the boys since the "targets" didn't move on them.
The challenge was good for them.  Both J and K tried so hard to do it all independently, but often asked for help.  Regardless, they loved this activity!  They happily identified numbers, counted the number of shower curtain rings that they needed for each number, and showed me where they wanted help linking them together.  

Then the boys took some time to double check their math by counting the individual rings to make sure they had put up the correct number.

J counting to make sure he has the correct number.
J admiring all of his hard work.
You can easily modify this activity to suit smaller toddlers and even infants by linking all of the shower curtain rings ahead of time, thus creating an interactive math mat.  Then they can just explore and count the rings without having to do the physical work.

Looking for other ways to reuse shower curtains?  Be sure to check out our Homemade Play Parachute made from shower curtains that cost under $6 to make!