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Discuss items that people often collect, such as baseball cards, toy trains, or postage stamps. Explain that a collection is made up of one kind of item and that usually each item is different in some way. For instance, a collection of stuffed animals might include a teddy bear, a stuffed giraffe, a stuffed monkey, and so on. Then help your children make collections of items in your room, such as plastic dinosaurs, toy cars, or puppets.

Take your children for a walk in your neighborhood or a park to collect nature items. Beforehand, give each child a paper bag for holding the items, and talk about what to look for. Some children might want to collect a particular kind of nature item, such as small rocks, or pinecones, or leaves, or twigs. Others might choose to make a general collection that includes a rock, a pinecone, a leaf, a twig, and so forth. When you return to your room, allow time for the children to show and tell about their collections. (Note: Any activities in this unit that use small items require adult supervision.)


Set out various materials for your children to use for displaying their nature items. For instance, empty egg cartons can be used to hold small items, such as pods or seeds. Shoeboxes are fine for displaying larger items, such as rocks or pinecones. Or sheets of posterboard can be divided into squares for holding both small and large items. Let the children choose the materials they want and decorate them with paint, glued-on paper scraps, and so forth. Then help the children label their collections and place them around the room for everyone to admire.


Set out six small rocks and half an empty egg carton. As you recite the rhyme below, place the rocks in the eggcups, one by one. Then count together at the end of the rhyme. Continue by using the rhyme to count other small items, if you wish.

One rock in my collection, I like it, yes, I do.
Here’s another rock, and that makes two.
Two rocks in my collection, so interesting to see.
Here’s another rock, and that makes three.
Three rocks in my collection, I wish I had more.
Oh, here’s another rock, and that makes four.
Four rocks in my collection, my sakes alive!
Here’s another rock, and that makes five.
Five rocks in my collection, what a special mix!
Here’s another rock, and that makes six.
Six rocks in my collection, displayed for all to see.
Won’t you take a look, and then count them with me?
                              Elizabeth Scofield


In a box, place six or more different small shells, six or more different small stones, and six or more different uncooked pasta shapes. Set out three paper plates. Then let your children take turns sorting the items onto the plates to create three collections: shells, stones, and pasta shapes. Continue by using other kinds of small items, if desired.  

MORE COLLECTIONS FUN (Language/Predicting)
Encourage your children to tell about collections they, or their family members, may have at home.
If possible, bring in items from a collection of your own to share.
Make a collection of different cereal pieces (or small candies) and place them in a plastic zipper bag. Show the bag to your children and have them try to guess how many cereal pieces are inside. Then together, count the pieces to see how close their guess was, and eat.

Tune: “The Paw-Paw Patch”

Watch us counting all our stickers,
Watch us counting all our stickers,
Watch us counting all our stickers.
How many in our collection box?

One little, two little, three little stickers,
Four little, five little, six little stickers,
Seven little, eight little, nine little stickers,
Ten stickers in our collection box.
                Heather McPhail

Continue singing about other kinds of collections, such as buttons, pinecones, or pompoms.

COOKIE COLLECTION (Food Preparation)
At snacktime, give your children identical store-bought cookies on individual paper plates. Let them make each of the cookies different by decorating them with frosting, gels, and sprinkles. Place the decorated cookies together on a platter to form a collection. Then invite the children to enjoy their cookie collection with milk or juice.