Today I shut down my computer and sat at our little playroom table with my youngest daughter and her friend, both in their 3rd year. We put together an oversized puzzle set of opposites, matching up the 30 pieces to make 15 pairs.
Then the kids started counting them. They counted them as individual pieces, as pairs, down one side of each pair, down the other side of each pair, and sometimes this was done accurately.
When they were done with this and our friend began putting away the puzzle pieces, I walked over to my schedule to see what I needed to accomplish. Like so many times on countless other days, I found that the kids had spontaneously created just the type of activity I had intended for them. Today's schedule had the note "mathematical."