We love math lessons and after going to a presentation all about teaching math to young children I am pumped for a ton of cool math activities for kids! Nothing makes math more fun than using a theme and cool manipulatives. Even better than cool manipulatives are frugal ones made from dollar store items. This whole activity cost me $2! Best part is that because the lily pads are foam even using permanent markers I can write equations on both sides to get more bang for my buck. Frugal, fun and educational.
- Gather your materials. You will need some foam circles, permanent marker , plastic frogs and scissors.
- Start by cutting a wedge out of your foam circles.
- Next add some equations. Gear these to your child. Do not worry about what your neighbor is doing or that your great aunt’s second cousins’ kid is multiplying at the age of 2 … everyone loves to share their pride in their kids and who can blame them?! But all that matters is helping our kids learn at their own pace. You can do equations like we did or you can simply write numbers and have your child place that many frogs on each lily pad.
- Add the frogs and your child. I totally goofed and didn’t have enough frogs for all the equations but my son just borrowed from an equation he had already completed.
- When we started my son was determined to do the math in his head. I immediately explained to him that in Kindergarten ( he is crazy excited about kindergarten) that he will always have to show his work, how he got to a number and to feel free to use the frogs, or his fingers.
- He chose his fingers … and amazingly the math was a breeze after that.
- Use proper math terms like equation, difference, subtract or the terms that fit the equations you are attempting. Using the proper terms is part of math knowledge as well.
Although my son opted to use his fingers encourage your child to use the frogs for each equation especially if they are challenged by the equations. Fingers are great too but I find manipulatives even more effective than fingers for subtraction. Also when they move up to multiplication in later years using manipulatives like this are magic in my experience . If you do not have enough frogs simply present the lily pads one at a time.
Books About Frogs
Too Many Frogs by Sandy Asher is a funny tale about a introverted Rabbit and a friendly Froggie who is a little clueless that he is imposing on Rabbit’s politeness when he invites himself over to listen to stories every night. Rabbit eventually breaks down and has had enough when Froggie brings his whole family reunion with him one evening to hear the stories as well. You will like how this story ends , the goofy but warm characters and expressive illustrations.
Wendy the Wide-Mouthed Frog by Sam Lloyd Like it or not, our kids will probably encounter someone who thinks they are better than anyone else (or they may go through a stage of this themselves). Wendy is a frog who thinks just that and criticises the other animals in the wild for not being as great as she is. That is, until she meets a squid. At first I thought, with Wendy poking fun of other animals, that the book was somewhat negative in nature. Although Wendy isn’t nice and does change her tune at the end (though doesn’t apologize to others for her behavior), the book does open up an opportunity to discuss how negative comments can make our friends feel bad. Wendy herself is a hand puppet which mom can use to bring Wendy to life but the kids will love the squid page where they too can stick their hand in to be the squid’s tentacles. This moves kids from being passive listeners to interacting with the book too. ( reviewed by contributing writer Carrie Anne)
Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson gave me goosebumps and made me want to give the author a high five. The little frog leaps away from mama frog going further and further away but leaps back home to his mama each time with then end being spot on with the text changing from ” then leap home to me” to ” when you leap back home , here I’ll be”. My heart was aching seeing the little frog grow so fast! I love this book. It’s got very simple repetitive text ( great for emergent readers!), the illustrations by Matthew Cordell are goofy and sweet. They match the text perfectly so they give great clues to readers who may be struggling with a word. As a read aloud this book is awesome , not only because the repetitive text has a great rhythm but as the little frog gets more independent and goes further from home the things he is leaping over are pretty goofy and will get more than a few laughs from any audience you are reading it to!