Make Math Drills Fun – 2 Quick Math Activities

kindergarten mathMath is important and practicing facts and skills after school doesn’t have to be major undertaking. A quick trip to the dollar store and you can get all the materials for both of these activities that are easy to adapt as your child masters the material.  These activities are not geared to teach your child the material but to practice facts they know for speed and accuracy. Yes this is the realm of flash cards ( go ahead and giggle) and the perfect example of when they work. Subitising ( recognizing amounts without counting )and addition up to ten are both facts that need to be recalled not figured out by the end of Kindergarten and practice like this is a fun way to do it. Do not worry if your kids count at first that’s fine and natural just keep playing, keeping it fun and practicing until they recall it instead of counting.

Clip In The Blanks 

quick kindergaten math

This is a novel way of working on a not so novel exercise. The clothes pins also add in a little fine motor work that children in the early grades can always use as they strengthen their skills for writing.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam sticks ( large tongue depressors or simple cardboard will work too) , clothes pins, markers and a kiddo ready to practice. quick math activities
  2. Write out equations that equal 10. Starting with 1 + _ = 10 up to 9 + __ = 10  .quick math practice for kids
  3. Write the numbers on your clothes pins.
  4. Set them out of your child. If you are just starting to work on these facts choose a few in order . Then next time move to all ten in order. We aren’t trying to get them to work it out we are trying to get them to respond automatically. Once they can do it in order easily mix it up the next time. quick math for kindergarten
  5. My son loves math and quickly clipped them when they were in order. “This is easy.” So I mixed a few up and while he did it well it took him a little longer. As we play more it will get faster and faster. quick math drills

Self Correcting Flash Cards quick math activities 33

Not all of these flash cards are working on subitising but most are. For those of you unfamiliar with subitising it’s the ability to recognize amounts automatically without counting. Tally marks, dots like on dominoes and numbers represented by hand signals are the most commonly used. These simple folded flash cards lets kids practice alone if they want.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sentence strips a marker and a kiddo. quickmath
  2. Write out equations, make dominoes or tally marks on the first third of the strip. quick math falsh cards for kindergaten
  3. Place the answer on the 2nd third and then fold. I made 14 for my son and he flew through them. I am making him 20 next time.
  4. Press the folds tight so there will be no cheating!quick math activities 33
  5. Play. quikkClearly he thought it was fun . I was so happy to see that!

Even though we are working hard to practice I am still not a fan of drill drill drill so keeping it fun, novel and as positive as possible is really important. This side of math is my most hated and is what killed my joy for it as a child so I really want to make these activities as dynamic, light and interactive as possible so my son’s passion for math isn’t squashed.

 

Love Potions – Valentine’s Day Science Play

love potions valentine's day scienceWe love to play with vinegar and baking soda at our house . We explored it with squirt guns, at a play date and even pretending to be mad scientists. This time we made potions but really we just made a really awesome fun mess!   We made these after school this week and already my 2 year old has asked to make so many I am out of vinegar and baking soda. Kids love to pretend and mixing imagination with scientific inquiry is a great way to get them interested in asking questions and testing their theories out. We pretended we were making love potions but not the way that maybe a teenager would think about it. Instead we were making potions to make everyone feel loved, not to fall in love with us and even that fell by the wayside . Bottom line, have fun and make sure you have towels ready!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some baking soda, vinegar and then we added  food color and food flavoring ( strawberry and cherry) . You will want clear containers, spoons, and whatever you need to protect your house from food color. love potions preschool scrience play
  2. Set out the ingredients and let them explore. While they started I talked about how some people think that potions and spells will make people fall in love and they both thought that was crazy talk! We pretended we were making people feel love but soon they just got into making a potion and the love bit was lost. This is fine the goal wasn’t to teach about love potions so much as simply explore. love potions science for kids valentine's day activity
  3. My son saw the baking soda and immediately got excited about the prospect of a fizzy overflowing potion. Only he couldn’t remember what made it bubble and discovered it was not the cherry flavoring.love potions for kids
  4. My daughter followed her brother’s lead and absolutely adored every minute. love potion science play activity for kids
  5. Once they figured out it was the vinegar they made potions over and over.love potions  In all different color combinations and with as much excitement every time. love potions 2It soon turned into making predictions about if it would overflow or not. love potion number 5

Snake Craft – Chinese New Year

chinese new year craft for kids year of the snakeThis year is the year of the snake and Chinese new year is always a great vehicle to learn about a different culture. Lately my daughter and I have been playing pretend play airplane always landing in China to explore the great wall ( my idea)  and local candy shops ( her idea) . This week we will make some Chinese food together , look at maps and read the books below. At the age of 2  the idea of New Year is still pretty tough especially when we already celebrated on January 1st. So instead I have explained it to her as a party  and the snake is the special symbol for it and used the theme to explore China with her.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper. I adore the canvas paper from craftprojectideas.com who graciously sent me this when I couldn’t find any locally. You will also need some paint, a paint brush ( we used a dish scrubber) , double stick tape ( if you need to tape the snake together) a googly eye, pipe cleaner, paint, glue and collage materials.chinese new year craft for kids
  2. Start by drawing a snake and cutting it out.chinese new year craft for kids snake 2 OK now I admit my snake looks like a worm at best but my daughter couldn’t care less so I stuck with it. I cut mine out in two pieces and taped them together. I used tape so we could get to the project right away but glue would be fine too.Chinese new year craft for kids 3
  3. Next step . Time to choose your paint colors.chinese new year craft choosing colors
  4. Next it’s time to start painting. First with the scrubber…. chinese new year craft for toddlersthen with your hands . My table was dirty so I didn’t bother covering it since I needed to give it a good scrub anyway. Have a damp cloth handy if like us you have to pass by carpet on the way to the sink.chinese new year year of the snake craft for kids
  5. Let the snake dry. We were short on time ( almost nap time) and usually I’d let it dry during nap and finish we had a doctor’s appointment after nap so instead I dried it carefully with a cool hair dryer while my daughter washed her hands and played in the sink. It worked so well.
  6. Time to glue!cheinese new year craft snake craft
  7. Add the collage materials.chinese new year sequins I love sequins and buttons because my daughter is so patient picking them up and putting them on to projects. She also loves peeling them off after the glue is dry so if you saw this snake now days later you’d see a sad no eye no sequin snake.  Interestingly my first thought was ” Well I can re-use those and it was great fine motor as she peeled them off too.”chinese new year adding buttons
  8. Add the eye.chinese new year add eye
  9. Poke a hole in the mouth area and thread a pipe cleaner through . Bend a Y in the end to make it look like a forked tongue.chinese new year snake craft for toddlers and kids
  10. Let it all dry .year of the snake craft for kids

Books about Chinese New Year

My First Chinese New Year

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz is a simple introduction to Chinese New Year for young children. It’s a board book so if you have let’s say a 4 year old who , let’s say has decided he thinks board books are only for babies, you may want to have him be a reading helper for this one.I had to cajole my son into helping me read this book to his sister but once I started he was into it and enjoying the simplistic way the author illustrator explains the Chinese customs. Even adults may learn something new. Did you know that cutting hair for a fresh start for the new year is a tradition? I never did! The illustrations are bright and cheery and for those of you who aren’t fans of the baby lift the flap books from this author you may want to give the author another chance because her holiday books are really great.

Bringing in the new year

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a wonderful book to explain Chinese New Year and some of the customs that comes along with it to your preschooler. The illustrations are bright and help explain the festivities and preparations that go into the celebration. The book culminates with a fold out page with a huge dragon briging in the new year. There is also a great explanation of the holiday for parents at the back of the book.

next new year janet wong

This Next New Year by Janet Wong is a great new to me book about Chinese New Year. I read it with my kids after dinner and they booth really enjoyed it. My daughter liked the illustrations and the text itself was short enough to keep my 2 year old interested too. What this book did a great job of doing was explaining a few of the differences between Chinese New Year and New Year of January 1st and lots of the traditions . My son related well to the main character, a little boy about his age, and had a ton of questions after the book that the author actually addressed in a authors note at the end. Great book for PreK and up.

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Sight Word Dominoes & Speed Racer Game

sight word dominoes and race gameLearning after school is something we try to do most days but we keep it fun.  Making learning a game is my magic trick for my son who is possibly the world’s most competitive 6 year old. I set this up quickly and had it all ready for him before he got home.  I wish I could take all the credit for this idea but it’s spin off from our contributing writer Kim’s amazing letter dominoes post from last year. After you read this one make sure you check it out.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sentence strips, a marker, scissors and  a list of about 20 dolch sight words . We used a mix of levels 1, 2 and 3.  Dolch sight words are high frequency words that are often thought to be best to teach children to read by memorization not through decoding ( sounding out/using other clues like context ) . sight word race game for kindergarten
  2. I chose some words that I knew would be easy for my son, some that I wasn’t sure and a few that would take a few seconds to figure out. I always try to boost confidence with some easy, hit right on target for most and challenge him with some as well.
  3. Cut the sentence strips.sight words game for kids
  4. Draw a line down the middle and write a word on each side . sight words
  5. Play! sight word dominoes game
  6. We played dominoes by placing one card down on the table and flipping the rest over from a pile over until we found a match .sight word game for kids We played on the table because of the terrible light ( winter weather is not blog friendly!) but later on we moved to the floor where we had much more room to make a bigger better domino structure. sight word dominoes
  7. The next game we played with the cards was even more fun. Start with one card each on the same spot on the floor or a table with a clear finish line.
  8. Place all the other cards in a pile.
  9. Flip the card and when a match is found add it to your line. sight word race game for kids
  10. The person to reach the finish line first wins. He was counting to see who was ahead but we were neck and neck!sight word race for kindergarten Repeat! This game got him reading so quickly wanting to hurry up and flip to the next. sight word race game for kindergarten kids

Valentine’s Day Rainbow Wall

valentine heart muralWe needed some extra happy cheer in our playroom after a week of cold, gloomy weather. My kids had fun making something cheerful for their playroom while working on fine motor skills, color recognition and counting. Oh and cooperative projects like these were always the very first thing I’d set up for my class ( and now my kids) when bickering started popping up. Working together has a great way of allowing them to work out their differences and feel like a team again.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper ( or craft paper with double stick tape ) , many sheets of all different color paper, a heart punch, and markers in every color of the rainbow.valentine's day rainbow craft
  2. Start by pinning the contact paper to the wall sticky side out. I prefer contact paper because it allows kids to change where they put a heart if they don’t like their original placement. I pop the paper on with the backing still on then peel. I find it way easier than putting in on with the sticky already exposed. valentines day rainbow
  3. Next punch out a whole bunch of hearts. My kids helped with some but I did most of the punching . valentine's day rainbow craft mural
  4. Draw the rainbow with markers directly on the contact paper.valentine rainbow mural
  5. Set up a heart station ( ours was a plate and a stool) by the contact paper.valentine's day rainbow activity for kids
  6. Let them at it.valentines' day color matching activity for toddlersMy daughter liked taking her time finding the exact right spot for each heart. My son liked gathering a handful of one color and adding them on in a bunch.valentines' day heart mural for kids Clearly they weren’t having any fun at all.valentines' day heart mural for cooperative play
  7. My daughter fizzled out about half way through, if I was making this for just toddlers I’d make a much much smaller rainbow and maybe larger hearts as well. My son and I had a race to see which colors could be filled in first. I was reminded how much I love just working on something like this with my kids. It really does make you feel more like a team and is by far the number one reason we do projects together. He counted each color to see which won and noticed that of course the first few colors would have more than the last few. I love it when learning like that comes so naturally in a self directed way.valentine's day heart mural counting
  8. All done. Now our gloomy winter weather can’t bring us down. Valentine's day heart mural for preschool