This is another part of our learning after school series. I try to engage my son in fun things after school and when I asked him what he wanted to work on he said math. He loves math and comes by it very very naturally. His dad has a bachelors degree in engineering with a minor in math and a MBA in finance. Yeah numbers are well loved in our house . Even I love math although I didn’t always. It wasn’t until I was teaching it to students that I found the fun in numbers.
- Gather your materials. You will need a jar , some hearts ( any hearts will do – we used foam ones but paper, heart erasers, heart candies will all work), The printable found here and again below and a pencil with an eraser.
- Start by printing out the printable – click here or on the image for download. It looks grainy in the pdf but it’s clear when downloaded.
- Lay out the sheet, pencil and hearts and let your little math whiz at it. Of course this is more than just a math lesson. My son is working on writing numbers in kindergarten right now and this is my tricky way of practicing without making him write them over and over again. If the 8 questions are too much do 2 or 3 and put it away for a day or two and complete the rest after. Learning isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon so go slow if needed! He estimated, counted, sorted and counted and wrote some more.
This week is fire prevention week and we’ve been sharing some of our fire truck and firefighter themed crafts on our Pinterest and Facebook now it’s time for something new on the blog. This fire truck math activity is really also a writing one although I only marketed it as a math one for my son. See he isn’t super keen on writing but he loves math. He is a bit of a perfectionist and writing takes practice and it’s hard. So to temper the frustration he feels with writing I added a fun theme and another appealing task , the math. There was still some frustration but there were a lot of smiles too.
- Gather your materials. You will need some red paper, a black marker, a pencil, and scissors.
- Start by drawing the outline of a fire truck. This does NOT need to be perfect, as you can see mine wasn’t and this took we 3 tries. One tip is to draw on on scrap paper and when it’s just right cut it out and use that as a template. Cut out however many you want.
- Add some windows, tires and the most important part the ladder. The rungs on the ladder are what your child will count and then write on the body of the truck.
- I cut out 7 but only drew on 5 not knowing if my son would want more than 5 . Good thing I did as you will see.
- Count the ladder rungs.
- Write. After a few he asked if these were all I had. I grabbed the 2 extra and filled them in.
- Keep going. Flip over and write on the back if they want more!
One of the things I love most about blogging is how one post will inspire another and not just on the same blog but from one blogger to another . I wasn’t going to post this yet but when Kristina from Toddler Approved posted this Corn Roll game that we inspired with our Candy Corn Counting I knew I needed to share this game. Also we have been playing it a lot, and not just because the tv is broken, because it’s fun!
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper, markers, marshmallows or even cotton balls, a die and someone to play against.
- Start by drawing Santa , I couldn’t find a good printable with a beard big enough for the numbers. Which was good since my printer is out of ink anyway. So I drew the santas.
- Add numbers.
- I put the sheets on clip board to keep them from blowing around, but you could laminated them or pop them on a cookie sheet with some magnets too.
- The objective is simple you want to fill up Santa’s beard first but covering all the numbers with marshmallows. The way you do that is to roll that number on the die.
- Add the marshmallow… oh and look who is getting a little fine motor practice too. I’m so sneaky.
- We ended up playing a few times and by request one was a boys against girls. My daughter even rolled the die for the girls’ team!
I love games like this because they use a few novelties like Santa and marshmallows but are still packed with learning not only math but about sportsmanship and good game play.
Books About Santa
Christmas Morning by Cheryl Ryan Harshman wasn’t what I expected , it was more. It’s written in the spirit of ” The House That Jack Built” and the text builds and builds starting with snow falling on a house as children sleep and ending with Christmas morning. What I wasn’t expecting is that the author tells the story of The Nutcracker , albeit a very simplistic version, in the rhyming text as well. The illustrations of the Rat King is a little frightening but nothing that will prevent you from reading it.
How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky is a fun and surprisingly practical story about Santa and how he developed the skills needed for his one of a kind job. It starts with Santa as a young man and as he keeps bouncing from job to job he acquires skills like going in and out of chimneys as a chimney sweep with ease and without getting dirty, develops a relationship with reindeer as a zoo worker and gets chubby eating all the food at a all night diner gig! There are more but i don’t want to spoil the story. My son loved it, especially once the elves showed up, which was when the toys did too! I know when i was a kid I wanted to know how Santa got his job, and there are movies dedicated to this so this book jumped on the bandwagon and did a great job , it’s very cute!
McDuff’s New Friend by Rosemary Wells was a classroom classic in my last year teaching. I think I read it every day for 3 weeks straight and then a few weeks after Christmas too! In it McDuff the little Westie dog saves the day finding Santa stuck in the snow! I love Susan Jeffer’s retro illustrations and the little details like the dad feeding the baby, the doggy sweaters the McDuff wears in the snow, and how Santa gave them all gifts they needed in the story .
Counting is fun, counting candy is even more fun! This is a great thanksgiving themed math activity that promotes ” Checking your work” something that not only encourages kids to slow down ( something my son needs when doing tasks) but it also builds independence and confidence. Amazingly it wasn’t my kids who ate the candy after this activity was done… I can’t help it candy corn is so yummy! If you are not a fan of using candy for activities you can easily substitute pom poms or pony beads for the candy or make a turkey like the craft that inspired this activity.
- Gather your materials. I used a cheap cookie sheet with raised edges to keep the candy corn contained . Also some brown and green construction paper, scissors, tape and a marker. Oh and of course some candy corn.
- Start by cutting out the green husks. Please remember perfection is not the point, I don’t have time to spare and know you don’t either.
- Cut out the ear of corn.
- Tape to the cookie sheet.
- Add numbers. Try to add some easy and some more challenging. If it’s too easy it’s boring, too hard and frustration sets in, either way learning falls flat.
- Add the corn!
- Check your work.
- Next I flipped the husks over and wrote new numbers on, I added the corn and my son checked my work. I purposely made mistakes on two of the ears, and asked him how to fix them. He subtracted on one and added to the other. It was a great add on to a simple counting activity. I will be doing more “fix my math” activities in the near future because he loved that.
Stores may already have winter holiday decorations out, but fall is not over with. There is so much more time to enjoy it. Here is a fun way to incorporate learning, crafting, and turkeys. Yep, turkeys.
You will need some construction paper, glue, scissors, and markers. For a reusable (and glue-free) version of this activity use felt instead of construction paper.
Trace circles onto brown construction paper. I used a drinking glass to trace. Make a circle for each number you would like to use in this activity.
Cut out the circles and glue them onto smaller sheets of colored paper. At this point you could have your child cut and glue. I prepared all of mine ahead of time because this activity was done simultaneously with 9 children and only me. Draw little wings, feet, and turkey heads on. At the top write the number for each sheet.
Now cut out lots of feathers in an array of colors.
Now your child can read the number (or count the dots) and set out how many feathers need to be glued onto the turkey.
Let your child start gluing away. With so many small children and just me, I used glue sticks.
Have them count out the feathers to make sure they have the correct amount. Then they can be a silly turkey themselves.
This is a fun activity that helps number recognition, counting, colors, sorting, you can even do the feathers in a pattern, motor skills, and is just plain fun.
Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It