Button Mural – Number Recognition

button number fine motor math muralMy daughter is a big fan of murals, buttons, and numbers. I love seeing the differences between children while also celebrating their similarities. My daughter has always loved number recognition and picking up teeny tiny objects so this activity was a sure fire hit. What I didn’t expect was for her to complete the whole thing in one sitting. I expected her to do a few numbers then come back to it later. Instead she did them all one after the other and we were almost late for preschool. I loved how many different aspects of working with numbers and quantities this activity naturally encouraged. As you will see not only did my daughter make the shape but she counted, traced, and compared sizes as well. **Please only use items that your child is ready for. If your child is still in a mouthy stage you can use paper cut out shapes instead.**

Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, painter’s tape, a marker and buttons.button numbers math preschool

Start by attaching the contact paper to the wall. Painter’s tape works great and won’t muck up your walls.math button number mural

Write numbers on the contact paper.button number mural for preschool

I  welcomed my mini math whiz to check out what I was doing in the hall. She started by tracing the numbers and noticing how hard that it to do with contact paper’s sticky surface.button number mural exploring the numbers

Next she added and added and added buttons.button mural adding the buttons Stopping to count from time to time.button mural counting the buttons

She noticed that one button was exactly the same color as her sweatshirt.button color match mural

She kept adding and talking about the numbers she was creating. I loved when she noticed that she needed either one large button or a few little ones to finish off a number. Good little lesson there!button mural finishing the whole things

If your child does one number and is excited that’s great. I originally asked her to choose her favorite and then was going to ask her to choose her next favorite but she just kept going. Go with the flow and look for those little unexpected lessons like color matching and size.

No matter what celebrate !

button numbers all done celebration

 

 

Counting Books

 
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Anno's Counting Book

Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno almost didn’t make it into my library bag. I am so glad it did. This is a wonderful book full of possibilities. There is no text just simple aerial illustrations of a field as it evolves one number at a time. The field fills up quickly and it can be tricky to classify the pictures on each page to match it with the number displayed but once you do , each page is a lesson!

doggies

Doggies by Sandra Boynton has been one of my daughter’s favorite books for ages. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a simple counting book about dogs, their different barks and one pesky cat. Toddlers love barking along with it so it’s a great book for places where they don’t have to be shushed, it’s not a great one for quiet only places like a church service.

math books for preschoolers

On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Michael Dahl was a great find, my son loved counting down from 12-1 with the bright illustrations , simple text and hidden numbers on each page. Something that seems simple but was really awesome was that each page had the number written as a word, shown as a digit and as dots to count. You can take the time to count each dot, read the word or simply recognize the digit!

Ten on the sled

Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman is a really fun and educational book. The book is a new spin on the old song ” Ten in A Bed” but instead of squeezing onto a bed these cold weather animals pile on and off the sled one at a time. What is wonderful from an educational sense is not just the obvious counting element but as each animal exists the sled the verb used for how they exit begins with the same letter as the animal does. My daughter and I read this last night and even though she knows there is a moose and a caribou on the sled she insisted they were reindeer. We stopped each page to count and double check that the correct number of animals were on the sled. It took forever to read and might just have been a kid led tactic to make bedtime stretch out but I can’t say no to counting.

Trim The Tree Fine Motor Activity For Kids

christmas fine motor activity for kids We love playdough and this fine motor activity isn’t just a fun way to build and challenge fine motor skills it also naturally encourages counting, color recognition and or course pumping everyone up for Christmas. We had fun trimming our tree earlier this month and my daughter has been moving ornaments around so I knew she would be into a tree trimming themed activity. If you have Styrofoam from Christmas packages you could use that instead of playdough for the tree but we didn’t have any handy so we used this.

Gather your materials. You will need some mini ornaments ( these were found in Target’s dollar spot a few days ago), toothpicks, green and yellow playdough, a mat and a fun container for the ornaments. Trim the tree fine motor activity for kids

Start by making a tree with a star with the playdough. Kids can do this or you can.  I did it for my daughter. Make sure it’s thick enough to hold a toothpick upright.

Invite them to play. fine motor christmas tree activity for kids

Stick the toothpick in and add the ornament. fine motor trim christmas tree

Look at that concentration! fine motor winter activities

Keep going and from time to time stop and count to see how many you have added so far. fine motor playdough activity for kids

My daughter was interested in the metallic colors trying to decide which gold tone one was rally gold and what the other one was. She ended up calling one gold and one pink-gold. I thought that was pretty accurate. fine motor christmas activity for kids

I was so pleased with how well she took to this activity. She loved it.

When they are done let them be done, don’t push to add them all. As long as kids gave the activity a great go pushing them to do more more more will only end up in a negative feeling about these little skill building activities and can result in them refusing to give the next one a try. They will have lots of must do activities while they are older when they are little I like to be a fun buffet of ideas to try instead. Leave it out if it’s something they can do independently and let them return or not return to it at their leisure. I left this out for a few hours. She was done for good though, and that’s OK.

fine motor fun for kids

Beading Made Easy For Little Hands

beading with toddlers Beading is such an awesome fine motor activity because it combines so many skills that young kids are working to master. It works on pincer grasp and hand eye coordination while placing the beads on the string or ribbon but you can work in patterning, color recognition, and counting too.  The problem with beading though is that it can frustrate children easily. You must strike a balance of challenge and success to avoid melt downs, or kids just deciding that the activity is no fun.  Below you will see how I set up beading with my daughter who will bead for ages provided she can do it with little help. Over the years doing beading projects with preschoolers have taught me a few tricks to make it a smooth process and I am sharing them with you.

Gather your materials. You will need some ribbon, painter’s tape, clear tape, ribbon ( ours was about an inch thick) , milk shake straws, and scissors. beading activity for preschool

Start by cutting your straws into smaller pieces. Adjust the length according to the age and ability of your child. beading

Cut your ribbon to the size you want and tape one end to the table using painters tape. This prevents the beads from falling off the end . Also using a thicker ribbon makes it so that if your child does drop the end the beads won’t come flying off. beading made easy for preschool

Before you invite your little one to come bead use the regular tape to cinch the ribbon into a needle. This gives your child a stiffer piece to thread with. beading tips for preschool

Time to bead. With the steps we took to avoid frustration the activity was smooth and pretty quick too. beading necklace

Best of all was how proud she was of her accomplishment and since she made the necklace all by herself withe the exception of tying the ends together it really felt like an independent accomplishment.  Then she was off to play with her garlic press and bulldozer. Bet you never thought you’d hear those two words in the same sentence. Kids are rad. beading and threading activities for kids

Do you have any tips for beading with kids ? I would love to hear them !

 

25 Playful Ways To Work On Fine Motor Skills

 fine motor skillsAs parents we sometimes take things like reading and writing for granted.  For our young kids these skills are huge hurdles in the first few years of formal education. Whether your child is educated  at home or in a school much time and effort is spent on these basics. Working on fine motor skills can help your child develop the hand strength and dexterity they need for handwriting. Tracing letters over and over again isn’t the only option you have . These playful fine motor activities that will develop their skills while they have fun learning . Other than these fun educational ideas some toys that promote fine motor skills include Lego, Perler beads , and lacing cards.

Pin & Pound Pumpkins
Dry Erase Mazes
Cork Board ABCs
Bead & Spell
Alphabet Glue Tracing
Button Excavation
Unwrap & Count Corks
Pound and Learn Hammering
Clothes Pin Patterns
Feather Color Match
Nuts & Bolts Spin Spelling
Simple Cereal Bird Feeders
Paint Chip Color Match
Q-tip Painted Easter Eggs
Nature Cutting
Button & Cork Builders
Playdough & Bead Animals
Lock & Key
Playdough Kabobs
Rhyming Peg Board
Shell Sorting
Letter Rainbowing
Dry Erase Word Search
Design Your Own Lacing Pattern
Cereal Bracelets

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Playdough Kabobs – Preschool Math & Fine Motor

playdough kabobs for kids“It’s just pretend!” is a very common phrase at our house. From my daughter telling us she is eight not three, my son yelling at imaginary troops in the backyard, and even when we set extra place settings for imaginary friends at meals, we do a lot of pretending. Often pretend play is a way for kids to practice being an adult, try on new roles, and do things that are not usually for them. This playdough activity that includes both math and fine motor skills came about because my daughter loves helping me cook dinner, especially when we are having kabobs. She is a master at skewering veggies and will often make patterns. So on a rainy day { get ready for lots of those…} we decided to grab the playdough and pretend we were making dinner and do a little learning along the way.

Gather your materials. You will need Play-Doh, skewers, a bowl, and a cookie sheet.playdough kabobs supplies I was setting up the materials shot when my daughter grabbed my phone and took her own. I don’t think it was too bad! playdoughkid
Start by rolling the playdough into balls. This is great for hand strength which is part handwriting development. playdough kabobs rolling into ballsMake a bowl full – we worked on ours together.playdough kabobs fine motor skills for kids
Next gently thread the playdough balls on. If they stab the playdough too far from the center they will fall off. If they aren’t on well just show your child to give them a squeeze.playdough kabobs for preschool
This activity naturally welcomes counting. After she was done one skewer she laid it on the cookie sheet and counted all the playdough balls.playdough kabobs counting
When she picked up the next skewer I asked if she thought she could make a pattern. So she did. She informed me that it was pink and “orange pink”.playdough kabobs patterning

Simple activities like these tap into so many different kinds of learning as well as creates a space to sit and work on something with your child.playdough kabobs on the baking sheet

 

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Books About Food

 

everybody_cooks_rice

Everybody Cooks Rice  by Norah Dooley is a fantastic book! The book follows a sister who is looking for her brother in their San Francisco neighborhood. As she goes from door to door each neighbor invites her in to eat some of their supper. Everybody is having some sort of rice dish even though they are all from different countries. My 6 year old really enjoyed this book and understood the message well , my 3 year old sat through it no problem too. There are so many future lessons about geography, nutrition, and travel packed in this one little book! Awesome find.

eating the alphabet

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire and perfect for a letter F eek, since it’s all about food!  Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page! This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you hungry.

yum yum dim sum

Yum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger is a book that makes me crave dumplings something fierce but my daughter seems to like the rhymes and pink and red colors throughout. The book explains in a zippy text all about Dim Sum . It’s a board book targeted to babies it’s really useful to use to teach children about foods they may be unfamiliar with. There is even a little appendix with Chinese words for all the items mentioned in the book like tea, rice and tarts.

 

 
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