Learning after school at our house has to be fast paced and fun. These math games are both. They are also a cinch to make and frugal too. Subitizing is the ability to recognize an amount without counting. It’s not a skill most of us were specifically taught in school but in recent years it’s been added to most elementary math curriculums. As the name of my blog suggests I am not a huge fan of flash cards but for some things that require automatic recall they make sense. Subitizing is one of those skills that requires automatic recall but flash cards aren’t the only way you can work on the skill. Games like these are great too.
Gather your materials . You will need some sentence strips ( using the back side) , scissors, and a permanent marker.
Cut your sentence strips in half. I used 2 colors but you don’t have to. Draw a line down the middle of each card and a tally mark on one side , number on the other. These should not match. Let the marker dry completely before playing.
The first game we played is a variation of dominoes. We placed one card on the table and split the others among the players. Then we took turns building by matching up the tally mark amounts to the numbers. The first person that had all their cards down won.
The next game was my son’s favorite. It’s a head to head speed game. Here are the instructions: Shuffle the cards. Place two down so the tally mark is facing the finish line ( in our case the end of the table) . Place the other cards in a pile face down and flip. When a match is made place it down end to end and keep going. The first person to reach the finish wins.
Practicing math at home does not need to be extra worksheets all the time. Make these simple games and you can play and practice at the same time.
This summer I have been partnering with Little Pim to think of fun new ways to combine high tech language learning like DVDs, Music CDs and Apps and low tech hands on activities and books. I think there is a place for all sorts of learning in early education and even more fun to combine. In this sponsored post I am going to show you how we used the French language tools from Little Pim and a little old fashion coloring for great lesson that works with all ages. For more language learning ideas check out Little Pim’s Pinterest boards .
- Gather your materials. My kids and I have been using a lot of Little Pim resources this summer but the very least you will need is a book about colors in the language you want to teach, some paper , a jar, crayons and a pen. I am using a Little Pim coloring page for a few reasons, one obviously it fits this post but also because my kids associate Little Pim with other languages and it’s a signal of what we are going to be learning. You can use one or just use plain paper, this activity is easy to adapt.
- Write out the color words in the language you are working on. I did French so I wrote out the colors that were featured in the book. Pop these words in the jar.
- Read the book with your kids to remind them of the color words. My kids are 3.5 years apart so when we do activities together I try to find jobs for my son to make him feel more like a helper. For this activity he read to his sister.
- Have your kids take turns pulling a word out of the jar. My son read the word and they announced what the color was in English, grabbed the right color crayon and colored. My daughter colored with abandon and her brother was much much more precise. A perfect representation of the difference in ages. They both worked on their French words for colors which was the goal.
For a full review of the book we used in this post and 26 others that offer a multicultural view check out our list of 27 multicultural books for kids.As stated above this post was sponsored by Little Pim .
Taking kids to an art museum can be an unpredictable adventure. They might love it, browse the art along with you and beg not to leave. They may also barely scan the art, try to touch everything and use the voice you begged them to only use on the soccer field the whole time. Kids are kids and expecting them to adore things that aren’t completely designed for them and then being angry or disappointed when they act their age is not really fair. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t expose our kids to art at art museums or give them expectations to live up to. What it does mean is that we help them reach these goals by giving them some tools.
Here are 5 simple games you can play with your kids at the art museum to keep them engaged in the art .
This game was created by my 6 year old on the way to the museum on Friday. I was explaining the next game on our list when he announced from his car seat that he had a better idea. I ran with it.
How to play :
One player chooses a work of art in a room/gallery but does not tell the other players which one it is. The other players try to guess which work of art is the secret one. You can ask for clues that give a yes or no answers just like in the game 20 questions. Whoever finds the secret one first gets to choose the next one in the next room/gallery .
I’ll Take That One !
How To Play:
Each player chooses one piece of art in each room/gallery to pretend they are going to buy from the museum. They must also say where they would put the art in their own home.
Build A Rainbow
How To Play :
This is essentially a color hunt. In each gallery see if you and your kids can find every color of the rainbow. To make it more challenging you can add a rule that you can only find one color per painting. So that painting with the rainbow … yeah not going to cut it! This is a great game to play with toddlers, just make sure that they know that art is for looking at and not touching ( we are still working on that too ).
How To Play:
Choose a color from inside a painting and the players can make guesses to what element it may be. For example if there is a brown dog in a painting the spyer will say ” I spy something brown” and the guessers will look for all the brown items in the painting, hopefully guessing the dog. This works great with kids of similar ability levels. My kids are just getting to the point where they can play games like this together and I love it. With older children you could do this with artists or genres saying ” I spy a Jackson Pollock” or ” I spy an impressionist painting.”. Adapt it to your kids.
10 Tips For A Fun Museum Trip ( even with toddlers )
- Go early when there are fewer crowds and your kids are fresh and open to learning.
- Go on a full belly.
- Look at the map together and find the bathrooms on the map. Suggest you check them out right away.
- Go on a free day so if you must abort ship when a meltdown arises you aren’t out an admission price . It can be busier but if your child isn’t the quietest ( I know mine aren’t) the crowds tend to make a loud toddler voice less distracting and make your trip more pleasant. You can talk to your kids in a regular voice and not worry about your kiddo being quiet.
- Find out if photography is allowed and if it is hand your kids a camera to document their trip.
- In and out. Most museums will allow you to have in and out privileges so if your kids need a breather take one.
- Play games to keep kids engaged . Some museums will have kid friendly maps or guides .
- Bring a sketch book.
- Know when they are done and find the nearest exit. Don’t try to see just one more thing. If you see the signs of a meltdown just go.
- Visit the gift shop and after you return home read about art, museums and artists to keep the learning going.
Books About Art Museums
Babar’s Museum of Art by Laurent de Brunhoff is one of my favorite art books for kids. My son has recently decided he hates it because he doesn’t want to see the elephant versions of the art. All the art in the museum are masterpieces that you will recognize redone with elephants. He slams the page in the way only toddlers with a definite sense of justice can and says ” No elephant paintings Mama, real ones!” Trust me though this book is awesome and he loved it a few months ago. The story is about how Queen Celeste wants to change the abandoned railway station into a museum to house all their collected art . The museum itself looks just like the Musee D’Orsay in Paris and the story also explains art for children.
Meet Me at the Art Museum: A Whimsical Look Behind the Scenes by Davis Goldin was a gift shop find at the museum we visited last week and the perfect book to keep my kids learning and interested. I read it to them while they ate lunch after our morning visit and they both really liked it. The book is a behind the scenes tour of an art museum. My daughter liked the inanimate objects that were turned into characters like the ticket stub and name tag while my son loved the insider info like how they choose paintings to display , check to make sure they aren’t fakes, and the security devices they use. I loved how it really explained the different jobs at the museum from docent to archivist to director and curator. The book held both their attention and reading it right after out trip gave us a fresh experience to relate it to.
Museum Trip by Barbara Lehman is fantastic. This wordless book has a clear strong message – that if exposed children can loose themselves in art, it opens a new world with new adventures before unseen! The story opens with a little boy on a school field trip to a museum, he looses his group , and soon finds himself in the art. After completing many mazes he is given a medal before he rejoins his group. My favorite part is as he is getting on the bus with his class he is wearing his medal and so is the museum curator. Love it!
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My kids and I had a blast playing memory with this homemade memory game that we made with pictures of some of our favorite memories of 2012. As you will see both my kids played ( although they aren’t ready to play against each other yet – their gap in abilities is still too vast) and both loved not only beating mom ( I am terrible at this game) but also retelling stories about each picture and the memory that went with it. Oh and it’s so easy to make.
- Gather your materials. You will need some card stock, double stick tape, digital photos , scissors and marker.
- Choose 6 or more photos of favorite memories of 2012. You can print them out in a collage using a service like picmonkey.com or individually. Make sure you have 2 copies of each picture.
- Cut your pictures out. Mine are all black and white because I ran out of color ink not for any grand reason.
- Tape to the card stock.
- Cut out.
- I added the year on the back for fun. Also I plan on making this year after year.
- Time to play. First up was my wee one. I laid out 8 matches for her although I probably could have done 6.
- She loved seeing the photos of herself – her first day of school with her teacher was her favorite. The excitement was genuine when she made a match. She made six before she asked if she could play with her tea set Next time I will keep the number of cards lower.
- Then we set it up for my 6 year old. He got the whole deck and was eager to show off. He didn’t know what photos I chose for the game and was happy to recount the stories that went with many of the photos. His favorite was a photo of him playing with our contributing writer Kim’s son . He made matches so quickly and counted them up after each one. It was a perfect opportunity to skip count by two as well.
Happy New Year!
We are a church going family and even though I am quite private about our faith I wanted to share this simple nativity activity with you. Every year since my son was 1 we have put out our Little People Christmas Story Nativity Scene Playset and played with it. I have tried to teach my son and now my daughter about who everyone is in it but it didn’t really stick. My 2 year old refuses to call the angel Gabriel anything other than the Tooth fairy . I decided it was time to learn more about who these people were and the roles they played in the Christmas story. Kids play to learn so making it a game was just what we needed.
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper, pen , a basket, a nativity scene with figurines and a book about the Christmas story.
- Write out clues for each figure. Mine were super simple like ” I am the Son of God. I was born in a manger. Who am I? Find me in the dining room. ” Adjust the info about each person based on your child’s age and knowledge. I hand wrote mine because as always I decided to do this spur of the moment. My messy handwriting completely frustrated my son while he was reading . Type it out if you have the time.
- Read the story first ( see below for the story we read). I find that reading it first is the best way to create a connection with who each figure is. Let them identify the figures in the scene too.
- Next send the kids away and hide the figures. My favorite was the Angel on the soup can in the pantry.
- Put the basket of clues in the manger. Have your children tell you who is missing. Read the first clue.
- Find the missing pieces. Ask your kids who they are and why they are important.
- Place them back in the manger and pull the next clue. My son read the clues but my daughter mimicked him much to my total pleasure. It was adorable and really great early literacy learning!
- Keep going until the nativity scene is complete.
Books About Christmas
What Is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams is a great board book for little children about Christmas. It touches on all the fun and cultural aspects of Christmas in a positive way but reminds the readers that really it’s about Jesus’ birth. I like the book because it doesn’t make the rest of the traditions out to be wrong or bad but explains that the holiday’s Christian origin in a simple matter of fact way.
The Christmas Story: The Brick Bible for Kids by Brendan Powell Smith is actually one of my favorite Christmas books this year. I grabbed it at Costco because my son is all about Lego but I have read it over and over to my kids because it is a great telling of the Christmas story. Now it doesn’t sugar coat much so if you don’t want to read about mean old King Herod and how he ordered babies to be killed then skip it. It really helped explain the story of Jesus’ birth to my 6 year old and the Lego photographs were a great novelty.This post contains affiliate links.