Santa Themed Math Game

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!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, markers, marshmallows or even cotton balls, a die and someone to play against.
  2. 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.
  3. Add numbers.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Roll.
  7. Add the marshmallow… oh and look who is getting a little fine motor practice too. I’m so sneaky.
  8. 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 .

Spider Web Gross Motor Activity – Halloween Game For Kids

gross motor activity for kids

Finding a fun spooky Halloween game for kids to play that won’t scare the pants of little guys is not always a simple task . This game is simple, spooky but not at all frightening.  As I was making it I wasn’t so sure of how we’d play but the rules evolved and we’ve been playing it all weekend . The giggles were epic and the only screams were  when I forgot the spiders are fake and walked  into the living room and saw them on the floor. This activity works on balance , problem solving and can be adapted for various levels.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some painters tape, plastic spiders, a prize for the end like a glow stick and if the simple version ( explained below) is too easy have some other obstacles like these ghosts ready to make it a challenge.
  2. Start by making a web with tape on your floor. You can do a full web or if like me space is limited just do a half.
  3. Make an obvious start and finish. We call our finish home base.
  4. Add some spiders around the web and the prize ( glowstick) in the center. After the first go I let my son scatter the spiders himself.
  5. Time to play. So the object of this web walking game is to stay on the web and pick up all the spiders then the prize ( glow stick) without falling off the web . Now this can be made very difficult by requiring tippy toes or much easier by only counting a fall onto the floor as a true fall. For us he was out and had to start again if he took a step off the tape.
  6. It was not a big enough challenge so we added ghosts!  He could step over them but if his foot touched one he was out.  Another way to make it much more of a challenge for older kids is to turn it into a timed challenge with a stop watch. 
  7. When he did step off I’d make a cackling witchy laugh and proclaim ” You fell into the goo, ew, ew, ew ! ” He’d laugh and start again

Spooky … a little but definitely not scary! I think this game will be coming out every October for years to come.

Song

You may know the song ” One Elephant” This is a Halloween version that fits this activity perfectly. In my class I used to sing this with me starting at one side of the circle time rug calling each child over. My assistant teacher would be last. I have had so many requests for songs, I couldn’t ignore this perfect match of song and activity.

One little ghost went out to play upon a spider’s web one day
He had such enormous fun that he called for another little ghost to come.
Two little ghosts went out to play upon a spider’s web one day
They had such enormous fun that they called for another little ghost to come.

and so on and so on…

Quick Links Supply List

This list contains affiliate links.

Green Painter’s Tape
Plastic Spiders
Mini Glow Sticks

Geography Game For Kids

geography lesson

My husband and I traveled a lot internationally before kids and we want to share our love and curiosity for other countries with our kids. Like many with young kids we aren’t up to taking them to all these places just yet. Instead we read lots of books , look at lots of pictures ( our own and others) and play games like this one that GASP uses flash cards . This geography game for kids is so simple and will spark your child’s wanderlust!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a globe or map, and some fun geography flash cards.
  2. Start by having your child pick a card. Ask them by looking at the picture where they think it might be. Wild guesses or close calculations are wqually good, this is all about exploring from your own playroom, not getting facts “right”.
  3. Flip it over and find out where it is.
  4. Next find it on the map.
  5. Keep going as long as it’s fun.
  6. Beware for wee sisters who swipe the landmarks.

Letter Dominoes

by Kim

 

This letter craft  is an activity that you will have to make for your children to play with. Don’t worry, it is very easy.

You will need a piece of foam board (I got mine from the dollar store), marker, scissors, and a pencil.

Draw lines for your domino pieces. I made mine with four rows going long ways and six columns going short ways. I used a piece of scrap I had for the missing two letters. I didn’t measure them out exactly, but this is where type A’s could really have fun.

Use your scissors, craft knife, or steak knife and cut out your pieces.

This is where I drew a line across the middle as a divider. I drew mine in pencil because I always mess up.

Write upper and lower case letters on each side. I drew mine in the same direction to make it easier for my children to look at the dominoes and decide which ones matched up. I didn’t want any upside down.

This is a very good time to pay attention to which letters you write next to each other on the same piece. You want your children to be able to match the letters throughout the alphabet. I just did them in order starting with an upper case Z on top and a lower case a on the bottom of the first. The second domino had an upper case A with a lower case b. And so on.

Now throw the dominoes on the floor and start playing an matching up!

You can alter these with site words and pictures, dots and numbers, or anything you would like some hands on learning and matching. The possibilities really are endless. What are you going to write on yours?

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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.

Masterpiece Memory Game

While browsing through the kid section of the gift shop at The Art Institute of Chicago I saw a fine art memory game that I wanted, what I didn’t want was the price tag, or the extra weight in my suitcase on the trip home. So instead I grabbed a few packs of Art Stickers ( for $1.50 each) and made my own. Memory games like this are great to teach basic game playing etiquette , good sportsmanship as well as an appreciation of the subject matter.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some card stock, fine art stickers and scissors.
  2. Start by cutting your card stock into squares. I made 16 ( 8 pairs) which seems to be a great and manageable number of pairs  for my son . Memory games have never been his strong suit so follow your own child’s abilities and you can always add or remove cards as needed.
  3. Pop the stickers on. I made the pairs match up with card color too as an extra hint for my son since I am trying to encourage him to play this game more without it ending in frustration over not getting it right away.
  4. All done.
  5. Flip over .
  6. Time to play.
  7. He made a match!

This game was a bigger hit this time than memory has ever been before, not sure if it was the color hint , subject matter or simply the right game on the right day. All I know is to keep trying lessons, games and activities even if they weren’t hits initially.

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Books About Fine Art

Touch the Art: Brush Mona Lisa’s Hair by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo is the inspiration for this post and my son’s new found love of Renaissance Art. The book is a board book with touch and feel aspects to it. The text is cute but not a story, each page asks the reader to do something with the touch and feel item . The real gem is bringing the art to young eyes. The book includes wonderful masterpieces : Girl with A Pearl Earring , Birth of Venus, The Arnolfini Portrait and more!

Katie Meets The Impressionists by James Mayhew is a art fairytale! Katie goes to the museum with her grandmother and before she knows it she is in the paintings and the world of the painters and their families.  Katie goes from painting to painting gathering flowers for her grandma and exploring a world on the other side of the canvas.  What I enjoy about this book is that it brings the paintings to life for readers and it shares the  back story in a way that children can connect to and imagine the possibilities when they go to museums! Of all these books this one held my son’s attention the least. I like to think it’s because he’s not a fan of impressionism, but I think it was simply a little long for his not quite 3 year old attention span.  Maybe if Renoir had painted garbage trucks… seriously though this is a fabulous book and worth a read!

Here’s Looking at Me: How Artists See Themselves (Bob Raczka’s Art Adventures) is devoted to self portraits and the story behind each one in this fascinating book. This is a book for children older than my son who is 4 but I still showed him every painting ( all self portraits) and read highlights of the text which I found fascinating and can’t wait to share it with my kids when they are a little older. I read a lot of art history books for fun and I learned a few things reading this.  I can’t think of a better book to couple with a lesson about self portraits for kids 6-12.