Winter Math Game Inspired by Frozen

frozen party game I had no clue what to name this game. After watching Frozen for the 15th time and yes if you must know I still cry when Anna steps between Hans and Elsa, my daughter and I brainstormed some ideas. We thought about making a Sven craft, then some snowflakes but we already have so many snowflake crafts … then this popped into my head. What if we used my daughter’s favorite movie EVER as inspiration for a gross motor math game? I wasn’t sure it would work but I knew we had to try. Well it did work and she loved it! Using your child’s interests is so important when doing educational activities at home. At school they won’t always get a chance to have such targeted ideas presented to them and at home it’s a great way to entice them to do something educational , how can they resist when it’s all about their favorite movie/book/character… etc… Also worth noting is that this would be a FUN Frozen party game for birthday parties. I’d write names on the snowflakes and have the party goers retrieve their own and the birthday boy or girl grab the frozen heart in the middle.

This could easily be adapted to any theme – you just need a basic shape, some things for the numbers, and stuff to walk over. You’ll see.

frozen party game

The Rules Of The Game:
*Roll the die and retrieve the number snowflake you rolled without falling off the snowflake ( you can decide what constitutes falling off the tape).
*Walk back to the start and drop the snowflake.
*After they have retrieved a designated amount of the snowflakes ( we did 3) they can go retrieve the frozen heart at the middle.
*If they step off the snowflake or step on any of the pom poms they must start all over again.

frozen inspired snowflake game

How To Set It Up

Gather your materials. You will need some painter’s tape, some pom poms, snowflakes, a marker, and a die or two.  You may also want a heart gem to make the center heart. The one we are using was a tree ornament my daughter created herself but seemed perfect for this activity.frozen party game

Start by making the number snowflakes we were just doing 1-6 to match the number she rolled but if  you are playing with 2 dice and working on addition or subtraction you’ll want all the possible sums/differences.frozen inspired math game

Pop the tape on your floor. snowflake gross motorI am too nervous to use this on my newly re-stained wood floors so I stick to our living room carpet. My daughter even helped.frozen birthday party games

Now place the pom poms randomly. These are ice bombs and if you step on one you must return all the snowflakes you have earned and start again. don't slip off the snowflake

Place the numbered snowflakes on the tape. snowflake game for preschool

Make a little snowflake to act as the starting point.

frozen party game

Play! frozen inspired math game

Roll. snowflake game for kids

Walk.

Pick up the snowflake. slip snowflake

Avoid those ice bombs!Slip off the snowflake

Roll again and again until it’s time to gather the frozen heart in the middle. There are so many ways to play with this idea. I hope we’ve inspired you to create something for your kids!

This was the perfect game after a few sick days to just get up an move a little. By using something she is great at ( numbers are her thing) mixed with something she is not… balance not so much her thing… I created a challenging but fun activity.

 

Spider Web Walking Spelling Game

spider web balance game for preschool One of our most popular posts ever is our Spider Web Walking and the other night while looking through pictures my 4 year old asked me if she could try that game. She was tiny when we did it the first ( and 2nd) times. So we got our stuff together and made a huge spider web to balance on but since my daughter had been asking to learn how to spell all her imaginary friends’ names I decided to turn it into a spelling game. You have to stay balanced on the web without stepping in the letters while you gather all the letters needed to spell the name ( or word). We were just matching up letters but when my son had his turn after he got home from school he had no visual as a guide, he just found the letters he needed and spelled the name without a guide. Easy to adapt is a must with a 4 and almost 8 year old.

Gather your materials. You will need some letter magnets ( or letters written out on paper), painter’s tape, card stock, a marker, scissors. Something that came up in a facebook thread is that children should be using lowercase letters. This will depend on the curriculum you are using. Some districts follow Upper than lower, some follow lower then upper and I personally have always followed the child. I teach my children to recognize the letters in tandem as well as my students. Letters in both forms are everywhere and recognizing them both is great. By the time children are working with word families they know both upper and lowercase letters, and I had uppercase ones on hand so I grabbed them. I wasn’t worried my daughter was getting confused, however in a class I would probably have shelled out more money and get some lowercase magnets! web walking spelling game

Start by writing out the names or words on card stock ( I use sentence strips from the dollar store). Cut so they are one per piece of card stock. web walking spelling activity

Tape out your spider web and add letters making sure you have put out the letters needed for the word you have asked your child to spell.spider web game

Start walking on the web.web walking gross motor activity

Balance to the word or name and read it. web walking for halloween game

Then gather the letters placing them on the written out word. web walking is fun gross motor activity for preschoolWhen every letter is matched up you walk off the web and let someone else have a turn or switch up words. web walking spelling game for kids

It’s very very tricky to bend down and get all the letters without touching extra letters but your kids will love the challenge! spider web walking game for kidsWe covered 3 names before having to run to the bus stop to get my son who promptly announced ” I did that before, let me try!” They kept playing happily long enough for me to get dinner started and read a little before any arguments began. web walking for elementary spelling game

 

Quick Link Supply List
This list is of the supplies I used ( or very similar). This list contains affiliate links.
Magnetic Wooden Alphabet
Sentence Strips
FrogTape

 

Books About Spiders

All our book lists include affiliate links.

spider

The Very Busy Spider was a favorite of my son’s from the get go. We have the board book edition and what I love about it, is that the spider web in it is raised and offers a sensory element to reading the story. This is a story of hard work, persistence and also helps reinforce animal sounds. Perfect for toddlers !

diary of a spider

Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin is a very clever book with some pretty funny bits of humor . Older preschoolers will love it. The overall theme is that spiders aren’t all nasty and that they have fears too. What a great lesson for kids that are at the age where they are not as eager to share their fears because they don’t want to look weak or unable to handle things themselves.

missspider

Miss Spider’s Abc Book by David Kirk has the most vivid and beautiful illustrations. The text is simple and flows well but the value is in the illustrations, they cover all sorts of bugs and are so bright that they will appeal to your child!

Backyard Safari and Map Activity

map activity for preschoolThis map activity was a huge hit because it included pretend play. Preschoolers love jumping into a fun pretend play scenario and adding a big dose of imagination to a regular old activity. My daughter loves going on safari when she plays dress up so I used that love to turn a simple hunt into a map activity. Reading maps is an important skill not just for the future but it teaches directions ( as we played we practiced left and right)  and uses spatial thinking skills . This took less than 5 minutes to set up and even if you don’t have a yard you can pop the toys in a backpack and try this at the park, beach, or even inside your home.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some toy animals, toy binoculars ( or make some like these binoculars), safari dress up, a clip board, markers and paper for making the map.backyard safari supplies

I started by mapping out our yard. It took me two tries before I got a somewhat accurate map. You could probably google earth your house and get a great shot of your yard but I don’t plan that far ahead so I free handed it.map activity for kids backyard safari

Then I added and X for each animal. Some spots have two Xs because there are two animals together.safari map for kids

Invite your little explorer to get ready for the safari!backyard safari dress up

Show them the map and go over it with them by asking them if they know what it is. What each part represents etc… don’t explain it all to them, let them explain it to you and you can fill in any big blanks if they arise.safari map activity for kids

Get ready to find some animals. I only helped once when she was really getting frustrated. The little alligator was tiny and well hidden. backyard scavenger hunt for kidsEvery time she found an animal she kissed it and put it back. gross motor safari game for preschoolI explained that when you go on Safari you observe the animals but you don’t take them with you.map activity for preschool  As we went along she found them even faster as well as got into the character , she was running so fast from one to the next.gross motor map gameMake sure you take a few moments to talk about what kind of animals they are and a little bit about them. We talked about herbivores and carnivores and how they are different.  She was very proud of herself for being able to read a map. For older kids have them create their own maps of the yard and add the Xs on after.back yard safari scavenger hunt

Story Books Featuring Safari Animals

all our book lists include affiliate links.

books about being different

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae is a very sweet story about a giraffe who gets laughed at because he doesn’t know how to dance. A cricket gives him some great advice and with new found confidence that different isn’t always bad he starts to dance!  This has been a favorite in our house for years!

Elmer
Elmer by David McKee is another book with a great message. Elmer is different, he isn’t gray like all the other elephants, and he’s a little bit of a goof too! He’s not so sure he likes that though. Like all of us it takes some time for Elmer to accept who he is but in the end he sees that patchwork is just who he is!

Hilda Must Be Dancing

Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson is a lovely story about a big hippo that loves to dance, although her neighbors aren’t as keen. See Hilda is bog and when she dances she shakes and rattles everything, it’s noisy and disruptive and is making her friends very angry. They suggest that she try new hobbies, but knitting and singing won’t do it’s simply not in her heart, Hilda needs to move and groove!  I loves that a solution is found that makes everyone happy, that Hilda doesn’t have to give up her passion, but that she isn’t so selfish as to simply say ” too bad” to her friends either.

Rainy Day Fun – Indoor Gross Motor Activities

active rainy day activities It’s been raining like crazy all weekend. When it gets like that even here in the Pacific North West  where kids are accustomed to it they get antsy. Antsy kids get into trouble real fast… so keep them busy and learning with these fun indoor gross motor activities. As I was compiling this collection I started noticing how many of the ideas came from Jamie over at Hands On As We Grow instead of just listing her blog over and over I decided to do a round up featuring her work with some of our old favorites thrown in. Pop over to her blog for even more ideas to keep your kids moving and learning  Hands On As We Grow .

 

Obstacle Courses

Learning Obstacle Course
Simple Obstacle Course For Crawlers
Activity Course with Balloons

Scavenger Hunts

hands on as we grow scavenger hunt for kids
Indoor Bug Hunt
Book Hunt
Spy Game Scavenger Hunt    (pictured above)
Rainy Day Puzzle Hunt
Rhyming Scavenger Hunt

Target Practice, Balance, and Concentration

balance activities

Walk The Line
Newspaper Throwing
Move & Learn Shape Recognition
Color Toss

hands on as we grow
Throw paper at A Sticky Spider Web ( this is one pictured above is one of my favorite posts of all time, anywhere!)
DIY Balance Beam
Spider Web Walking
Family Bowling

Letters, Numbers, and Movement Oh My!

gross motor letter game for kids

Move and Groove Letter Recognition Game
Sight Word Treasure Map
ABC Tape Maze
Word Scavenger Hunt

word hunt hunting for letters
Sight Word Match
Indoor Gross Motor Reading Game
Number Maze Inside!
Counting Around The House
How far can you jump? Movement and math!

Outdoor Alphabet Hunt

alphabet hunt outside learning It is so easy to turn a simple game into a educational one with a few additions. This alphabet hunt took me 5 minutes to plan and put together, including the maker test you will see below. I decided to use Duplo because even though it was sunny our yard has countless things that might get blocks wet or dirty. The Duplo are easy to clean and the connect together to create a full alphabet. This wasn’t the main purpose even though she naturally wanted to make the alphabet. Alphabetical order is not a huge concern at this age although using it as a tool to work on letter recognition can be useful. We used it as one way to see if we had all the letters. For children not eager to look for 26 letters try the letters in their name instead for older kids try sight words. For more alphabet ideas check out our Alphabet For Starters series.

Gather your materials. You will need some Duplo or other plastic interlocking blocks, a sharpie or two, a yard and you’ll want a dry erase marker to take the letters off when you are done using these blocks as letter blocks.duplo alphabet letter hunt outside

Start by doing a test on one block to make sure that the permanent markers you have will come off the blocks. I tested it out on a orange block. I wrote test on the block and waited 5 minutes. It was totally dry and then using dry erase marker I covered the whole word. Then wiped. It came off. I repeated this days later after doing the activity and the letters came off no problem. Test out your own on a small spot on the inside to make sure your marker comes off. duplo letter hunt

Write the letters on the blocks. alphabet hunt outdoors with duplo

Hide the blocks outside. We have a pretty big front yard so I spread them out!outdoor alphabet block hunt for kids

Time to search!alphabet hunt outside for preschoolers She found the first one right away. alphabet scavenger hunt for kidsNow depending on how many children are participating and what your specific learning goals are for your child you can add in some learning as they find the blocks too. I didn’t ask for every letter but every few blocks I would ask her what sound the letter made. Remember the sound is much more important than the name. I would also ask her to name something that started with the letter.alphabet hunt for kids outside

She started putting some letters together right away.alphabet hunt enjoying the sun

She took a break to soak in some sun.alphabet hunt outside for little kids

After we had many we put them into alphabetical order using the alphabet song as a guide. We also counted them and discovered we were missing some. We found all but one pretty easily. The v block was missing for a few hours. We went inside and took a break, then returned outside after a rest and snack and found it.

alphabet game outside

Have fun with letters.

Alphabet Books

Here are some great alphabet books to go with your activity. All book lists include affiliate links.

Alphabetter

Alphabetter by Dan Bar-el and Graham Ross is another great alphabet book for you to check out. Each letter is represented by a child who has something that starts with the same letter as their name but doesn’t have what they want which starts with the following letter. It’s such a cute gimmick and so effective while reading that it’s not a gimmick at all! At the end of the book all the children pass the items back down the alphabet and everyone gets what they want. Awesome book for toddlers on up !

Sleepy ABC

Sleepy ABC by Margaret Wise Brown . Although I have a legendary hatred of Runaway Bunny I generally love this author. I like this book, and the illustrations will zip you back in time for sure.  Unlike many alphabet books it has a great rhythm for reading it all without breaks. Like the title suggests it’s a good alphabet book for a bedtime read, it even ends with something I say to my kids every night  “Go to sleep!”

Alphabet soup

Alphabet Soup by Scott Gustafson is a treat! I read a lot of alphabet books and this one stands out for so many reasons. Otter is hosting a potluck and his animal friends are all bringing something to share. Each page is devoted to an animal with a coordinating food item and more. This book is reminiscent of Graham Base’s Animalia but much more toddler friendly. Where Animalia is great for older children because it’s so full of detail, this book brings it down a notch but still enchants you with stunning illustrations and fantastic coordinating text.