Valentine’s Day Math Activity

valentine's day math My daughter loves math and I couldn’t be happier. This Valentine’s Day math game is all about things she loves. Toys, numbers and hearts! This game is pretty simple but you will need enough items that are obviously alike for the groupings. What I loved about this game was that there were so many math skills combined into the game. She had to recognize the number then match it to the amount in the groupings. This naturally led her to counting the objects many times as she checked to see if they were match. Sometimes she remembered the amount and didn’t have to recount. I loved watching her think through this.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some hearts ( we used post its) and a marker, a bunch of small objects that you can put in groups of 1-10 , space to play and I used our wall for the number line.Heart math game for Valentine's day

 

Start by setting up your groups. We did this in our playroom so I used toys and craft supplies but you could do this outside and use rocks, leaves and sticks.

math activity for children

Write out the numbers on your hearts. heart mathI did 1-10 and then popped them on the wall. Then noticed my daughter writing something and she’d made her own 0 and added it to the line.heart math for valentine's day

 

I told her that each heart belonged to a group but we needed to count the toys to see where each heart should go. And she was off. Matching them up and counting like crazy!!valentine's day math activity

 

She may not have told me she was using estimation as a strategy but she was. She’d look at a grouping and if the number was low and the group was large she’d move on to a more reasonable match before actually diving in to count. I didn’t tell her to go from 1-10 but she picked the hearts off in order. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t go in numerical order, it’s not important. Number much like letters are rarely in order anyway.math valentine's day craft for kids

 

Hooray she did it!!math game for valentine's day gross motor

Counting Books We Love

Here are a few great counting books for kids. All book lists include affiliate links.

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!

daddy hugs

Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz is a cute little counting book for toddlers. I gave it to my husband in 2007 for his first father’s day to read with my son and my son hated it. However in the years since it’s become a favorite and nothing beats a board book for when toddlers get to that destructo stage. Edited for 2013: My daughter has always loved this book!

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. This was fantastic for my son who wanted to sound every animal and verb out.  Add a fun rhyming sing song text and this is a great read.

 

Hanging Out The Wash { Math & Fine Motor Skills}

dirty socks number match and fine motor activityClothespins are some of my favorite tools for learning and this easy math activity uses them along with your child’s imagination and love of mundane adult things like hanging clean socks on the line. This number matching activity wasn’t easy for my daughter at first but after she got the hang of it it was a breeze. The turning point was folding the sock over the line and then she could pin it herself.   This can be set up, played with and taken down over and over.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some fabric paint, socks ( try the dollar store if you don’t have extras at home), some wired ribbon, marker,  a basket, clothes pins and something to secure the ribbon to the wall.hanging out the wash math and fine motor
  2. Start by painting numbers on your socks.  I let ours dry for 2 full days… just in case.dirty socks 001
  3. Write the numbers on your clothes pins. I did 2 sets one for my daughter and the other with simple equations for my son. He wasn’t into this activity “It’s kinda for little kids Mom.”  so I will use this clothes pins for a “big kid” activity like this one instead.dirty socks 37356
  4. Set your clothesline up and pop the socks in the basket. Invite your little learner to hang out the wash.dirty socks 3
  5. The way I had it set up originally required me to help her and it slowed things down and she was frustrated not being able to do it herself.dirty socks ghgjg
  6. So we switched things up and she was clearly thrilled.dirty socks 678
  7. I took all the pins off and put the socks on the line folded over.
  8. Then she grabbed the matching pin and clipped it on. dirty socks 444After that she was golden and quickly matched the numbers up. It took a lot of coordination to get the correct pin on. dirty socks 2

Easy New Years Memory Game

new years activity for kids 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.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some card stock, double stick tape, digital photos , scissors and marker. new years memory game
  2. 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.
  3. Cut your pictures out. Mine are all black and white because I ran out of color ink not for any grand reason. new years memory game for kids
  4. Tape to the card stock.
  5. Cut out.new years memory match game for kids and toddlers
  6. I added the year on the back for fun. Also I plan on making this year after year.memory match game for kids and toddlers
  7. Time to play. First up was my wee one. I laid out 8 matches for her although I probably could have done 6.match game for toddlers
  8. 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.memory and match game for kids and toddlers for new years
  9. Then we set it up for my 6 year old. match and memory game for new years eveHe got the whole deck and was eager to show off.  new years match game for kids and toddlersHe didn’t know what photos I chose for the game and was happy to recount the stories that went with many of the photos. new years even game for kids  His favorite was a photo of him playing with our contributing writer Kim’s son .new years photo memory game He made matches so quickly and counted them up after each one. It was a perfect opportunity to skip count by two as well.new years eve memory game for kids

Happy New Year!

 

Easy Pattern Matching For Preschoolers

DIY classroom supplies This is a simple activity with great cognitive benefits. Matching is the simplest form of finding patterns which is an important part of learning to organizing information. This is important for math and reading later on.  Customize this to your child’s abilities by using colored foam like me to give an extra cue or use all the same color foam to make it harder.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam circles, permanent markers and a pair of scissors.
  2. Draw some patterns. Make sure the marker is dry before handling it.
  3. Cut the circles in half.
  4. Invite your wee one . I had one half out for her and all the rest in a pile for her to choose from to make a match.
  5. If they need help ask if they see any of the same color .
  6. Celebrate every match!

Leaf Matching Puzzles

leaf numbers
by Kim

Looking for a fun way to practice number recognition? Then look no further. Playing with these letter and number recognition puzzles is a fun way to get little fingers and mind active. This is an activity you will want to do ahead of time and have ready for the little ones.

Grab a piece of corrugated cardboard, a marker, and a pair of scissors. You can use posterboard or craft foam, but corrugated cardboard is so much thicker and it is easier for your child to see that they are matching the pieces up correctly.

Draw some leaves on the cardboard. Then draw a line through them. I like to do a squiggly line to help the pieces “lock” in together better. Now draw a number on one side of the leaf and dots corresponding to that number on the other side.

Cut out the leaves. This is the part where you will be glad you are not making these pieces with your children. Cutting the cardboard can be tricky because it is so thick.

You can also draw and cut out leaves with upper and lower case letters to match up.

*VARIATION- Math equations would offer a more challenging task for older siblings that want to join in the fun, too. For younger children (and ambitious caregivers) you could color the leaves for color matching.

Cut along the line you drew that divides the leaf.

Now divide your leaf pieces into two sections. One section with the numbers written on them and one section with the dots drawn on them, or upper case letters and lower case letters.

Watch your child match them up. It is fun to watch them match different ways each time. Sometimes my daughter would match by number recognition and then counting the dots. While other times she matched the shape of the leaves.

Any way they match is great practice for reasoning and logic skills. Putting the pieces together make great motor skill exercise, too.

 

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.