## Monster Math Craft

This math craft activity is the perfect example of mixing directed learning and creativity. When I create activities like these I try to make them appeal to the kids who love creative art as well as the ones that are excited by the math. You will find that there is a ton of overlap as well, kids who are into math love art, kids who are great readers love to move, and when we only focus on one way to teach we miss out on so much fun as well as learning. When I created this activity I messed up. My kids were my testers and the activity failed the game test. I tried to make it a game but it was too complicated and I really need to avoid having my kids compete with such a huge age difference. As a craft it was much more fun and we abandoned the game idea a few minutes in.

For a simpler and re0usable version of this craft check out our Monster Math Tray, it’s perfect for a small PreK classroom!

Gather your materials. You will need some card stock, some brightly colored paint daubers or markers, scissors, glue, dice, and a ton of googly eyes.

Start by folding your card stock in half and cutting out a monster. I just cut our squiggles and spikes and go for it.

Set out your paint daubers and invite your math whizzes to the table. Let them decorate their monsters with the paint or markers. I like using these paint daubers because they dry fast and for this activity that is a must. Markers would be perfect too.

When they are done painting the monster it’s time to introduce the glue ,googly eyes…and dice.

Each creator takes a turn rolling the dice and adds that many eyes to their monster. Only the roller added the eyes on their turn.

To put a limit on the eyes I had a number line and we blacked out the numbers as they were rolled. If we rolled a blacked out number we rolled again until we rolled one that had not been blacked out. This gave them extra practice substituting the amounts on the dice and adding as well as adding a team element to trying to black out the number line. Hearing them say ” Come on roll a 6, we need a six.” is not really ground breaking but little instances likes these add up and build teamwork that all families can use.

They rolled a lot of the high numbers first… and then we could not roll a 2 to save our lives! My 4 year old suggested ” Just use one die instead it will be easier.” Now here’s the thing, The point of the two dice were to provide more opportunities to subitize, and add larger amounts but I couldn’t just ignore that at 4 she was busting out some awesome logic and I wanted to support that. So we put away one die and kept rolling until we got our last number we needed.

Let the monsters dry and enjoy the fun math monster!

## Roll & Pound Math Game For Preschool

We love math. If I posted all the math activities we do I there would be no time for anything but math. My kids are wild about numbers and I love seeing them find such joy in a simple math game like this. Even though this is a one person game having a cheering section is usually a wonderful thing. My kids both enjoyed having me cheering them on but if yours doesn’t ( and some kids feel uncomfortable with parents watching even when they are getting praise) let them be. You can still offer praise or help but give them space. My daughter loved this math game for preschool!

If you are looking for a similar game with letter sounds check this activity for letter sounds out!

Gather your materials. You will need a toy like this Pound-A-Peg ( affiliate link), some masking tape, scissors, a marker, dice, and a shoebox or other way to contain the dice.

Start by cutting the tape into small squares and popping them on the ends of the pegs. Add numbers. I was distracted when I added them and actually wrote 14 on one. Um… yeah that won’t be possible with a pair of dice.

Show your child how to play.

Roll the dice.

Count up all the dots or subitize and add  – both work. Subitizing is the ability to immediately recognize the amount on a dice ( or tally, fingers on a hand etc… ) without counting.

Pound the matching peg. Sometimes there is no peg to pound down, and sometimes it’s already pounded down. Roll again!

She LOVED this game and I didn’t really have to do anything because it was just at the right level, it made her think but wasn’t too challenging for her to do. She had to recount a few times and started subitizing on her own with 2 and 5 and when they were rolled with one and two she would add. It’s crazy fun to watch her math skills develop through fun activities like this.

With older children you can try subtraction , adding more dice, or even multiplication and division. You would be surprised how this toddler toy that my children played with daily as 18 month olds can still appeal to kids in elementary school. It’s very satisfying to whack!

## Outdoor Math Activities For Kids

Make learning memorable with these hands on outdoor math activities. Math doesn’t have to be all flash cards and worksheets. It can include games, gross motor, and some novelty like water balloons and Nerf guns. These 9 math ideas have been tested by my kids who adore math but even children who are not so keen on math ( me as a kid!) will find something they can enjoy in this list too.

Water Balloon Math Game

Cheeseball Math

Sidewalk Chalk Number Line

Shoot & Count Nerf Gun Math Game

Numbers In Nature

Hose Down Shapes

Find & Count Bug Hunt

Shell Number Memory Game

Marshmallow Shoot & Measure

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## Lego Math Game For Preschool

Do you know what subitizing is? A lot of people do not and even though we all do it.  When I was studying how to elementary teach math I never learned this it wasn’t something that was focused on but it is now. The easiest way to describe what subitizing is , is to think of it as the numerical equivalent to sight words. It is the ability to recognize total amounts without counting. Tally marks, dice, even fingers are great ways to practice the skill. This Lego math game is great for beginners because it only works subitizing numbers from 1-6. My daughter is our littlest math whiz and loves all things numbers so she was game and dove right in. We played a bunch of times since the game itself can go pretty quickly!  Check out the tutorial below for ways to adapt this game for older children as well.

Gather your materials. You will need a regular die, 12 DUPLO or LEGO bricks, a sharpie, and a tray or wide box to keep the die contained.

Number your bricks 1-6 with the sharpie. Don’t worry it will come off with a dry erase marker later.

Invite your game player and explain the rules – roll an amount , subitize, and find the matching number.

All the bricks are in a loose pile.

Roll the die and recognize the amount – say it out loud.Find the brick with that number on it.

Let the other player roll and repeat the steps.

Keep rolling until one person has built their stack and placed it in order.

If you roll an amount you already have skip you don’t grab a brick.

The player who has built their stack first wins.

I won the first game and she was not happy. When my kids get upset about me beating them I calmly tell them they can have another chance at beating me if they want to play again. It doesn’t always work but it works more than it doesn’t. Children get excited and losing is disappointing just getting mad at them for being disappointed won’t help. Acknowledge the disappointment and offer some help or ask them how they can get the result they want… practice, play again, take a breather and come back and try again.

## Pokemon Math – Learning After School

The stomach flu hit our house hard last week and my son who is in first grade was home for a few days. Last time he was sick he did our Sick Day Printables but this time he asked me to make him something with his Pokemon Cards.  Are your kids into Pokemon? I could not tell you that I know much about how to play the actual Pokemon card game but I do know my son adores it and tapping into their interests is a sure fire way to get them into whatever learning goals you have for them.  We have been working on addition and subtraction so why not turn that into Pokemon math?! This post is part of our Learning After School series which is a series of short but fun activities for school age kids.

Gather your materials. You will need some Pokemon Cards ( you could use regular cards too) , painter’s tape ( I swear I use this more than any material), paper, and a pencil.

Using painter’s tape secure the cards onto the paper. I did four rows of two cards on each page and made three pages.

Turn the pairs into either addition or subtraction. Your child will be using the numbers in the upper right corner which according to my son is the Pokemon’s health number.

Do the math!

He told me it was too easy so then I had him write out the answer underneath the number. Throwing in a little spelling too.

Short little bursts of learning like this centered around your child’s latest obsession really adds up to a lot of learning without a lot of stress. School age kids are busy and I don’t do these activities with my son every day. Homework is his priority but when we have a down day I will throw together something like this to remind him how fun learning can be in or out of school.

### Pokemon Book My Son Can’t Put Down

( seriously it goes everywhere with him)

Tapping into your child’s interest is especially important with reading for fun. This is my son’s absolute favorite Pokemon book! The title link is an affiliate link.

Pokemon: Essential Handbook by Chris Silvestri

There are a lot of Pokemon books on the market but this one gets the biggest possible thumbs up from my seven year old son. We had to replace his first copy because he read it so much it fell apart. This book is an encyclopedia of all the Pokemon characters. Each description includes a little blurb about the Pokemon and some stats. We have had a blast reading this book together. He memorizes everything about the Pokemon, looks to see which ones are about his height, about his weight and of course asks me to quiz him on all of the above. I can not tell you how much he loves this book. It goes everywhere with him and when he says ” Where is my book?” we know which book he is speaking of. If your child is into Pokemon they will love it.

How do you use your children’s current obsessions for learning?