Music & Math Activity

This was a fast easy activity I wanted to do to work on my son’s one to one correspondence but using a theme he is head over heels for . This also allowed me to work on the concept of zero.  Since doing this we have been noticing that there are “zero” dinosaurs in the backyard, “zero” boys eating their broccoli at lunch and “zero” children napping! I love it when I stumble on a concept that is new to him and we can work on it in a fun way.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 sheets of paper , some yarn, a marker, scissors and glue.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of a guitar on your brown paper . Don’t get hung up on it being perfect, as long as your child can tell it’s a guitar – you are fine!
  3. Cut out. You could also do this whole activity just with paper as a work sheet, but I find that even though the difference isn’t great to us between using a pen or the yarn , I think it is for children. Manipulating the objects really creates an experience.
  4. Next add the details and numbers .
  5. Cut your yarn into short pieces for the strings.
  6. Time to glue! This is the step my son joined me at. Depending on your child’s interest and age you could have them join in whenever. Glue the guitars on.
  7. Identify the numbers and add that many pieces of yarn.

Songs!

I posted this on my facebook page ) but if you missed it. All my song videos that were originally on my blogger site are frozen so you can see them all here !

Book

Sunny by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman  is a great book about finding sounds all around and making music with anything and everything you find. Sunny hears music from the animals around town, the vehicles and of course his friends playing at the playground.  My son loved when they had a “Hootenanny” and everyone together makes music in their own way. This book reminded me of the broadway show “Stomp” from the 90s, and is a great lesson for kids about how accessible making music really is.

DIY Geoboard

by Kim

My son had these in his preschool class. I thought they were really neat and wanted to have one at home. Have you seen the prices of these? I know they are worth it, but if I can make one inexpensively…why not?

All you need are colored rubber bands, black paint (helps the rubber bands show up better), ruler, rounded tip nails, hammer, and a wood plaque. You can use any piece of wood, but the store bought plaques are already have smooth routed edges.

I bought the rubber bands, plaque, and nails at Walmart and spent only $5.50. Your prices may vary, but it should be close. Here are the exact nails I bought. I had a hard time finding adequate ones at the home improvement store.

I had my son paint the plaque black with a small roller. This provides a nice even coat with quick drying time.

While he was painting I marked the nails with a red marker. This way I could keep the height of the nails even. I just lined a bunch up and made one mark across then at once. It was very easy.

Once the paint dried I made a grid on the board of 1 inch squares. [When I make another one I will make 1.5 inch squares, to give a little more space.]

Then I hammered the nails until the red line was in the wood. This is what it looked like all done.

It looks a like a medieval torture device, but it isn’t sharp at all. It could still hurt someone if not properly supervised, though.

This is definitely for preschoolers and not toddlers. I would suggest supervising, at least the first few times it is played with.

My son had a great time with it. He was so excited and recognized this from his classroom. What a great way to practice fine motor skills and experiment with shapes.

We plan on making a few more for friends. They were such a hit.

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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.

Paint and Peel Math Craft

When you find something your child genuinely loves use it! My son adores painting with this roller sponge, he calls it his steam roller and pretends to be making a road on any painting we make with it.  When I suggested we make a magic number painting with it he all but leaped into the kitchen, which delighted me since he has not been as keen about art since the weather has been amazing, really who can blame the kid?

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a sheet of light colored paper, some vinyl number stickers, paint, plates and a sponge or roller sponge paint brush. Using a sponge is much easier when you want coverage. This activity doesn’t work well if the whole paper isn’t covered in paint.
  2. Start by placing the number sticker on the paper. Depending on your child’s ability you can simple pop them on , or challenge them to make numbers with them. For example say ” Can you make 23? Or 51? ” don’t push it though having fun with learning is the point not quizzing your kids.
  3. Pour paint onto the plates.
  4. Start painting.
  5. I called out the numbers at first for my son to cover with paint asking him if he could find 7 or 4  etc… but then he started to pretend that he was building a road and I sat back and listened to his pretend play.
  6. Let dry.
  7. Peel off.  As adults we know that the number will peel off and white will be beneath it but at least for my 3 year old it was a fun and awesome surprise – and he even thought it was magic that they were white!

Anno’s Counting Book Big 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 , simple aerial illustrations of a field as it evolves one number at a time. The illustrations fill up quickly and it might take a while to see that you have to classify the pictures on each page to match it with the number on the page but once you do , each page is a lesson!
One White Wishing Stone by Doris K. Gayzagian is a beautiful book. Visually it reminds me of an impressionist painting, the soft beach colors used by illustrator Kristina Swarner are calming and pretty. This is more than just a counting book, there is a story of a little girl at the beach,what she finds and how she plans to use them when she takes them home. It’s so beautifully done that it almost makes me forget how much I hate finding sand in my car after a trip to the beach.

museum 123

Museum 123 by The Metropolitan Museum Of Art is another simple but beautiful counting book.  What I love about this book is that the number is not on the same page as the onbjects/images the child is being asked to count. Instead a simple question of how many is followed by a painting with the objects, and the next page has a large number. My son loved counting then flipping the page exclaiming ” I knew it , I said that number I was right!” My only complaint is that it only went to 10!

Preschool Math Lesson : Lego Measurement

lego math

Using non-standard units ( like lego blocks, your own feet, etc…) to introduce children to measurement is a fun and functional way of doing it.  They are comfortable with the items they are using to measure, and it’s a little less abstract than a standard unit like an inch or centimeter. They can see and manipulate these units and are familiar with them as well.  My son loved this and has been asking to measure his sister in Legos too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some blocks ( we are using Lego Duplo), a sheet of paper, marker, and items to measure.
  2. Start by making a chart with 3 columns. Item , Prediction and Result.
  3. Draw the items for children that can’t read independently yet, but also write the item name with the drawing.
  4. Go item by item asking for a prediction before measuring.
  5. Time to measure! Count how many Legos tall it is.
  6. Write the result.
  7. Keep going!!

Math Pretend Play

This simple elevator activity not only boosts number recognition it also uses your child’s imagination !

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Flower Math Activity

math for kids

We have giant daisies in our backyard and thank goodness we do because all my son has wanted to do for art lately has been firetruck or dirt related. Not that most of my readers can’t appreciate that but it’s nice to squeeze some prettier more genteel themes in with the diggers and sirens. This was fast but substantial and after making it we picked a few daisies and counted their petals too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 4 colors ( white, yellow, green and blue)  of  construction paper ( really you only need one full piece , the others can be scrap) , a marker, glue , scissors and a circle paper punch if you have it.
  2. Start by punching out some yellow circles, for the center of the daisies. My son adored this step and I had to get him some scrap paper to keep going.
  3. Cut some stems from the green paper. You can make leaves too, we just chose not to.
  4. Cut out petals from the white paper.
  5. Ask your child for numbers to put in the middle of the flowers. Alternatively you can write in the numbers you know your child is struggling with , if you do that write a few they are consistently successful with as well. By setting them up for success with some of the numbers you will boost their confidence and they are more likely to take on the challenge of a “trickier” number.
  6. Glue the stems on.
  7. Add glue for the centers.
  8. Add the centers.
  9. Add the petals. I had my son read me the number, then he counted the petals as he added them. Then after he was done we “checked his work” by counting them again.
  10. Let dry.

Song

I’m a little daisy
tall and slim.
Here are my petals and here is my stem.
When the sun comes up and the rain comes down
I grow and grow up from the ground.

Books

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is a lovely book about having confidence, loosing confidence and regaining it in the end. Chrysanthemum is a little mouse who loves her name until she goes to school and is picked on for it being out of the ordinary. Who can’t relate to this? I know I can . Thankfully my son  has yet to experience this all too common, but still so heartbreaking experience . I love that I have a book like this to share with him and open up about it before it happens. Ultimately Chrysanthemum learns to love her name again and regains the confidence she once had. Another fantastic book from a consistently wonderful author

The Gardener

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart Is a really touching book that I would happily recommend for school age children. It’s a beautiful story about a little girl during the depression who is shipped to the city to work in her uncle’s bakery because both her parents are out of work.  She is obviously nervous but knows that it’s something she has to do.  She takes a little of the country with her in seed packets which she plants in the city while she learns about baking and becomes friends with her uncles employees. This is more a story about making the most of hard times, and would be a great way to talk about the great depression with your child. There are so many little things in the illustrations by David Small to talk about , from a picture of FDR to traveling by train and  the general sense of sadness .  In the end it’s a warm hearted book that I can’t wait to share with my son in a few years.

The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jennifer Wojtowicz is one of those books that stays with you. Rink is a little boy who’s family is strange, Rink is no exception, with every full moon he sprouts flowers , from his head. At school he is an outsider and only when a new girl comes to school does he make a friend. He reaches out to her because she too is an outsider, not at school, in her own family. In the end the kindred spirits celebrate their uniqueness. This odd romantic story will warm your heart and serves as a great lesson about how we all feel different and like an outsider sometimes. The illustrations by Steve Adams will stun you, they were so vibrant and paired so perfectly with the story. Wonderful!