St. Patrick’s Day – Lucky Gold Hunt

I read on a message board that had posted my link that one mom was disappointed that I don’t have more non art activities, so here you go ! This is mess free, fun and so easy to make more challenging for older children , or easy as pie for the little guys. My son and I played this from the time he got up from nap until dinner was on the table . I have a feeling we’ll be playing it tomorrow too! Oh and if there is something specific you would like to see us try- let me know I am always open to new things .
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some play coins, a marker and a green piece of paper. * For really little guys instead of the paper you can just use a change purse and simply have them hunt for the coins.
  2. Trace the coins on the paper
  3. Fill in the numbers, we are doing 10 coins but customize this for your child, more or less whatever works. Make it challenging but not impossible. Having the numbers offers up different options for how to play , you can simply hunt for the coins, and place them on the numbers. You can hunt for them then have your child specifically put them on the number you designate. I tried both and my son liked to choose which numbers to pop the coin on then count them and start over.
  4. Hide the gold. Can you see it in my picture? Make it obvious at first, with little guys make sure it’s in plain view, the goal isn’t to be a better hider than they are a finder, it’s for them to find them feel pride in it, then tag on a little math too !
  5. Go searching for the lucky gold .
  6. Count your gold , and start again !

 

How Do I Love Thee?

Let Me Count The Ways !

Using things like candy for math activities is a fun and novel way to get your children interested and learning. Jennifer over at Ramblings of A Crazy Woman shows us how to make this perfectly lovely Valentine’s counting game using heart candies! For the full how to and a million more awesome ideas head over to her blog:

Ramblings Of A Crazy Woman

Mitten Match Game

Mittens are great , easy to draw , easily identifiable by even really little guys, and they show up in some wonderful books ( see below) . Your child can help make the mittens or you can do it , either way they will love this little home made game, and be learning too!
  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 pieces of white paper, a marker, some construction paper ( any color but use the same color for all of it), some small containers, double stick tape or glue , paint and scissors.
  2. Start by drawing 3 mittens on 3 separate pieces of paper.
  3. If you have an older child who needs more of a challenge you can do a hat and scarf as well, but little guys may get confused on whether to match the item or the color , so start small if you aren’t sure.
  4. Have your child paint the mittens, one color for each page.
  5. My son was hard to convince to use only one color, so I had an extra page for him to use all of them on after he did the mittens.
  6. Let dry and cut out.
  7. Using double stick tape or glue use construction paper as a backing. This will make them sturdier so they last while being played with!
  8. Using the small containers match your mittens!
Books !


The Mitten   by Jan Brett is visually impeccable, each page is so full of details that you will find yourself staring at them long after you have read the words. The story is about a little boy who looses a mitten and what happens next. It’s a sweet retelling of a Ukrainian folk tale but the detailed and layered illustrations really steal the show!

 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is a classic for a reason. My son has loved it since day one and it really does a great job of calming before bed, like all great bedtime stories should. As a teacher I hated this book probably because it’s not a great book for groups I admit I was wrong, this is a gem ! Also for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, there are mittens in the story, which is why it works well with this activity!

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What’s Next ?

Wrapping
Paper Patterning

This is an easy learning activity to do with something so many of us are up to our eyeballs in right now ! Most wrapping papers are on sale right now and it’s not hard to find one that would work for this project. I made this during nap time but you could easily have your child color the backing , help glue , cut or if they are old enough do it all with little help at all!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some wrapping paper, card stock( all the same color), scissors and/or a paper punch , and glue.
  2. Start by choosing what pictures from the wrapping paper you will be using. I am using the penguin, riendeer and snowman from mine.
  3. Cut out 3-5 of each picture. Generally the older and more able your child is the more you’ll need.
  4. Cut out one square of card stock for each picture.
  5. Glue the picture on the card stock. Let dry.
How To Use Them
  1. Start by sorting them and labeling them with your child. For them to grasp patterns they need to be able to tell all the pictures apart. If they have a hard time with this, flip the cards over and play a simple “Can you find the penguin…” until they know what all the pictures are. Some kids stay on this step for days or weeks- don’t worry and don’t push, just play and they’ll get it . My son also liked counting them after sorting them into piles.
  2. If they can identify all the pictures, try a simple pattern ABABA… and see if they know what comes next. I find with really little ones helping them with verbal queues is really important so saying “Snowman, Penguin, Snowman, Penguin…” out loud while they do it with you they will get it. Try another ABABA… pattern. This is the step we’re at.
  3. If they master that try harder patterns, like, ABCABC or ABBABBA but if they are too hard go back to the ABABA.
  4. Ask your child to make some patterns too!

Gift Bow Christmas Tree Craft

I was unpacking all my Christmas decorations and when I opened the box of used bows some were a little misshapen, which is perfect for this craft! So I gathered them and my son up and we made this tree that is now adding some shine to our foyer.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some strong paper my favorite choice are grocery bags, a marker, some green paint ( optional) , glue , a bunch of Christmas bows , some wax paper and heavy books!
  2. Start by drawing a large outline of a Christmas tree. As you can see there is no need for it to be perfect it’s just getting covered anyway!
  3. Paint the tree if you want, this fills in any gaps between bows and also adds some extra fun, but is totally optional.
  4. Add the glue , lots and lots of glue!
  5. Add your bows. Older children can try to make patterns , or stripes of different colors.I helped fill in the tree , after my son had done 5 or 6 by himself, I asked him which color he wanted and I found the right size in that color to fit. Older children can do it all by themselves though.
  6. Lay some wax paper on top of your tree and lay some heavy books on for about an hour, this will keep all the bouncy bows in place until the glue gets tacky.
  7. When the glue is dry cut the extra paper off and you have a fun and “Bow”tiful tree!
Additional Activities

Matching, Sorting and Counting Oh My !


All of these activities are crucial pre-math exercises, introducing your child to them with a novel manipulative like Christmas Bows is fun and memorable for little guys. We want to challenge children when they are learning so if 3 colors are too easy , add another, if they are struggling take one away. When kids are challenged the lesson will mean more and will sink in , however if it’s too hard, it will frustrate them and a frustrated toddler or preschooler is fun for no one!

  • There is no need for fancy containers , I just used matching construction paper but if you have something fun to pop the bows into go for it! Start with labeling the colors and matching them with the paper.

  • Next try counting them, each color, all together, whatever you want.
  • Find the largest bow and find the smallest.
  • With preschoolers you can play a guessing game , stuff all the bows in the bowl and ask them to make a prediction about how many bows are in the bowl, count and find out !