Block Tower Patterns

by Allison McDonald Block towers patterns for preschoolKids love to sort and sorting is a stepping stone to recognizing and making patterns. Using toys and playful activities to work on math skills is the only way I do it with preschoolers.  My son loved doing more structured work so I offered it to him but my daughter is much more into using manipulatives and toys for learning . These block tower patterns let your kids explore patterns and even if they don’t complete the pattern they are still building a tower . Depending on your child and your goals for them you can choose to correct them or simply have fun building towers knowing that they might not be ready for this challenge yet .

  1. Gather your materials. All you will need are some blocks that stay together . Duplo or Little People Builders are my favorite for this age group but if you are doing this with older children regular Lego is awesome. I like blocks that inter-lock because the goal is to pattern and/or build and if your child is spending all their time rebuilding towers that fall apart they could get frustrated and in our house frustration often leads to the end of an activity. block tower patterns
  2. Make some simple pattern towers with the blocks. Set the blocks needed to complete the patterns to the side. Depending on your child’s ability you can put only the blocks needed here to work as prompts or have lots of options to make it more of a challenge.
  3. Invite your little tower builder over to check it out. patterns for preschool All I told her was that I built some towers and needed help to figure out which blocks go next. If she was older I would have said something more like ” Do you notice anything about these towers? ” If they don’t notice the pattern I would say ” I see a pattern. Do you think we could keep the pattern going ?”
  4. She was on these towers like a house on fire. tpwer patterns for preschoolOnce I saw that she was getting it I would question her if she put a block that wasn’t in the pattern on . Saying something like ” Let’s sing this pattern. Blue red white blue red … what ‘s next? ” of ” Do you see that color in the tower?”  It’s a fine line of keeping it playful but giving your child a challenge they can do. I don’t always say the right things.
  5. After she completed each tower she built a huge one and knocked it over in celebration. using blocks for patterningThen we did it all again! block tower patterning for preschoolThat’s the best part of this you can do it over and over again. Each time we celebrated!pattern block towers 2

Keeping learning playful is a huge goal of mine and even though you see the more structured side of this on the blog these activities make up only a very tiny part of our day and some days not even that much. Noticing patterns during every day play is a great way to introduce them to your child. Observations don’t have to spin into drawn out lessons just observe, talk and keep playing. For more fun math ideas for your preschooler check out our Math is Fun board on Pinterest.

 

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

Learning Games For Kindergarten

Easy St. Patrick's Day Activities for kindergartenThese are simple learning games for kindergarten one focusing on breaking down syllables the other is math but they use the same materials from the dollar store. Learning After School at our house is all about doing quick and simple games that reinforce what my son is learning in Kindergarten. These lessons or games need to be fun, active and not too long. This isn’t homework ( he gets some very simple but useful homework) it’s in addition to it. What I love best about these activities is you really get to see how much your child has learned and while we play he will naturally open up and tall me about school.

  1. For both activities you will need a pen, some foam craft sticks ( wood would be fine too ) in rainbow of colors and green foam shamrocks. gamess for st. patrick's day for kindergarten
  2. Start with the syllable break down by writing one, two and three syllable words on the craft sticks. You will want one word per rainbow color stick per shamrock. I had five one syllable, five two syllable and 5 three syllable words each.  Our list was as follows 1: mop, mom, pan, run, son  2: color, garden, panda, super, open 3: umbrella, telephone, dinosaur, butterfly, elephant
  3. Write the numbers ( 1, 2, 3) on the different shamrocks. st. patrick's day math game for kindergarten
  4. Play! Set out the words and shamrocks.syllable break down game Ask your child to clap out or breakdown the words into syllables and place it on the shamrock with that number.syllables for st. patricks day He was way faster at this than I could have imaged.  Each shamrock has one craft stick in each color.syllable sorting reading activity for kindergarten My son didn’t need the prompt but had I been doing this at his age I would have welcomed the hint that the colors give without having to ask for help. If your child is struggling you can say ” Does the number 3 shamrock have a red stick yet?” * Also there is no shame in googling ” 2 syllable words” or ” How to break a word into syllables” as a parent it’s probably been years since you have clapped out a word . syllable sort reading activity
  5. Adding in a little lesson about rainbow colors I had him place the words in proper rainbow order after he’d sorted them. Syllable Counting
  6. This is when he said ” Ok now can we make it math?”
  7. So I flipped the sticks and wrote out simple equations. Again making sure to have one of each color matching the answer on the shamrocks. math activity for kindergarten
  8. He loved this . st. patrick's day mathHe decided he wanted to write the answer on each which slowed it down but I was so happy since writing is still not his favorite activity but is something he is doing in class right now. st.patrick's day math for kindergartenHe didn’t finish all the equations. That’s OK!  15 equations is a huge amount in one go .  This game can be played over and over again . math for kindergarten

For more Learning After School ideas check out these posts.

Make Math Drills Fun – 2 Quick Math Activities

kindergarten mathMath is important and practicing facts and skills after school doesn’t have to be major undertaking. A quick trip to the dollar store and you can get all the materials for both of these activities that are easy to adapt as your child masters the material.  These activities are not geared to teach your child the material but to practice facts they know for speed and accuracy. Yes this is the realm of flash cards ( go ahead and giggle) and the perfect example of when they work. Subitising ( recognizing amounts without counting )and addition up to ten are both facts that need to be recalled not figured out by the end of Kindergarten and practice like this is a fun way to do it. Do not worry if your kids count at first that’s fine and natural just keep playing, keeping it fun and practicing until they recall it instead of counting.

Clip In The Blanks 

quick kindergaten math

This is a novel way of working on a not so novel exercise. The clothes pins also add in a little fine motor work that children in the early grades can always use as they strengthen their skills for writing.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam sticks ( large tongue depressors or simple cardboard will work too) , clothes pins, markers and a kiddo ready to practice. quick math activities
  2. Write out equations that equal 10. Starting with 1 + _ = 10 up to 9 + __ = 10  .quick math practice for kids
  3. Write the numbers on your clothes pins.
  4. Set them out of your child. If you are just starting to work on these facts choose a few in order . Then next time move to all ten in order. We aren’t trying to get them to work it out we are trying to get them to respond automatically. Once they can do it in order easily mix it up the next time. quick math for kindergarten
  5. My son loves math and quickly clipped them when they were in order. “This is easy.” So I mixed a few up and while he did it well it took him a little longer. As we play more it will get faster and faster. quick math drills

Self Correcting Flash Cards quick math activities 33

Not all of these flash cards are working on subitising but most are. For those of you unfamiliar with subitising it’s the ability to recognize amounts automatically without counting. Tally marks, dots like on dominoes and numbers represented by hand signals are the most commonly used. These simple folded flash cards lets kids practice alone if they want.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sentence strips a marker and a kiddo. quickmath
  2. Write out equations, make dominoes or tally marks on the first third of the strip. quick math falsh cards for kindergaten
  3. Place the answer on the 2nd third and then fold. I made 14 for my son and he flew through them. I am making him 20 next time.
  4. Press the folds tight so there will be no cheating!quick math activities 33
  5. Play. quikkClearly he thought it was fun . I was so happy to see that!

Even though we are working hard to practice I am still not a fan of drill drill drill so keeping it fun, novel and as positive as possible is really important. This side of math is my most hated and is what killed my joy for it as a child so I really want to make these activities as dynamic, light and interactive as possible so my son’s passion for math isn’t squashed.

 

Jar Of Hearts – Valentine’s Day Math Printable

valentine's day math for kidsThis is another part of our learning after school series. I try to engage my son in fun things after school and when I asked him what he wanted to work on he said math. He loves math and comes by it very very naturally. His dad has a bachelors degree in engineering with a minor in math and a MBA in finance. Yeah numbers are well loved in our house . Even I love math although I didn’t always. It wasn’t until I was teaching it to students that I found the fun in numbers.

      1. Gather your materials. You will need a jar , some hearts ( any hearts will do – we used foam ones but paper, heart erasers, heart candies will all work), The printable found here and again below and a pencil with an eraser.valentine's day math activity for kids
      2. Start by printing out the printable – click here or on the image for download. It looks grainy in the pdf but it’s clear when downloaded.

        jar of hearts printable

      3. Lay out the sheet, pencil and hearts and let your little math whiz at it. Of course this is more than just a math lesson. My son is working on writing numbers in kindergarten right now and this is my tricky way of practicing without making him write them over and over again. If the 8 questions are too much do 2 or 3 and put it away for a day or two and complete the rest after. Learning isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon so go slow if needed! He estimatedvalentine's day math for kids 1, countedvalentine's day math lesson, sortedvalentine's day math sorting hearts and counted valentine's day math lesson for kidsand wrote some more. valentine's day math writing