Math is probably my son’s favorite subject right now and I am running with it. This monster math activity took 2 minutes to set up and could be used over and over . No need to buy anything other than paper and googly eyes! I like making simple tray activities like this that I can have ready for him at the table in the playroom to do after school. They are educational and appealing but not so long that he gets overwhelmed after a long day of school. As you will see my toddler demanded she get in on the action too, luckily this was easy to adapt to her level as well. For a fun variation check out how you can use dice for even more monster math over at Inner Child Learning.
- Gather your materials. You will need some bright paper, googly eyes, a pencil ( if you want to use the monsters more than once) , and scissors. I also had a small cup and cookie tray to keep everything contained.
- Start by folding your paper in half and cutting out the shape of a monster. Best part is that they can be detailed or a blob , not need for extraordinary artistic skills!
- Next write simple math equations on the monster. If your child isn’t up to equations yet just do numbers. You can also do shapes and have your child place the eyes on the shapes. I used markers for the photos but If you want to use this more than once you can use pencil, or laminate the monsters and use dry erase markers.
- All ready – now add a math wizard! He loves this . I love that while doing math he is also working on fine motor skills that he needs for writing.
- After he did addition we flipped it over and did some subtraction. He loved it too!
- ” I do it TOO!!!” To make it toddler friendly I only used the largest eyes, and wrote simple numbers on the monsters. My daughter still needed a little help as I thought she would but she was ecstatic to be doing big girl math with her big brother. All I know is she begged to do math. Let’s keep that spirit going right?
Check out our round up of monster books for some reading after your math!
These Halloween math activities for kids are a great way to add some extra learning to your day or for a class Halloween party. Math is a challenge for so many kids but if we can make it fun now before the challenge is too great then we can lay a positive foundation down to build upon for years to come.
This week is fire prevention week and we’ve been sharing some of our fire truck and firefighter themed crafts on our Pinterest and Facebook now it’s time for something new on the blog. This fire truck math activity is really also a writing one although I only marketed it as a math one for my son. See he isn’t super keen on writing but he loves math. He is a bit of a perfectionist and writing takes practice and it’s hard. So to temper the frustration he feels with writing I added a fun theme and another appealing task , the math. There was still some frustration but there were a lot of smiles too.
- Gather your materials. You will need some red paper, a black marker, a pencil, and scissors.
- Start by drawing the outline of a fire truck. This does NOT need to be perfect, as you can see mine wasn’t and this took we 3 tries. One tip is to draw on on scrap paper and when it’s just right cut it out and use that as a template. Cut out however many you want.
- Add some windows, tires and the most important part the ladder. The rungs on the ladder are what your child will count and then write on the body of the truck.
- I cut out 7 but only drew on 5 not knowing if my son would want more than 5 . Good thing I did as you will see.
- Count the ladder rungs.
- Write. After a few he asked if these were all I had. I grabbed the 2 extra and filled them in.
- Keep going. Flip over and write on the back if they want more!
Using holidays like Halloween as a theme for great learning activities is a sure fire hit in my house. My daughter who is 2 is always excited to do any project but my almost 6 year old is a lot more picky. This Halloween math activity was such a hit that when I asked my son to rate it 1-100 he gave it a 100 without hesitation! Better yet it’s pretty easy to make , adapt for various levels and frugal too.
- Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper , markers , white card stock ( or paper plates !), scissors, painter’s tape and something to attach the house to a wall. I used push pins but more painter’s tape would work too.
- Cut out simple ghost shapes from the paper plates / card stock. Add faces and numbers. I did 1-10 but you can write whatever numbers your child is working on.
- Draw a haunted house on craft paper. Mine took 3 tries the first was so bad I should have taken a picture to make you all laugh. The other ones became coloring paper for my toddler.
- Write out simple equations , number words or even just numbers to match up. You will see further down that for a toddler like my daughter you don’t even need anything to match. Just play with the numbers on the ghosts.
- Add painter’s tape to the ghosts and on the haunted house where you will place the equations.
- Add the equations to the house, put the ghosts next to it ready to be put in the house and call your little mathematician.
- As soon as my son saw the activity he said it was too easy and it probably was. I grabbed my iPhone and asked him if he wanted me to time him. His face lit up. I don’t suggest timing children who don’t want to be timed or who will feel negatively pressured . Matching the words with the numbers on the ghosts was an easy task for my son but he has a competitive spirit and timing him made it more fun because it made it challenging.
- He flew through it. Placing the ghosts on top of the matching words.
- Next I switched the words on the house to simple equations. These were not going to be as easy and I told him for this time we would not be timing it. I think that if I’d done the harder task first he would have gotten frustrated when a few of the harder equations didn’t come to him immediately.
- After my son was done I removed all the tape and equations so the house was clear , and put the ghosts back on the wall. Then invited my daughter who is 2 to come and put the ghosts in the haunted house. It was perfect for her. She grabbed the ghosts and named the numbers she knew and asked me to confirm the numbers she didn’t. She was very specific about where they should be. I was thrilled that they both had fun with math at their own levels of learning!
Ghosts In The House
Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara is on my must buy list! A little girl moves into house and soon finds out it is haunted. Luckily she is a witch and knows just what to do. The ghosts in the story seem mischievous but never scary and even when she washes them in the washing machine, they are still smiling. My son loved this book, the text was the perfect length for a 3 year old, short but still descriptive. I loved the simple black and orange colors and had to look at the copyright twice because I was certain this was written sometime in the 30s, nope 2008. The simplicity of the book and colors is balanced so well with the little details like the little girl’s constant companion , a white cat that puts on a black costume when the little witch pops on her hat. This detail had my son in stitches, “Cats don’t wear clothes , silly cat!” . Absolutely a perfect Halloween book for children not yet ready to be scared for fun!This post contains an affiliate link.
For a few weeks now my daughter who is almost 2 has been ordering objects by size but instead of using terms like big, small or bigger, smaller she oders using ” Dada, Mama, Bubba, May-May” which is our family from biggest to smallest. While I think it’s awesome that she is I also see it as a signal she is ready to learn more about size. This is a basic cut and paste craft that incorporates a lesson about size. You could also use it for colors, shapes or more.
- Gather your materials. You will need multiple colors of construction paper ( We used 5- 1 full sheet and scrap for the circles), glue, a pipe cleaner, scissors , markers/ paint daubers and one googly eye.
- Start by having your child color/ paint the full sheet. I told my daughter that the caterpillar needed a home . I think she said something about a polka dot bed. I think.
- While they create cut 4 different sized circles. Make sure they are obviously different in size if you have a really little one like me. We aren’t trying to trick them, just teach.
- Get the glue ready and help them decide which is the biggest circle. With older / more capable children you can simple say ” Glue them in order of size”.
- Keep going. If they are overwhelmed by too many options clear all but two circles from the table. Say something like this ” The yellow circle is small and the blue circle is much bigger. Let’s find the bigger one.”
- Glue them on. While they glue or my daughter’s favorite part banging the circles on the glue use the time to do more labeling . My daughter latched on to the size terms easily so I was using this time to talk about colors , something she is still just starting to grasp.
- When all the circles are on grab a marker and add legs!
- Glue on an eye ( if you are worried about chocking hazards like the googly eye just draw it on).
- Add pipe cleaner antennae and voila!
Books About Caterpillars
Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about 2 friends who must part ways , in this case because one is a caterpillar who needs to build a chrysalis and the other an earth worm who needs to dig deep into the ground. What I like about this book is that it goes on to explain that the earth worm’s digging is vital for the trees to grow so that the caterpillar can eat the leaves and turn into a butterfly. I like the lesson about how we all play a part!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic, that most preschool teachers like myself can recite from memory. It really is a fantastic book, not only does it explain the life cycle of a caterpillar/ butterfly it also is useful for lesson about day of the week and healthy eating! It was a childhood favorite of mine and if the fact that he fell asleep holding his ” Pillar” is any indication it is already one of my son’s favorites too!
The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent is a sentimental favorite. I remember being read this book in elementary school when learning about life cycles. It’s more than just about life cycles of butterflies and frogs, it’s about becoming comfortable with who you are. I remember thinking it was hilarious when the caterpillar tells the turtle that she will be changing into something else not just getting bigger and bigger and he replies with ” I don’t blame you.” It made me snort as an adult too. Good for preschool through the early elementary years and if like me you read it as a child there is of course the sentimental factor. I love sharing books from my childhood with my kids.