Monster Math Craft

halloween math 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. math monster craft supplies

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

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. math monster for kids

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. math game and monster craft for kids

To put a limit on the eyes I had a number line and we blacked out the numbers as they were rolled. monster math number lineIf 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.monster math for elementary

They rolled a lot of the high numbers first… monster math craft for preschooland 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. monster math for PreK

Let the monsters dry and enjoy the fun math monster! googly eye monster math activity for kids

 

Messy Monster Paintings

monster painting art project for kidsThese fly swatter paintings were incredibly fun to do and so so messy. We’ve painted with fly swatters before but I never remember them make such far reaching splatters. My daughter was in a light blue dress and white sweater and as I was setting up she came by to have a look and managed to get paint on herself so I just let her continue. Every bit of paint came out of her clothes ( and hair) with a little elbow grease. What I loved about this monster art project was how much experimentation was involved. My son was absolutely engaged in trying to make the biggest splatter . Needless to say this is an outside art project.

Gather your materials. You will need some paint, fly swatters, paper, scissors, glue, googly eyes and lots of patience. You will also want a wet rag and kids eager to wipe up their splatters. fly swatter monsters

You ready? It’s going to be messy!fly swatter monsters get ready

Squirt some paint ( we did 2 colors at once in an attempt at color mixing too) on your paper. monster swat paintings

Swat!

monster messy paintingsRepeat over and over. My intention was to make a cool shape but my son had other plans and it’s his art so he covered almost the whole sheet of paper. monster swat paint

My daughter was a little more dainty about it, but not much more. If there is too much paint grab another piece of paper and make a print. It won’t alter the original greatly but will take off a lot of the excess. monster prints

After they are happy with the paint add glue and as many googly eyes as you want. I should have grabbed the extra large ones but I imagined them making little monsters not huge poster size ones. messy monsters glueing eyes on

Let dry – my son’s took several hours. monster craft for kids cutting practice

Cut out into the shape of your choice. This was all about getting both of my kids cutting. Scissor practice is important for both preschoolers like my daughter and school age kids who are working on handwriting. My son did all his cutting ( don’t you think his monster looks like it’s wearing jeans? ) fly swatter monsters and my daughter did some then asked me for help and directed me in how she wanted her’s cut. fly swatter painting monsters

Books About Monsters

All book lists include affiliate links.
monster mess

Monster Mess! by Margery Cuyler is a silly rhyming book about a monster who isn’t interested in scaring you, but rather cleaning up your messes. Readers follow along as the monster creeps through the house finding messes and tidying up. I personally loved it when the monster stepped on blocks, who reading this with kids hasn’t stepped on toys like Lego and screamed in pain?! I know I do, a lot so that part resonated with me . The illustrations by S.D. Schindler are done at funky angles and perspectives and adds a lot to the text. It’s not scary at all and a great monster choice for more fearful kids.

monsterpicturebooks

If You’re A Monster And You Know It by Rebecca and Ed Emberley is such a great monster book for families with kids of various ages. This book is a fun rearrangement of the classic children’s song  “If You Are Happy And You Know It” with appropriately monsterish sounds and actions. The illustrations with are all cut paper collages steal the show and you will find yourself reading/ singing along with the book only to go back for a second detailed look at each page. The monsters aren’t super scary but they aren’t fluffy and cute which makes them a perfect match for kids that like monsters but aren’t up to really be scared .

the monster princess

The Monster Princess by D.J. McHale is a story about a monster Lala who so wished she could be a princess only to discover in the end that being herself is even better.  As I was reading this book I was really hoping that the three real princesses that befriend Lala would have more depth and not be the stereotypical mean girls that they are . Even after the mean princesses humiliate Lala she does the right thing and saves them when they are in danger. This book had a very predictable feel to it but I am 35 and have lived through mean girls on film many times and been on both sides of it in real life . To a young child this story is fresh and filled with good messages about doing what is right even when we are angry and hurt, discovering that what we dream about being may not be all it’s cracked up to be as well as my favorite message that there are ” All kinds of special.”

 

What’s the messiest project you have ever done with your kids?

Monster Muck Sensory Tub

cornstarch and shaving cream I think I may have promised you that our Monster Math was going to be the last monster activity for a while but as you will see my kids are simply nuts for them so who am I to stop the fun? I got the idea for the muck from a pin I saw of this post by  Lisa Murphy  aka the Ooey Gooey Lady!  I knew we had to make a muck sensory tub and I was so glad we did. My son loved mixing the muck and as you will see after my daughter woke from her nap she too got right into the much and made some monsters too.

  1. Gather your materials. The muck is super simple and requires only shaving cream and cornstarch. We added sun chenille stems I cut in quarters and a wide array of googly eyes that were sent to us from craftprojectideas.com .  The other must have is a tub. I am not mess phobic but even I thought it got messy ( corn starch spreads )  if you are doing this inside you will want a tub to keep it contained.
  2. Start by spraying your shaving cream in. My son loved doing this and refused to let me have a turn .
  3. Next we sprinkled a little cornstarch and mixed then dumped the whole thing in and wrote some letters in the muck.  It took some working to get it thick enough to mold but soon enough we could make balls.
  4. Added the chenille stems and eyes and made some monsters. 
  5. My daughter woke up from nap and being too short to reach into the tub I helped her mold some balls and put them on a paper plate for her to customize with chenille stems and googly eyes. 
  6. Next my son got busy making a monster muck fort . The stems are guns and goo blasters, the eyes are bomb detectors and the muck is radio active. So what I am saying is that this is a fantastic sensory activity that sparks one of the most important types of play kids need – imaginative play. They worked peacefully for what seemed like ages until the chenille stems ran out.
  7. So we cut some more and the play continued.

 

Monster Books

The Monster Princess by D.J. McHale is a story about a monster Lala who so wished she could be a princess only to discover in the end that being herself is even better.  As I was reading this book I was really hoping that the three real princesses that befriend Lala would have more depth and not be the stereotypical mean girls that they are . Even after the mean princesses humiliate Lala she does the right thing and saves them when they are in danger. This book had a very predictable feel to it but I am 35 and have lived through mean girls on film many times and been on both sides of it in real life . To a young child this story is fresh and filled with good messages about doing what is right even when we are angry and hurt, discovering that what we dream about being may not be all it’s cracked up to be as well as my favorite message that there are ” All kinds of special.”

Molly’s Monsters by Teddy Slater is a counting book in monster’s clothes. The book is about a little girl named Molly who is just trying to sleep when her room is flooded with monsters. They come in progressively larger groups and my son liked  counting to make sure the text was correct. My favorite part was that the first monster to arrive and the last to leave , never does leave and instead snuggles into bed with Molly. I also like that to get these pesky visitors to leave she turns on the light and makes a scary face and scares them. Clever. * I read this to my daughter for the first time just this week and she loved it so much it’s been read many times this week before nap and bed.

Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters by Jane Yolen is a sweet monster book with minimal text and very rich illustrations by Kelly Murphy.  The story is really about the daily wind down and bedtime for two monsters. You and your child will absolutely relate to them on one page or another ( or all). These little monsters are just like our little monsters resisting bedtime, trying to avoid baths… well you know the daily struggle. My daughter was not into the book but my son liked it even though I’d gear it towards the 2-4 crowd. We chose our favorite monsters on each page and found interesting details like the recipe for tentacle soup on the page where the mom is making dinner . Cute, your child will relate to it and it’s not at all scary!

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Monster Crafts & Activities For Kids

Halloween craft If you are a regular reader you might be a little sick of monsters by now. Sorry , we are just completely into them this year. Monsters are a theme both my 2 year old daughter and my almost 6 year old son both like so yeah I am exploiting it a little…or a lot!  Here are a whole list of monster activities for kids that are fun, creative and educational.

Paper Bag Monster Craft
M is For Monster Craft
Paper Roll Frankenstein
Monster Math Tray
Box Monsters
Monster Blocks & Memory Game
Messy Monster
Letter Monsters
Foam Frankenstein

Monster Math Tray – Learning After School

preschool math 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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! halloween math
  3. 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.Counting
  4. 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.
  5. After he did addition we flipped it over and did some subtraction. He loved it too!
  6. ” 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?monster craft

Monster Books

halloween books for kids

 Check out our round up of monster books for some reading after your math!