Santa Themed Math Game

One of the things I love most about blogging is how one post will inspire another and not just on the same blog but from one blogger to another . I wasn’t going to post this yet but when Kristina from Toddler Approved posted this Corn Roll  game that we inspired with our Candy Corn Counting I knew I needed to share this game. Also we have been playing it a lot, and not just because the tv is broken, because it’s fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, markers, marshmallows or even cotton balls, a die and someone to play against.
  2. Start by drawing Santa , I couldn’t find a good printable with a beard big enough for the numbers. Which was good since my printer is out of ink anyway. So I drew the santas.
  3. Add numbers.
  4. I put the sheets on clip board to keep them from blowing around, but you could laminated them or pop them on a cookie sheet with some magnets too.
  5. The objective is simple you want to fill up Santa’s beard first but covering all the numbers with marshmallows. The way you do that is to roll that number on the die.
  6. Roll.
  7. Add the marshmallow… oh and look who is getting a little fine motor practice too. I’m so sneaky.
  8. We ended up playing a few times and by request one was a boys against girls. My daughter even rolled the die for the girls’ team!

I love games like this because they use a few novelties like Santa and marshmallows but are still packed with learning not only math but about sportsmanship and good game play.

Books About Santa

Christmas Morning by Cheryl Ryan Harshman  wasn’t what I expected , it was more. It’s written in the spirit of ” The House That Jack Built” and the text builds and builds starting with snow falling on a house as children sleep and ending with Christmas morning. What I wasn’t expecting is that the author tells the story of The Nutcracker , albeit a very simplistic version, in the rhyming text as well.  The illustrations of the Rat King is a little frightening but nothing that will prevent you from reading it.

How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky is a fun and surprisingly practical story about Santa and how he developed the skills needed for his one of a kind job.  It starts with Santa as a young man and as he keeps bouncing from job to job he acquires skills like going in and out of chimneys as a chimney sweep with ease and without getting dirty,  develops a relationship with reindeer as a zoo worker and gets chubby eating all the food at a all night diner gig!  There are more but i don’t want to spoil the story. My son loved it, especially once the elves showed up, which was when the toys did too! I know when i was a kid I wanted to know how Santa got his job, and there are movies dedicated to this so this book  jumped on the bandwagon and did a great job , it’s very cute!

McDuff’s New Friend by Rosemary Wells was a classroom classic in my last year teaching. I think I read it every day for 3 weeks straight and then a few weeks after Christmas too! In it McDuff the little Westie dog saves the day finding Santa stuck in the snow! I love Susan Jeffer’s retro illustrations and the little details like the dad feeding the baby, the doggy sweaters the McDuff wears in the snow, and how Santa gave them all gifts they needed in the story .

Gross Motor Reading Game – Pizza Delivery

I didn’t know what to call this game because it uses so many skills . The player needs to recognize sizes , sound out words for the street names as well as recognize numbers for the house addresses. Also it incorporates gross motor and balance as they push the car along the streets. Of course I wouldn’t be posting an activity like this without making adaptations easy. The street names could be turned to letters  such as  A Street. B Street etc… and the houses could be colors instead of numbers!  My son who is almost 5 loves this game, we have played with with friends and alone over the past week. The best part is that new street names and house numbers can be added so easily!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a patch of floor, painter’s tape, some construction paper ( I used black, brown , orange and yellow), a glue stick, a marker , white paper and some sicssors. Oh and a toy car , my son wanted one with space to actually put the pizza in it so ours is huge. Use your favorite.
  2. Start by choosing the words you want to make into the street names.  The player will have to find the right address to deliver the pizza and will have to read all the streets they drive on. I chose to do all sm , sn and sp blends but any words will do. For us my son needed to work on sounding out so I chose words he wouldn’t be as apt to read by sight. Write them on white paper.
  3. Glue them on black construction paper and cut out.
  4. Next up make the houses. As you can see my goal is not perfection , it’s fun so as long as my son can tell it’s a house , I am happy. 
  5. Pop some numbers on the houses. Try to make some that are “easy” for your child, ones they will recognize immediately and some that are a challenge.
  6. Time for pizza. If your child is gaga for crafts have them make the pizza while you do the previous steps. We made 6 total – 2 large, 2 medium and 2 small.
  7. Don’t forget the pizzeria – ours is elaborate ;)
  8. Now create the road way with tape on your floor.
  9. Place the streets and houses with numbers on the roadway.
  10. Invite your player to come and deliver the pizzas! How to play:   Pretend to call the pizza place asking for any combo of the pizza sizes such as one large and two smalls.  Give them your address ( which of course is determined by the house on the street… so ours was #77 Smoke street ), then as they deliver the pizza they have to read the streets they use to get there.
  11. Keep going until all the pizzas are delivered!
  12. Switch up where each road is and move the houses around for the next round! This was such a hit we played for a long time.

Books About Pizza !

The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herb Auch is really a cute re telling of the classic Princess and the Pea. They have modernized it and made it a little more feminist in the process, exactly my kind of book. The text is a little long for toddlers but my son sat through about half before wanting to go back and look at the illustration of the horse on the first page. The message is sweet, saying that a woman doesn’t need a man or marriage to attain her goals! Beware though it will make you crave pizza!

The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) by Philomen Sturges is a great retelling of the classic story. Kids will be able to relate to this hen not getting any help for all her hard work. Luckily her friends realize their mistake and do the dishes after she shares her yummy pizza. Since originally recommending this book it’s made a move from the bookshelf to the dresser pile of books that are in rotation for before nap and bedtime reading. A sure sign it’s kid approved!

Pizza at Sally’s is another great look at a small business owner , and how she does her work everyday and feeds the masses with her yummy pizza! I like how it not only explains how to make pizza but it also looks at the ingredients and how they are grown and processed.  Of course it’s not explained in depth but it is explained enough to start a dialogue with interested preschoolers for further investigation.  My son loves the cat in this book, the same cat is in many of the other books but for some reason he particularly loves it’s presence in this one. It’s inspired me to make the dough from scratch with my son next time we have pizza!  A lovely book!

Turkey Counting – Thanksgiving Math Activity

by Kim

Stores may already have winter holiday decorations out, but fall is not over with. There is so much more time to enjoy it. Here is a fun way to incorporate learning, crafting, and turkeys. Yep, turkeys.

You will need some construction paper, glue, scissors, and markers. For a reusable (and glue-free) version of this activity use felt instead of construction paper.

Trace circles onto brown construction paper. I used a drinking glass to trace. Make a circle for each number you would like to use in this activity.

Cut out the circles and glue them onto smaller sheets of colored paper. At this point you could have your child cut and glue. I prepared all of mine ahead of time because this activity was done simultaneously with 9 children and only me. Draw little wings, feet, and turkey heads on. At the top write the number for each sheet.

Now cut out lots of feathers in an array of colors.

Now your child can read the number (or count the dots) and set out how many feathers need to be glued onto the turkey.

Let your child start gluing away. With so many small children and just me, I used glue sticks.

Have them count out the feathers to make sure they have the correct amount. Then they can be a silly turkey themselves.

This is a fun activity that helps number recognition, counting, colors, sorting, you can even do the feathers in a pattern, motor skills, and is just plain fun.

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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

Easy DIY Number Banner

number flag banner
Providing an environment rich in print with both letters and numbers is a great way to boost your children’s learning. This number bunting or flag banner was easy to make and cheap. As many of you know we have moved into a new house this week and one of the best parts of this house is that we have a dedicated playroom. Woo hoo! I get to decorate a classroom I mean a playroom with letters and numbers , toys and books. I will do a full reveal later (when I find my camera…) but wanted to share this number flag banner because it was super easy to make .
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some self adhesive address numbers (found at the hardware store), card stock, a hole punch, ribbon, pencil and scissors.
  2. Using a sheet of card stock create a template for your flag. I made ours large but you can do any size. I liked that mine wasn’t perfectly triangular but if perfect lines make you happy, grab a ruler too!
  3. Trace on every page . I used a pad of card stock with a rainbow of colors and simply made one flag per color but you could have fun with patterns too.
  4. Time to add the numbers. These are very lightweight which is what you’ll want so the flags aren’t too heavy for the ribbon to hold.
  5. Punch holes in the two upper corners of each page. I punched the holes in one then used it as a guide by laying it on top as a template when punching the holes in the next.
  6. Cut a piece of ribbon about 2 feet long and tie two flags together loosely.
  7. I did most of this while my daughter played at the table, but this project was great for doing a little here and there. I did most the tying the next day.
  8. Hang it up. This is our old master bedroom- the only place in our old house big enough for it.
  9. I carefully packed it into a ziplock – so if you are making one of these for a party you know it’s easy to transport without damaging.

Peek-A-Boo Learning!

by Kim

My son cannot stand traditional flash cards. I have to try to get creative. When I saw this idea forKnock-Knock Valentines on Silly Eagle Books, I knew this is exactly what I needed. You will need construction paper, glue, scissors, stickers, a marker, and the lid to travel size baby wipes.

Here is an example of the baby wipe lids I am referring to. I just pulled them right off of the package after I used all of them.

Draw lines on a sheet of construction paper dividing it into fourths. I had my son cut along the lines. Moms can take over this task if the little one isn’t quite ready for this yet.

Have your child put a designated number of stickers on the top of each wipe lid. For this post we did numbers 3 and 5 (but we have done 1-10).

Now put a bead of glue around the bottom of the wipe lid. A neat way to get your child involved with this step is to put some glue in a small bowl and let them apply it with a cotton swab. Glue the wipe lid to a piece of construction paper.

Once the glue dries, open the lid and write the number inside that matches the number of stickers on the lid.

Now your child has an interactive flash card! They can count the number of stickers on the lid and learn to recognize the number by opening their card.

This is great for sight words and introducing math equations for older kids. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

What would you put on yours?

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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.