## Number Match Game

Numbers are a big deal around here right now. What we liked about math game was that even though we made it a little complicated, you could easily simplify it for even younger kids ( simply write numbers out and have them find the ones you call out)or more challenging for older more advanced mathematicians. (Have them find 2 at a time and add together).  Our goal for numbers right now is to work on counting things to discover the amount and match that amount with the numbers he already recognizes. If your child’s goal is different adjust as needed!

1. Gather your materials. You will need some different colored paper, a marker , scissors ( we actually ripped the paper) and some floor space.
2. Start by folding your paper in 4, so that 2 numbers will both be that color. This just makes it easier, I am using the colors as a clue to help my son but not give away the answer either.
3. Write numbers in one square and make the corresponding amount of drawings in the other.
4. Cut or rip apart.
5. Place either the papers with the numbers or the ones with the numbers around in a circle face up.
6. Fan out the others in your hand and invite your child to choose one by asking for the color.
7. Hand it to them, if it’s a number ask them to identify it and find it’s match. For the lower numbers my son grabbed the right one immediately, for larger ones he would grab the matching colors then we would count them together to discover which was the correct match. I had to help him touch each star on the larger numbers so that he wouldn’t count them twice, this just takes time and good modeling so don’t get frustrated or worried if your child does hit, just lead by example.
8. We played the game 2 times once with the numbers in the circle , once with the stars in the circle – learning is hard work, so we had to pretend to be a clock after!

## Books

Museum 123 by The Metropolitan Museum Of Art is another simple but beautiful counting book.  What I love about this book is that the number is not on the same page as the onbjects/images the child is being asked to count. Instead a simple question of how many is followed by a painting with the objects, and the next page has a large number. My son loved counting then flipping the page exclaiming ” I knew it , I said that number I was right!” My only complaint is that it only went to 10!

Construction Countdown by K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here!

Edited for 2010 : I wrote that review nearly 2 years ago. The other day at the library my son grabbed the book and begged to read it again. At 3 he still loved the book and I still give it a huge thumbs up!

One, Two, Three by Tom Slaughter is super simple, bold, bright and a great counting book!  These aren’t complex books, pictures matter because they should encourage the reader to want to count and connect the number they have counted with the number printed on the page.  I would happily recommend this book to families with babies through preschoolers , my 3 year old loved it and partly because he read all the pictures and numbers himself!

## DIY New Years Activity & Photo Book

My son is just 3 and as people started wishing us a happy New Year after Christmas he started asking me questions about it. He has a good sense of time but the whole concept of a new year was still a little beyond him. I wracked my brain for a good New Years activity and decided using a 3 year olds narcissistic tendencies to teach about passing time could be the trick we needed. I was right!  We made this Sunday and all day yesterday he would grab it and tell me ” It’s 2010 now and I am big, I was tiny when it was 2006″ it’s a start! Older children could add memories about past years on the pages as well.

1. Gather your materials. You will need some card stock, pictures of your child from the year of their birth until the present year, some double stick tape, a marker , small write on labels, hole punch and ribbon.
2. Start by writing the numbers for each year on the labels. For older children able to write the numbers skip this and have them write it on the card stock. One of the reasons I wrote out all the numbers was so that my son could see the progression.
3. Add the stickers to a page of card stock.
4. While your child adds the stickers or writes the numbers add double stick tape to the back of the first picture.
5. Add it to the card stock, I told him to press hard… so he did.
6. Repeat! I was surprised my son was as eager to put on the last sticker as he was the first, I was expecting to do some, he did it all with very little help.
7. Punch holes.
8. Add ribbon ( make it loose to flip easily) and a title.
9. Enjoy!

## Pretend Play = Learning { DIY Elevator}

My son loves elevators, especially the ones in the high rise office building his dad works in. It’s always a treat to go into the city and visit daddy at work and see the multiple banks of elevators busily dinging , opening and closing. For a few days my son have been pretending to go on the elevator and grabbing my hand to join him. So I decided to make this to help support his play and sneak in some number practice.

1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of paper ( different colors), scissors or a circle paper cutter, a marker, glue stick and blue painters tape for putting it up on your wall.
2. Start by cutting out as many circles as you need buttons. We decided on 12 floors, and an open and close button.
5. Glue the circles to the other page.
6. Tape it to the wall, and play.

7. We would get in our elevator and decide together what number we would push, later he was the elevator attendant and I would randomly choose a number and he would find it. Once we arrived on our floor we would go to the dentist, go to our office to work,  and my favorite ride to the toy store. Your child’s imagination is the limit!

## Book

Elevator Magic by Stuart J. Murphy was such an awesome library find. We’d just finished our elevator and headed off to story time at the library and the first book I saw when I got there was this!  It’s a simple story about a young boy who meets his mom at work and before they can meet his dad on the bottom floor, they have errands to run in between.  His mom doesn’t tell him which number to push on the elevator just how many floors below each stop is. So the readers must subtract along with the little boy before they can figure out what button needs to be pushed. The math is super simple and my almost 3 year old had no trouble with my prompts. Also each stop is a fun surprise, with settings that will appeal to your child like a speedway and rock band. Fun book- so glad it caught my eye.

## Plastic Egg Crafts & Activities

Recycle your plastic eggs after the chocolate and jelly beans have been consumed and make something fun ! These crafts are fast and fun and let your kids create while they learn.

1. Gather your materials. You will need some plastic eggs that have pre made holes in them ( most do) , some pipe cleaners, label stickers and markers.
2. Start by drawing on your label stickers ( they are matte so you can color them and it will stick). I was shocked with how much my son liked this step, glad I added it in.
3. Next stick them onto the egg.
4. Use two labels to act as eyes and draw some eyes on them with a marker!
5. Pick out a pipe cleaner or 2 if you are a toddler and like to always say “Two?” whenever anything is offered. Thread them through the holes.

Egg Blossoms!

1. Gather your materials. You will need some tissue paper, pipe cleaners, scissors and eggs.
2. Cut your tissue paper into a flower shape. I used multiple layers for each egg.
3. Break the egg into 2 pieces if it has a connector, and thread the bottom piece onto the pipe cleaner.
4. Add the tissue paper by making a small hole int the middle and threading it on.
5. Add the top piece. Thread your pipe cleaner through and then gently tug, some eggs have one hole only, in this case make a little knot and tug, if there are 2 holes simply thread it back in.
Polka Dot Discovery
I have done this activity for years and never once called the eggs Easter eggs, they were polka dots with surprises inside. Obviously if you celebrate Easter there is no reason to call them anything else but if you don’t celebrate Easter you can still jump on the polka dot bandwagon and use them to have fun learning.
1. Gather your materials. You will need some plastic eggs that open with room to hide things inside, you can also use small gift boxes. Some paper, a marker, some scissors and basket or bag.
2. The great thing about this activity is that it’s versatile. If you are learning about shapes you can pop shapes in the eggs, if you are doing letters you stuff them with letters etc… So this next step is where you decide what to stuff them with and using a marker and paper make the surprises.
3. Stuff the eggs and either hide them for a hunt, or place them in a basket for your child to choose from.
4. When you child finds the egg make sure to ask them what color the outside is, and encourage them to open it up and find what’s inside.
5. If your child is a young toddlers you can simply put fun toys in and they will be kept busy finding them. Just opening the eggs are great fine motor skills practice!
6. One last note if you have an older sibling who is working on sight words at grade school you can pop those in some eggs for them too!

## Letter Of The Week N !

Number N
My son is way into numbers right now, it was letters for so long I was starting to think he would never be into anything else! Wrong. Now he points out numbers at the grocery store, numbers in books, everywhere we go. I am not sure when I will stop hearing “More numbers, more numbers mama!” so I am running with it and here is out letter for the week!
*
Gather your materials. You will need some heavy paper or cardboard, small pieces of paper, one piece of construction paper, marker, glue, paint and scissors. I am using the do a dot paint because the paint goes on really light and you can glue on it without waiting. Always good with toddlers! Start by making a large uppercase N on the cardboard. Don’t worry if it’s perfect, as long as your child can tell it’s an N, it’s doing it’s job. Invite your child to art time and have them paint the N, I try to have everything laid out so it’s enticing and organized when my son comes to see what we are doing, on those days everything really does go much more smoothly. While they paint write numbers on the small pieces of paper, I am using some scrap card stock, which will hold up to being glued better than thinner paper.If your child is able to , have them write the numbers themselves. Add whatever numbers your child is interested in. Grab the glue. Add your numbers and label them as your child adds them. Let dry. When dry cut the N out and glue onto the construction paper.

Books

” 1, 2, 3 To The ZOO” by Eric Carle is fun counting book perfect for toddlers. Actually as I type this my toddler is reading it. There are no words, just pictures and numbers and that makes it perfect for toddlers who are just learning both numbers and animals because parents can read it slowly counting , naming the animals and making the animal sounds, or more quickly just counting!” Daddy Hugs” by Karen Katz is a cute little counting book for toddlers. I gave it to my husband last year for his first father’s day and my son hated it. However in the year since it’s become a favorite and nothing beats a board book for when toddlers get to that destructo stage.

” Construction Countdown” by K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here!