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.Pretend Play
  2. Start by cutting out as many circles as you need buttons. We decided on 12 floors, and an open and close button. gourd 002
  3. Write out  your numbers.Pretend Play
  4. Add your glue.
  5. Glue the circles to the other page.Pretend Play
  6. Tape it to the wall, and play.

    Yes that's a swifferhe's holding - although to him it's a guitar!

  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

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

recycled easter egg bugsRecycle 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!
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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!

Calorie Free Cupcake !

Counting Cupcake !

This activity came out of a funny request from my son. We go to music class and one of the little girls in class has a shirt with cupcakes on it. Well when I asked my son what he wanted to make he said her name, when I said we couldn’t make her he said “cupcake?” so voila! I added in the counting lesson because I just couldn’t help myself!

Gather your materials. You will need 3 pieces of construction paper, glue, some sticky back foam ( regular will work too, just glue it) , cotton balls, a marker, and scissors.Start by cutting out a base and a top of the cup cake.Ask your child a number they want to put on the base. I was hoping for 3 or 4 but 7 it was! Write that number on the base with marker. This will determine the number of candles you put on the cupcake.Grab the glue!Glue your cupcake on the paper.While your child is gluing cut out the candles from the foam , making both candles and flames for each.Time to add the frosting! Use lots of glue for the cotton balls.

Add your candles
make lots of references to the number your child chose, and count the candles often saying ” Do we have 7 yet?” keep adding them on until you do! Add the flames as you go!

Books!

” Moira’s Birthday” by Robert Munsch is a silly book, most of his books are, but silly is great! Moira is excited about having her birthday and doesn’t know how to say no to all the kids at school when they beg to come to her party. She ends up with the whole school at her house and her parents don’t know what to do! Luckily Moira does. This book at first look may seem like Moira is a spoiled brat who gets her way but really she is problem solving and when she gives away a present to each child who helps clean up, you can see she just wanted a good party, and isn’t a gift grabbing brat at all! Kids LOVE this book, I have never read it to a class that didn’t laugh hysterically.

“If You Give A Cat A Cupcake!” by Laura Numeroff is the newest installment of her ever popular “If You Give…” series. I like this one , I mean any book with a cat in a bathing suit is worth a look. I am a big fan of these stories not only because they have just the right amount of text for young preschoolers, but also because the illustrations by Felicia Bond are so detailed you can spend ages talking about what your child sees in the book after the words are read. I love the cause and effect , and after a few readings your child will have fun telling you what’s next.

How Do I Love Thee?

Let Me Count The Ways !

Using things like candy for math activities is a fun and novel way to get your children interested and learning. Jennifer over at Ramblings of A Crazy Woman shows us how to make this perfectly lovely Valentine’s counting game using heart candies! For the full how to and a million more awesome ideas head over to her blog:

Ramblings Of A Crazy Woman