## Hanging Out The Wash { Math & Fine Motor Skills}

Clothespins are some of my favorite tools for learning and this easy math activity uses them along with your child’s imagination and love of mundane adult things like hanging clean socks on the line. This number matching activity wasn’t easy for my daughter at first but after she got the hang of it it was a breeze. The turning point was folding the sock over the line and then she could pin it herself.   This can be set up, played with and taken down over and over.

1. Gather your materials. You will need some fabric paint, socks ( try the dollar store if you don’t have extras at home), some wired ribbon, marker,  a basket, clothes pins and something to secure the ribbon to the wall.
2. Start by painting numbers on your socks.  I let ours dry for 2 full days… just in case.
3. Write the numbers on your clothes pins. I did 2 sets one for my daughter and the other with simple equations for my son. He wasn’t into this activity “It’s kinda for little kids Mom.”  so I will use this clothes pins for a “big kid” activity like this one instead.
4. Set your clothesline up and pop the socks in the basket. Invite your little learner to hang out the wash.
5. The way I had it set up originally required me to help her and it slowed things down and she was frustrated not being able to do it herself.
6. So we switched things up and she was clearly thrilled.
7. I took all the pins off and put the socks on the line folded over.
8. Then she grabbed the matching pin and clipped it on. After that she was golden and quickly matched the numbers up. It took a lot of coordination to get the correct pin on.

## Craft by Numbers – Christmas Tree

Do you remember paint by numbers? I used to love doing them but mixing the numbers up ( yeah I was that kid) my son however is all about numbers and this was a fun way to make something festive but also let his interest in math be spotlighted. You could do this with shapes, or letters too.  I didn’t tell him that the final result was a Christmas tree so it was fun to have him “decode” the craft as we went.

1. Gather your materials. You will need some pom-poms in different colors, cups to sort them in,  construction paper, glue and a marker.
2. Start by sorting your pom-poms by color into different cups, write different numbers on each cup. I wrote 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 on mine since we’d just been chatting about counting by 10s.  To have your child help sort the pom poms just put on of each color in one cup to use as a guide.
3. Write out the numbers on the paper in a design. I did green outline, with random colors and green in the middle.
4. Start gluing the pom poms on using the code.
5. hmmmm what could it be?
6. All done! Let dry.

Great Christmas Book!

a creature was stirring by Clement C. Moore and  Carter Goodrich  was a recent find at the library. Around the holidays ( any holiday) my son and I attack the stacks like soldiers on a mission and look for the sticker on the binding indicating it’s a Christmas themed book. This was one of the few we found yesterday , and what a find! The book is an adaptation of the classic ‘Twas a NIght Before Christmas with a little boy interupting the poem with his own rhyming story.  It’s an adorable story about a little boy who simply can’t sleep , wants to be good but is oh so worried Santa will think he is naughty. I adore this book, it’s simple and fun and a great addition to the classic that so many of us have been read and will read to our kids this Christmas.

## 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.
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.

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 .

## Easy DIY Number 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.