## Halloween Math Activities

This month will be filled with Fall and Halloween crafts and themed activities . I had to post this one now so that all of you Target shoppers can get to the dollar spot to buy these Halloween erasers before they are gobbled up. I love using themed mini erasers for learning activities especially as  math manipulatives.

Halloween Graphing

Using manipulatives is a great way to introduce children to graphing. Explain that graphs help us see the answers to questions  . Also take the time to make predictions before graphing , such as which row will have the most , which will have the least?Ask them why? I am always fascinated by the reasons why my son makes certain predictions.

1. Gather your materials. You will need a large piece of white paper, a ruler, markers, some fun Halloween manipulatives, and a plastic jack-o-lantern container.  I think when you try to make everything themed kids get more excited and learn more.
2. Start by making an easy graph. I used pictures and words to represent our manipulatives, my son is interested in the words but not yet ready to rely only on them.
3. Grab the manipulatives you are using . I made sure to have 3 different amounts . Pop them in your jack-0-lantern.
4. Invite your child(costume optional) to the table to start. My son dumped the erasers but taking them out one at a time is great too!
5. Ask your child to make a prediction – which of the three designs do they think will have the most? Least? Why?
6. Place them on the graph.
7. Keep going!
8. Just by looking at them which has the most? Least?
9. Count them to check.

Halloween Patterns

Patterning was one of my favorite preschool math activities to teach. I have found that if you sing song the pattern children have an easier time recognizing the pattern and start using that device themselves when encountered with a pattern they need to continue.

1. Gather your materials. 2-3 different manipulatives like these Halloween themed erasers in a container, some sentence strips are optional but I like them because they give my son a frame for the pattern. When I simply place the erasers on the table it looks like I expect him to keep the pattern going to the edge of the table and the task seems much more daunting.
2. Make some simple patterns .
3. Provide a container and ask your child to keep the pattern going.
4. If they need help try labeling the pattern out loud . For example saying ” Pumpkin, Bat, Pumpkin, Bat… what comes next?
5. Keep going, if they are frustrated with the more difficult patterns scrap them and make multiple simpler ones. The goal is success and if it’s too challenging for them they will get frustrated and learning will be minimal.

## Pattern Lesson

Whenever I do little lessons like this with my son , I set them up when he is not around. I introduce them as “puzzles” for him to help me solve and that peaks his interest and makes it fun, not some “lesson” mom is doing cause she misses teaching . Seriously though it is fun because he uses what he calls his “detective skills” to figure out the pattern. He’s also getting a good fine motor work out pinching them onto the sentence strip.

1. Gather your materials. You will need some colored clothes pins. If you don’t have colored ones available, grab the good old wood ones and color them with markers. You will also need some stiff paper like cardboard, card stock or sentence strips like we are using.
2. Set out a number of patterns with the clothes pins. I did 3, a general rule of thumb is to provide a challenge but not overwhelm them, or challenge them too much to the point of frustration . I have done patterns before with my son but it had been a while, I also wanted to provide choices for him, something if you have a toddler or preschooler is at times an absolute must have.
3. Give them the pegs and ask them if they can solve the puzzle and figure out what comes next.
4. If they are not sure sing a song ” White , Blue, White , Blue…” that is normally get them going if they are ready for patterns.
5. If an ABABA pattern is too easy try a ABCABC one.

Next time we do this I will be doing it with 3 colors in one pattern, my son needed me to sing the pattern for the first strip but them completed the next 2 on fast forward with no input. Which tells me next time to make it a little more challenging, but to also provide some at this level to give him a balance of challenge and independent success. Best part – nothing you used gets ruined. The pins can be used again and so can the sentence strips.

## What’s Next ?

Wrapping
Paper Patterning

This is an easy learning activity to do with something so many of us are up to our eyeballs in right now ! Most wrapping papers are on sale right now and it’s not hard to find one that would work for this project. I made this during nap time but you could easily have your child color the backing , help glue , cut or if they are old enough do it all with little help at all!

1. Gather your materials. You will need some wrapping paper, card stock( all the same color), scissors and/or a paper punch , and glue.
2. Start by choosing what pictures from the wrapping paper you will be using. I am using the penguin, riendeer and snowman from mine.
3. Cut out 3-5 of each picture. Generally the older and more able your child is the more you’ll need.
4. Cut out one square of card stock for each picture.
5. Glue the picture on the card stock. Let dry.
How To Use Them
1. Start by sorting them and labeling them with your child. For them to grasp patterns they need to be able to tell all the pictures apart. If they have a hard time with this, flip the cards over and play a simple “Can you find the penguin…” until they know what all the pictures are. Some kids stay on this step for days or weeks- don’t worry and don’t push, just play and they’ll get it . My son also liked counting them after sorting them into piles.
2. If they can identify all the pictures, try a simple pattern ABABA… and see if they know what comes next. I find with really little ones helping them with verbal queues is really important so saying “Snowman, Penguin, Snowman, Penguin…” out loud while they do it with you they will get it. Try another ABABA… pattern. This is the step we’re at.
3. If they master that try harder patterns, like, ABCABC or ABBABBA but if they are too hard go back to the ABABA.