Candy Apple Math Game For Kids

use candy for math Candy is a great motivator. It’s not the main motivator I want to use but from time to time it’s novelty is useful and a fun break from more everyday things. This is a simple math game for kids that works on sorting, estimation ,and counting. When working with kids and edibles my rule is that if you do not sneak any you get a small pile at the end of the activity. My son is a rule follower by nature and did this as we have in the past. His 3 year old sister did not. Every child is different but that rule has worked for me over the years much more often than not. Have pom poms or buttons on hand if you need to swap out or prefer not to use candy at all.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a sheet of paper with three trees on it ( you can print mine here) , cookie sheets to keep the candies from rolling away, candies ( our natural dyed red is sorta wine colored but the kids didn’t bat an eye), a small dish for each player, and a jar with a lid. candy apple tree math for preschool
  2. Give each child a sheet with three trees and a small dish. Shake up the jar with all 3 colors of candies in it and pour some into each child’s dish. candy apple tree math
  3. Have them guess which tree will have the most apples on it by estimating which color is the most prevalent in their dish of candies. candy apple tree math for kids
  4. Start sorting the candies and placing them on the matching trees.candy apple math game for kids
  5. Which has the most? Which has the least? How many do they all have? Count to find out.candy apple math counting
  6. Sneak a few candies… or every single green candy when mom is busy taking pictures of your big brother counting. candy eating
  7. Pour the candies back in the jar, shake, and repeat the game.  For my son I had him figure out how many more the tree with the most had than the tree with the least and do some other simple addition and subtraction by allowing him to eat a few and then telling me how many there were after eating them. For my daughter I had her simply count and sort. I loved how easy it was to adapt to both their levels.candy apple counting game

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Books About Apple Trees

apple picking time

Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson  was not what I was expecting , it was so much more. I was expecting a basic book about picking apples at an orchard.  This book is anything but basic, it’s dreamy and while reading it I almost felt as thought I was back in time when a whole community would come to a stand still for something like apple picking.  The protagonist is Anna a little girl who works hard in the orchard along side her parents and grandparents . She isn’t as fast as her parents, but with hard work and the support of her family she reaches her goal and fills a bin! I loved this book,  I would suggest it for preschoolers and up.

Apples, Apples, Apples

Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace will not be returned to the library on time. We got it out today and my son has had me read it to him 3 times, and his dad read it twice. Clearly it gets the 3 year old seal of approval. It also gets mine. The story is more than just a story about a afmily going apple picking at an orchard. It explains all sorts of apple facts but what I really love is that it also explains that there are different kinds of apples and each are used for different things. Since each member of the family is using their apples for different purposes that fact is driven home . Great book for preschoolers going on a apple picking field trip , making applesauce or apple prints.

One Red Apple

One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert is stunning. I really enjoy this author but most of my praise for this book lands squarely on the illustrator Karla Gudeon’s shoulders. WOW. I just adore the look, and creativity of this book. The story follows the cycle of one apple from orchard, to market back to seed, tree and back into the hands of a child. I enjoy books like this that simply explain the cycles of the natural world to young kids , but you can’t miss this one.  As I turned each page I gasped, it’s one of those books you just need to sit and look at because each time you do you find some little detail you missed before.

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Color Matching Activity

color matching game with butterflies for kidsThis simple color matching activity works on more than just color recognition. It also works on fine motor skills and even counting. I used a butterfly theme because my daughter adores them but if your child is not into butterflies use whatever theme they are into . I wasn’t planning on her coloring the butterflies at first but as I was setting the activity up she wanted to help so I started over and she colored as many as she wanted. When we do activities like these I usually play once with my children and then leave the set up on the table in the playroom for a few days ready for them to play independently.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper cut outs ( our butterflies were pink on one side and white on the other ) , markers in a variety of colors, crayons on the same, and a mix of small items like buttons, beads, and pom poms. color and match color matching activity for kids supplies
  2. Start by writing the color names on your butterflies. As you do the activity you can point out the word and individual letters as well. color and match color match activity color words
  3. Color the butterflies. My daughter colored pink and green and I colored the rest with the crayons. color and match color matching coloring the butterflies
  4. I taped the butterflies down with painter’s tape to help avoid any slipping while playing.color and match color matching preparing to play Nothing like a spill or slip to frustrate a three year old and end the activity.color and match butterflies coloring matching game
  5. Add your bowl of bits and pieces and start matching! color match game for kidsI loved listening to her dialogue with herself when she found a bead that wasn’t in one of the colors we chose. ” Oh so sorry we don’t have your color.” and ” Too bad no brown.” it also presented a choice does she try to find the closest color or just leave them in the bowl? She soon focused almost all her energies on finding pink and only pink beads and buttons. color match activity for kidsThis activity also lent itself naturally to counting. color matching butterfliesCount the colors, count the beads vs pom poms … there are lots of opportunities for learning. color and match color matching activity for kids

Books About Colors

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Hello, Red Fox

Hello, Red Fox by Eric Carle is a fun interactive book about colors and the color wheel. Kids will love the “trick” on each page. The trick being that if you stare at a color for long enough then stare at a blank page the complimentary color will appear! This book is great, but not for a group, a class will disintegrate into “Let me!!” and “My turn!” quickly so this is really is best read one on one!

Dog's Colorful Day

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd was a huge hit at our house. My son loved identifying the colors of all the drips of paint, ice cream and more that Dog gets on him throughout the day. This is a great book not only because it has counting and colors but because of the language it uses while the spots of color are splatting, squashing ans squishing onto his beautiful white fur. My son loved repeating these words with enthusiasm as he noted how poor Dog was getting so messy! It’s a fun book to read and one that I have added to my wish list !

Brown Bear Brown Bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a book that can go with a baby from infancy through toddlerhood and into the preschool years. The bold colors of the illustrations by Eric Carle are perfect for catching infant’s attention and will continue to grab it through the years. With the turn of each page the reader is left wondering what’s next, and if the reader is my son he will cut you off to tell you what’s coming next before you have a chance to turn the page. There are other titles in the series , including ; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? , and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? but this one is my very favorite! My daughter has loved this book for years and it was the first book she memorized and “read” to us.

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Indoor Bug Hunt {with counting, sorting and matching}

bug hunt color match sortingFinding activities that both my two year old and her six year old brother enjoy isn’t always easy. More and more he wants to do something she doesn’t have the patience or skill for yet. One thing they both love are hunts. Simple materials, fun game and a ton of learning. This bug hunt has color matching , counting and sorting as well as a ton of fun. This activity was a great way for both of them to play and learn together. As you will see they worked at their own level while working together. Although we used bugs you could use any small items like plastic Easter eggs, simple blocks or even cut out shapes.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need many multi colored small objects to hide, construction paper in the same colors ( we chose a rainbow theme but you could do any colors) and some kids eager to find things.rainbow bug hunt and sorting activity
  2. Spread your colors out on a flat surface like the floor or table.rainbow bug hunt
  3. Hide your bugs. Can you see any in this picture ?rainbow bug hunt for preschool
  4. Explain the rules of the game. Find the bug and sort it in the correct color. For my son I added the following challenges : After he found a bug and put it in the right color I asked him to see which color had the most bugs and which had the least. This made him pause so his sister had a slight chance at finding some of the bugs and gave him a little math lesson too.
  5. Start finding those bugs! bug huntThey were so quick it was hard for me to catch any pictures.bug hunt
  6. My daughter loved sorting them and every now and then I would sneak one into the wrong color and she’d fix it.rainbow bug hunt 7
  7. When we found them all I asked them to count. My daughter counted all the bugs in each color bug hunt countingand my son counted all the bugs in every color. He also told me which color had the most, which had the least .bug hunt and sort
  8. After that he went off to play Lego but my daughter and I played two more times.bug hunt color match

 

Books About Bugs

19 books about bugs

We try to always match up activities with books to reinforce active play with quality reading time. Here are 19 great bug books for you and your little bug hunters to check out.

Ornament Color Match Activity

I was going to wait a few days to post this because it’s similar to our Sticky Wall Christmas Tree but after posting this picture on our Facebook wall I had so many questions about what it was I promised to post it asap. This color matching activity has a Christmas theme but could easily be simple polka dots for any time of year. My toddler loved this and we have played with it multiple times . I think her favorite thing is all I have to do is set it up after that she is good to go.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some wrapping paper for the background, ribbon, double stick tape, painter’s tape. scissors, contact paper, jar lids in various colors and paper in the same colors as the lids.
  2. Start by tracing the lids on your colored paper and cutting out.
  3. Put your wrapping paper on the wall with painter’s tape. Using the double stick tape stick the ribbon on in various lengths and add the colored paper circle on the end.
  4. Cover with contact paper **sticky side out**. The trick to doing this is to peel a little of the backing off and use push pins to keep is secure while peeling the rest off. Trim if you need to.
  5. Pop the lids in a box or basket as an invitation to play. I left 2 lids on their match as a guide for my daughter.
  6. She immediately started matching them up.  The one thing I did have to help her with was to make sure she put the lids on with the outside on the wall. The other way will result in many falling lids , a very frustrated 2 year old and not a lot of learning. She was so proud she yet again asked for a all done picture, this may be a start of a trend.
  7. Interestingly she quickly noticed that there were extras in the box and started adding them to the wall . Simple matching turned to sorting naturally. I loved it!

 

Matching Rainbow

by Katy

This post is about a learning activity I did with my son, Charlie, but it’s also about working with special needs kids in general and how sometimes you might have to look at something differently to get the desired result. I wanted to share this activity with you all because it involved some problem solving, but in the end it was completely worth it. Working and teaching a special needs child can have it’s challenges, but when you can it right, you’re on top of the world.

For this activity we used:

  • A piece of poster board or card stock
  • markers
  • colored dot stickers (Available on the stationery aisle almost anywhere)

For this activity, I wanted to do something with a rainbow and colors. After spotting some “dot stickers” on the stationery aisle, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I drew a rainbow with a black marker on half a sheet of poster board. I then used those markers to color it myself–my son hates markers. Did spend a lot of time on it–just enough to make it very clear where each color should be.

We then took out the stickers and began places the stickers in the matching section of rainbow.

We started off guiding Charlie through the motions, waiting for him to start initiating some himself, but we weren’t getting a whole lot out of him. Then my husband remembered that Charlie has gotten very interested in other people’s hands–he likes to touch them, move them around, etc. So we switched things up. My husband held the sticker and asked Charlie where he should put it. Charlie immediately grabbed my husband’s hand and moved it to the correct place.

He did this nine times in a row–until it was clear to both of us that he had no trouble understanding matching. We were so excited to see that he not only understood the activity, but that he was pretty good at it too!

Working with a special needs child sometimes forces you to think outside of your comfort zone–consider different ways. Would it be great if my son could do this activity with no help from his parents? Of course, but in the mean time I want to keep stimulating his brain until his body catches up.

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.