Halloween Math – Count and Fill Frankenstein

My husband loves math the way that I love art . When he talks about numbers his voices changes just a little bit the same way mine does when I start telling someone about the first time I saw a favorite painting in person. Well my son seems to be gearing more towards that side of things so I have been trying to come up with math activities that fit themes , have an art element if he wants to help me make them and most importantly are fun.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper towel roll or two, some green painters tape , a black markers( one permenant and a regular washable one), drinking straws, stationary labels and scissors.
  2. Start by cutting your paper towel rolls into smaller tubes.
  3. Next color the top of the roll black.  Just use a regular old marker.
  4. Next wrap green painters tape around the bottom of the rolls. Add faces with permenant marker, regular marker will smudge.
  5. Now cut the drinking straws into smaller pieces. Make sure they are long enough to be seen and grabbed above the rolls.
  6. Write numbers on the stationary labels. Make sure you write some numbers that are “easy” and many that are a challenge for them too. The balance of challenge and success builds their self confidence.
  7. Place the Frankensteins on the table with the labels infront. This do not stick to my table but I don’t want to be responsible for wrecking yours, so if you are worried pop down a placemat before the labels. If it’s too late try goo-gone that stuff is a preschool teacher’s secret weapon.
  8. Give your child the straws and let them count and fill! My son loved that he was putting brains into Frankenstein… nice eh?
  9. It was during this lesson that I introduced my son to double checking his work. Here he is counting a 2nd time.
  10. Peel the stickers off and put new ones on. Count and re-fill .

Halloween Counting Book

10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman is one of my favorite Halloween books and both my children love it. We’ve been reading it daily for a few weeks. The premise is simple, a group of trick or treaters are pegged off one by one as they are scared by some Halloween creature.  Readers count down from 10 – 0 and  enjoy the bright detailed illustrations as they do. I particularly like the cute costumes and the final page which has another countdown with candy – always fun to count candy right?

How Many? Estimating Activity

estimation station for kids uo

Every day items make great math manipulatives . When my son’s preschool class did a similar lesson using nice counting bears I knew I wanted to do it at home but with stuff I already had in my art closet.  This activity was great because it gave my son a chance to do things he loves like estimate and count as well as things he resists doing like writing . All with things I had around the house!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some jars or clear plastic containers, small items to pop in them , paper, a pencil, and a clip board. For some reason if I put paper on a clip board my son is way more excited to write than plain old paper.
  2. Start by filling the jars with small objects.  I used corks, pom poms and plastic frog toys. Make sure there are enough to make it a little challenging, they shouldn’t be able to easily count the manipulatives when they are in the jar. 
  3. Write a simple chart to record the items are in each jar . We only recorded the estimates but you can also write the results. I want to encourage my son to write but without pushing.
  4. Time to estimate!
  5. Write it down.
  6. Open and count.
  7. Repeat with other jars . 

Math Lesson: Unpack it & Graph it !

I love online shopping. With a handful of small children, you have to love online shopping (because browsing in the stores will make you insane). I never knew what to do with the packing peanuts.

Did you know that when packing peanuts get wet they “melt”?

Here is a fun way to use them to teach your child math. They make quite a perfect fit for counting and graphing. You just need a piece of paper, small bowl with water, a marker, packing peanuts, and glue (not in the picture).

Draw a space and then write the numbers you wish to use. I used 1-5, but this can be a great way to introduce counting by two’s (or anything else).

Have your child dip the ends of the packing peanuts in water. Press the ends together. They will “melt” and fuse to each other. Don’t use too much water or the peanuts will dissolve too much and become mush. You can have your child count out the peanuts as he fuses them together.

Place some glue on the paper and attach the coordinating stack of packing peanuts to the numbers.

The end result is a neat graph that clearly shows which numbers are greater. It is a fun way for children to learn number recognition, counting, graphing, and whatever else you can think of. :-)

The stack in #4 really does have 4 peanuts, but a little too much water was used and one of the peanuts melted down into almost nothing. We still had a great time and learned a lot.

Spider Craft and Math Game

My backyard is covered in spiders, which has led to my son and I trying to identify the ones we find using the internet . Have you ever googled “Spiders” , I never used to be afraid of spiders, super close up pictures of various spiders changed that for good. So if your little one is into these arachnids instead of googling and risking nightmares, make this fun spider craft, play this game and save yourself the grief !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic container, we used the plastic part of a light bulb package but any clear plastic would work. Some paint, a hole punch, googley eyes, glue and 4 pipe cleaners.
  2. Start by punching the holes in the plastic.
  3. Next paint the container from the inside. My son loved this part of the craft, he thought it was so cool to watch the paint from under the plastic. Let dry. On a sunny day I put this in the window and it dried (mostly) in 45 minutes.
  4. Cut the pipe cleaners in half
  5. Thread the pipe cleaners through the holes and twist the ends in place.
  6. Add the eyes with glue. Let dry.
  7. Play

Bug Math

I was lucky enough to get gifted these bug counters from a neighbor whose kids have out grown them. I wasted no time using them to teach some math. The goal of this game is to find the matching types of bugs, count them up and then find the number that matches the total in the tray and place them in.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some counters ( erasers in fun shapes, poker chips.. or plastic toys work well too), a divided tray, some paper , tape and marker.
  2. Write out the number totals on your paper, cut and tape into your tray.
  3. Time to play ( and learn).Group the similar bugs.
  4. Count them
  5. Pop them in the right section!
  6. Don’t forget to dance when you are done ! Watch out , those are some mean jazz hands.

Music & Math Activity

This was a fast easy activity I wanted to do to work on my son’s one to one correspondence but using a theme he is head over heels for . This also allowed me to work on the concept of zero.  Since doing this we have been noticing that there are “zero” dinosaurs in the backyard, “zero” boys eating their broccoli at lunch and “zero” children napping! I love it when I stumble on a concept that is new to him and we can work on it in a fun way.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 sheets of paper , some yarn, a marker, scissors and glue.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of a guitar on your brown paper . Don’t get hung up on it being perfect, as long as your child can tell it’s a guitar – you are fine!
  3. Cut out. You could also do this whole activity just with paper as a work sheet, but I find that even though the difference isn’t great to us between using a pen or the yarn , I think it is for children. Manipulating the objects really creates an experience.
  4. Next add the details and numbers .
  5. Cut your yarn into short pieces for the strings.
  6. Time to glue! This is the step my son joined me at. Depending on your child’s interest and age you could have them join in whenever. Glue the guitars on.
  7. Identify the numbers and add that many pieces of yarn.

Songs!

I posted this on my facebook page ) but if you missed it. All my song videos that were originally on my blogger site are frozen so you can see them all here !

Book

Sunny by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman  is a great book about finding sounds all around and making music with anything and everything you find. Sunny hears music from the animals around town, the vehicles and of course his friends playing at the playground.  My son loved when they had a “Hootenanny” and everyone together makes music in their own way. This book reminded me of the broadway show “Stomp” from the 90s, and is a great lesson for kids about how accessible making music really is.