Thanksgiving Math For Kids – Fact Families and More!

thanksgiving math for kids Creating two activities with the same materials for two very different abilities is one of my favorite challenges. These turkey cork boards made it simple. My daughter matched colors and naturally counted the feathers upon completion. My son loved the fact families and the novelty of using thumbtacks made it all the more fun. This Thanksgiving math activity was a huge hit at our house!

Gather your materials. You will need some cork boards ( I got all three at IKEA for $3 ), construction paper , double stick tape, marker, and thumbtacks.Turkey Color matching

Start by cutting out circles for the turkey’s heads , feathers, and wattles. Draw a simple face ( I made the eyes big enough to use thumbtacks as pupils), and tape the wattles on. Tack the heads on. cork turkey color sorting

Color Sorting Turkeys

I tacked one feather on each turkey as a guide for my daughter and invited her to tack the rest on. turkey cork board learning

She made a yellow rabbit and two turkeys ! turkey cork color sorting

 

Fact Family Turkeys

I added a small fact family triangleturkey fact families as a guide and tacked them on. While my daughter colored in one of the turkeys to make it just right! turkey corkboard

Wrote out the fact family number sentences on the feathers.turkey fact family math activity

I invited my math whiz and he jumped right in to pinning the feathers. fact family turkey mathI did not keep all the fact families on the same color feathers because I did not want him to simply match the colors. thanksgiving turkey fact familiesThis activity could be adapted to any math ability. You could match numbers, match digits to tally marks , do odds and evens… they sky is the limit! turkey fact families for kids

 

 

Books About Math

counting books

Check out our books about math for fun counting books and more for kids!

Playdough Kabobs – Preschool Math & Fine Motor

playdough kabobs for kids“It’s just pretend!” is a very common phrase at our house. From my daughter telling us she is eight not three, my son yelling at imaginary troops in the backyard, and even when we set extra place settings for imaginary friends at meals, we do a lot of pretending. Often pretend play is a way for kids to practice being an adult, try on new roles, and do things that are not usually for them. This playdough activity that includes both math and fine motor skills came about because my daughter loves helping me cook dinner, especially when we are having kabobs. She is a master at skewering veggies and will often make patterns. So on a rainy day { get ready for lots of those…} we decided to grab the playdough and pretend we were making dinner and do a little learning along the way.

Gather your materials. You will need Play-Doh, skewers, a bowl, and a cookie sheet.playdough kabobs supplies I was setting up the materials shot when my daughter grabbed my phone and took her own. I don’t think it was too bad! playdoughkid
Start by rolling the playdough into balls. This is great for hand strength which is part handwriting development. playdough kabobs rolling into ballsMake a bowl full – we worked on ours together.playdough kabobs fine motor skills for kids
Next gently thread the playdough balls on. If they stab the playdough too far from the center they will fall off. If they aren’t on well just show your child to give them a squeeze.playdough kabobs for preschool
This activity naturally welcomes counting. After she was done one skewer she laid it on the cookie sheet and counted all the playdough balls.playdough kabobs counting
When she picked up the next skewer I asked if she thought she could make a pattern. So she did. She informed me that it was pink and “orange pink”.playdough kabobs patterning

Simple activities like these tap into so many different kinds of learning as well as creates a space to sit and work on something with your child.playdough kabobs on the baking sheet

 

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Books About Food

 

everybody_cooks_rice

Everybody Cooks Rice  by Norah Dooley is a fantastic book! The book follows a sister who is looking for her brother in their San Francisco neighborhood. As she goes from door to door each neighbor invites her in to eat some of their supper. Everybody is having some sort of rice dish even though they are all from different countries. My 6 year old really enjoyed this book and understood the message well , my 3 year old sat through it no problem too. There are so many future lessons about geography, nutrition, and travel packed in this one little book! Awesome find.

eating the alphabet

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire and perfect for a letter F eek, since it’s all about food!  Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page! This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you hungry.

yum yum dim sum

Yum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger is a book that makes me crave dumplings something fierce but my daughter seems to like the rhymes and pink and red colors throughout. The book explains in a zippy text all about Dim Sum . It’s a board book targeted to babies it’s really useful to use to teach children about foods they may be unfamiliar with. There is even a little appendix with Chinese words for all the items mentioned in the book like tea, rice and tarts.

 

 
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Rhyming Peg Board {Learning After School}

Rhyming pegboard literacy activity for kidsMy son is a good student but like most new writers he needs to work on his fine motor skills . He enjoys writing now but I still like to sneak in some fine motors skills in with activities he loves like rhyming. This rhyming activity uses novelty to keep kids interested. The rubber bands and pegs are great because it takes a lot of patience and fine motor skill to carefully place them on the correct pegs. This was just enough novelty for my son to be eager and interested even after a long day at school.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a shoebox or other sturdy box ( we used our Kiwi Crate) , push pins , elastics, a sheet of paper, glue stick or double stick tape and a marker. rhyming activity for kids
  2. *Before doing anything make sure that the push pins are secure when you push them into your box. Test out how far apart you can make the push pins and stretch your elastics so they stretch but aren’t so tight that that pull the push pins out and turn them into projectiles.
  3. Write out a list of words on the right side ( we did Christmas themed words but obviously do what works for your kids). Write a second list on the left of rhyming words. rhyming game with elastics
  4. Tape or glue onto your box.
  5. Add push pins remembering to keep them not too far apart. rhyming activity for kids 2
  6. Add a kiddorhyming activity for kindergarten to start matching these words up. rhyming pegbard match game for kindergatenThis is a fast activity but it’s designed to be. It’s a splash of learning not a long lesson. My son really liked it and I plan on making more with different themes , spelling words etc…Rhyming pegboard

Feather Color Match

feather color matchingMy daughter is a natural color matcher. Although you most often see her in her PJs my daughter is a stickler for matching accessories and can be heard saying ” It matches , look Mama dat toy matches me dress!” often.  I knew she would like this activity but I was still happily surprised by the concentration she showed while doing it .This activity not only for color recognitions it is great for both fine motor development and eye hand coordination too.We called it a turkey feather match since we’ve been talking a lot about turkeys and Thanksgiving but you could do this any time of year.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some styrafoam ,colored feathers,  permanent markers in colors that match your feathers. That’s it!
  2. Start by making dots on the styrafoam with the markers.
  3. Invite your best color matcher to do their thing! I showed her how to do the first one and then she was off!
  4. She pointed out extra dots that we had no feathers for. Luckily I hadn’t put all the feathers out and was able to get a few more for her to match. 
  5. And she did.

Snowmen At Night – Craft & Book

This ripped paper snowman craft was inspired by the book Snowmen At Night and my daughter’s love of ripping toilet paper into teeny tiny pieces. As annoying as that habit is as a parent it’s actually really great for her fine motor development so it never makes me too angry to see. I harnessed that in this craft and we had fun making a ” no man” together while her brother was at school.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 sheets of construction paper( black and white), a small scrap of orange, a scrap of ribbon, googly eyes, toilet paper,glue, scissors and a white crayon.snowmen at night craft
  2. Start by cutting out a snowman body and moon from the white paper. If you are doing this with older children have them do the drawing or cutting or both.snowman at night craft
  3. Hand your child the crayon and ask them to make stars, shooting stars or snowflakes in the sky. With little ones like my daughter who are at the labeling stage ( she is 19 months) I would keep it simple using something they are familiar with. For her she knows what stars are so I asked her to make stars in the sky and made one as an example. Then let her do what she wanted.
  4. While she did that I cut out a nose from the scrap paper.
  5. Rip the paper!snowman craft As she ripped I took some of  the ripped pieces out of reach because she wanted to rip the smallest ones into teeny tiny pieces and I wanted to encourage that fine motor practice.
  6. Time for glue. Do not fret about where they put glue, I don’t open it all the way but make them work for it, but not so closed that they will get frustrated.snowman craft
  7. Add the body and moon – again with older kids you may want to add arms. Tiny easy to rip pieces can be tricky for little hands so didn’t add any to this craft but do what fits best with your child’s development.snowman at night craft
  8. When she added the moon she sat there squishing the glue under it for a few moments, expect play like this, welcome play like this.  When we added the glue for it I narrated that the moon goes in the sky, also pointing out at the sky from the window. Use crafts as a way to teach but don’t stress about the end product.
  9. Add more glue for the toilet paper. With tiny ones like my daughter you might have to help add the glue for the collage,  but let them do as much as they can before stepping in.snowman craft for toddlers
  10. Squish it on.
  11. Add the nose.
  12. I added the eyes and the scarf , she loves to unravel ribbon and the eyes are perfect for eating in her books. If you want the kids to do these but are still young try plain paper eyes ( many kids don’t put that in their mouths, even when they are similar in size to googly eyes, but as always watch and remember stay within arms reach when kids are at the mouthing stage).  Don’t forget to hang toddler art up, my daughter is clearly proud pointing out her crafts or paintings and saying her name after pointing at them. Creating confidence is one of the best parts of crafting with kids.

Snowmen At Night

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner

I love this book and actually looked for 2 hours in our playroom and storage room convinced I owned it but misplaced it. I don’t. I finally sat down to read it to my daughter at her school last week. She liked the snowmen but wasn’t as into it as I suspect she will be next winter. The story is adorable but a little sophisticated for a 19 month old. My son has read it and loved it, because it taps into a child’s imagination perfectly. The author imagines a world where snowmen come to life and party at night when we are sleeping, which is why they always look a little different in the morning. I remember my son looking at me and asking ” not really right?” when we read it a few years ago. I love the whimsical illustrations with fun points of view that makes the reader feel like they are in on a real secret. Great book for preschoolers, I was a little over eager reading it with my daughter but it’s so good I couldn’t wait to.