Block Tower Patterns

by Allison McDonald Block towers patterns for preschoolKids love to sort and sorting is a stepping stone to recognizing and making patterns. Using toys and playful activities to work on math skills is the only way I do it with preschoolers.  My son loved doing more structured work so I offered it to him but my daughter is much more into using manipulatives and toys for learning . These block tower patterns let your kids explore patterns and even if they don’t complete the pattern they are still building a tower . Depending on your child and your goals for them you can choose to correct them or simply have fun building towers knowing that they might not be ready for this challenge yet .

  1. Gather your materials. All you will need are some blocks that stay together . Duplo or Little People Builders are my favorite for this age group but if you are doing this with older children regular Lego is awesome. I like blocks that inter-lock because the goal is to pattern and/or build and if your child is spending all their time rebuilding towers that fall apart they could get frustrated and in our house frustration often leads to the end of an activity. block tower patterns
  2. Make some simple pattern towers with the blocks. Set the blocks needed to complete the patterns to the side. Depending on your child’s ability you can put only the blocks needed here to work as prompts or have lots of options to make it more of a challenge.
  3. Invite your little tower builder over to check it out. patterns for preschool All I told her was that I built some towers and needed help to figure out which blocks go next. If she was older I would have said something more like ” Do you notice anything about these towers? ” If they don’t notice the pattern I would say ” I see a pattern. Do you think we could keep the pattern going ?”
  4. She was on these towers like a house on fire. tpwer patterns for preschoolOnce I saw that she was getting it I would question her if she put a block that wasn’t in the pattern on . Saying something like ” Let’s sing this pattern. Blue red white blue red … what ‘s next? ” of ” Do you see that color in the tower?”  It’s a fine line of keeping it playful but giving your child a challenge they can do. I don’t always say the right things.
  5. After she completed each tower she built a huge one and knocked it over in celebration. using blocks for patterningThen we did it all again! block tower patterning for preschoolThat’s the best part of this you can do it over and over again. Each time we celebrated!pattern block towers 2

Keeping learning playful is a huge goal of mine and even though you see the more structured side of this on the blog these activities make up only a very tiny part of our day and some days not even that much. Noticing patterns during every day play is a great way to introduce them to your child. Observations don’t have to spin into drawn out lessons just observe, talk and keep playing. For more fun math ideas for your preschooler check out our Math is Fun board on Pinterest.

 

Fine Motor Skills Challenge ( and some math)

fine motor cover 3My son like many kindergarteners has been focusing a lot on writing this year and while they hone their letter formation they are also working on spelling and punctuation. It’s a lot to coordinate. If the physical task of writing is using up all their concentration the more complex ones just add to the possible frustration . The best thing parents can do is to find ways to build those fine motor skills. This task was NOT easy for my son.  What I did with this was to balance it with an element he loves ( math) in order for him to do all 4 corks instead of giving up with the first. Don’t be afraid to make something hard just decide what your goal is.  That said had there been a complete refusal I would have adapted it using larger objects.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some wine corks or rectangular blocks and many elastic bands. fine motor skills building exercise
  2. Wrap the bands around the corks. Wrap a different number of bands around each. Make some tight and other looser. fine motor skills building activity for kids
  3. Invite your child to make a prediction about how many rubber bands are on each cork. No need to write it down but if you want to add some writing into the activity by all means grab some paper and a pencil with an eraser. fine motor cork and rubber bands
  4. Start unwrapping.  A lot of things come easy to my son so challenges are not always welcomed. I reminded him not to give up that we needed to find out how many were on these little corks. After getting them off count. fine motor cork and elastic bands exercise
  5. Repeat with the other corks.  fine motor corks and elasticsThis one was wrapped very tightly and he got frustrated initially but oh wait for it… I got a smile out of him too. I slipped in a little chat about how over coming challenges is way more fun that doing a task that is easy to start with.  fine motor skill building

Other ways to easily build your child’s fine motor skills are to play with play dough, beading or lacing , sewing and needle arts, playing with stickers, and our favorite Lego.  Check out more ideas from all over the web on our Fine Motor Pinterest Board.

Hanging Out The Wash { Math & Fine Motor Skills}

dirty socks number match and fine motor activityClothespins 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.hanging out the wash math and fine motor
  2. Start by painting numbers on your socks.  I let ours dry for 2 full days… just in case.dirty socks 001
  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.dirty socks 37356
  4. Set your clothesline up and pop the socks in the basket. Invite your little learner to hang out the wash.dirty socks 3
  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.dirty socks ghgjg
  6. So we switched things up and she was clearly thrilled.dirty socks 678
  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. dirty socks 444After that she was golden and quickly matched the numbers up. It took a lot of coordination to get the correct pin on. dirty socks 2

Halloween Math Activities for Kids

halloween crafts for kids These Halloween math activities for kids are a great way to add some extra learning to your day or for a class Halloween party. Math is a challenge for so many kids but if we can make it fun now before the challenge is too great then we can lay a positive foundation down to build upon for years to come.

Count & Fill Frankensteins
Halloween Graphing
Spider Counting Game from Loving My Nest
Candy Corn Counting
Haunted House Math
Halloween Patterns
Marshmallow Counting and Ghost Craft

 

Lily Pad Math – Subtraction Activity

math for preschool

We love math lessons and after going to a presentation all about teaching math to young children I am pumped for a ton of cool math activities for kids!  Nothing makes math more fun than using a theme and cool manipulatives. Even better than cool manipulatives are frugal ones made from dollar store items.  This whole activity cost me $2! Best part is that because the lily pads are foam even using permanent markers I can write equations on both sides to get more bang for my buck. Frugal, fun and educational.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam circles, permanent marker , plastic frogs and scissors.math for kids
  2. Start by cutting a wedge out of your foam circles.math ideas for homeschool kindergarten
  3. Next add some equations.math ideas for kids Gear these to your child. Do not worry about what your neighbor is doing or that your great aunt’s second cousins’ kid is multiplying at the age of 2  … everyone loves to share their pride in their kids and who can blame them?!  But all that matters is helping our kids learn at their own pace.  You can do equations like we did or you can simply write numbers and have your child place that many frogs on each lily pad.
  4. Add the frogs and your child. I totally goofed and didn’t have enough frogs for all the equations but my son just borrowed from an equation he had already completed.math center ideas
  5. When we started my son was determined to do the math in his head. I immediately explained to him that in Kindergarten ( he is crazy excited about kindergarten) that he will always have to show his work, how he got to a number and to feel free to use the frogs, or his fingers.math center ideas
  6. He chose his fingers … and amazingly the math was a breeze after that.
  7. Use proper math terms like equation, difference, subtract or the terms that fit the equations you are attempting.  Using the proper terms is part of math knowledge as well.

Although my son opted to use his fingers encourage your child to use the frogs for each equation especially if they are challenged by the equations. Fingers are great too but I find manipulatives even more effective than fingers for subtraction. Also when they move up to multiplication in later years using manipulatives like this are magic in my experience . If you do not have enough frogs simply present the lily pads one at a time.

Books About Frogs

books about frogs for kids

Too Many Frogs by Sandy Asher is a funny tale about a introverted Rabbit and a friendly Froggie who is a little clueless that he is imposing on Rabbit’s politeness when he invites himself over to listen to stories every night. Rabbit eventually breaks down and has had enough when Froggie brings his whole family reunion with him one evening to hear the stories as well. You will like how this story ends , the goofy but warm characters and expressive illustrations.

books about frogs for kids

Wendy the Wide-Mouthed Frog by Sam Lloyd Like it or not, our kids will probably encounter someone who thinks they are better than anyone else (or they may go through a stage of this themselves). Wendy is a frog who thinks just that and criticises the other animals in the wild for not being as great as she is. That is, until she meets a squid. At first I thought, with Wendy poking fun of other animals, that the book was somewhat negative in nature. Although Wendy isn’t nice and does change her tune at the end (though doesn’t apologize to others for her behavior), the book does open up an opportunity to discuss how negative comments can make our friends feel bad. Wendy herself is a hand puppet which mom can use to bring Wendy to life but the kids will love the squid page where they too can stick their hand in to be the squid’s tentacles. This moves kids from being passive listeners to interacting with the book too. ( reviewed by contributing writer Carrie Anne)

books for kids about frogs

Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson gave me goosebumps and made me want to give the author a high five. The little frog leaps away from mama frog going further and further away but leaps back home to his mama each time with then end being spot on with the text changing from ” then leap home to me” to ” when you leap back home , here I’ll be”. My heart was aching seeing the little frog grow so fast! I love this book. It’s got very simple repetitive text ( great for emergent readers!), the illustrations by Matthew Cordell are goofy and sweet. They match the text perfectly so they give great clues to readers who may be struggling with a word. As a read aloud this book is awesome , not only because the repetitive text has a great rhythm but as the little frog gets more independent and goes further from home the things he is leaping over are pretty goofy and will get more than a few laughs from any audience you are reading it to!