## Craft by Numbers – Christmas Tree

Do you remember paint by numbers? I used to love doing them but mixing the numbers up ( yeah I was that kid) my son however is all about numbers and this was a fun way to make something festive but also let his interest in math be spotlighted. You could do this with shapes, or letters too.  I didn’t tell him that the final result was a Christmas tree so it was fun to have him “decode” the craft as we went.

1. Gather your materials. You will need some pom-poms in different colors, cups to sort them in,  construction paper, glue and a marker.
2. Start by sorting your pom-poms by color into different cups, write different numbers on each cup. I wrote 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 on mine since we’d just been chatting about counting by 10s.  To have your child help sort the pom poms just put on of each color in one cup to use as a guide.
3. Write out the numbers on the paper in a design. I did green outline, with random colors and green in the middle.
4. Start gluing the pom poms on using the code.
5. hmmmm what could it be?
6. All done! Let dry.

Great Christmas Book!

a creature was stirring by Clement C. Moore and  Carter Goodrich  was a recent find at the library. Around the holidays ( any holiday) my son and I attack the stacks like soldiers on a mission and look for the sticker on the binding indicating it’s a Christmas themed book. This was one of the few we found yesterday , and what a find! The book is an adaptation of the classic ‘Twas a NIght Before Christmas with a little boy interupting the poem with his own rhyming story.  It’s an adorable story about a little boy who simply can’t sleep , wants to be good but is oh so worried Santa will think he is naughty. I adore this book, it’s simple and fun and a great addition to the classic that so many of us have been read and will read to our kids this Christmas.

## 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?

## 6 Clothespin Crafts!

I get emails often asking for ideas based on materials so today I compiled some of our crafts that use clothespins. These fun and easy clothespin crafts are just some ideas you can do to use this material.

Our favorite is the Clothespin Dinosaur Craft above but over the years we have used clothespins for a whole bunch of learning.

Paint Chip Color Match

Clothespin Teaching Turkey

Color Wheel Match

Jack and The Beanstalk

Clothespin Patterns

## How Many? Estimating Activity

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 .