Monster Math Tray – Learning After School

preschool math Math is probably my son’s favorite subject right now and I am running with it. This monster math activity took 2 minutes to set up and could be used over and over . No need to buy anything other than paper and googly eyes! I like making simple tray activities like this that I can have ready for him at the table in the playroom to do after school. They are educational and appealing but not so long that he gets overwhelmed after a long day of school. As you will see my toddler demanded she get in on the action too, luckily this was easy to adapt to her level as well. For a fun variation check out how you can use dice for even more monster math over at Inner Child Learning.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some bright paper, googly eyes, a pencil ( if you want to use the monsters more than once) , and scissors. I also had a small cup and cookie tray to keep everything contained.
  2. Start by folding your paper in half and cutting out the shape of a monster. Best part is that they can be detailed or a blob , not need for extraordinary artistic skills! halloween math
  3. Next write simple math equations on the monster. If your child isn’t up to equations yet just do numbers. You can also do shapes and have your child place the eyes on the shapes. I used markers for the photos but If you want to use this more than once you can use pencil, or laminate the monsters and use dry erase markers.Counting
  4. All ready – now add a math wizard! He loves this . I love that while doing math he is also working on fine motor skills that he needs for writing.
  5. After he did addition we flipped it over and did some subtraction. He loved it too!
  6. ” I do it TOO!!!” To make it toddler friendly I only used the largest eyes, and wrote simple numbers on the monsters. My daughter still needed a little help as I thought she would but she was ecstatic to be doing big girl math with her big brother. All I know is she begged to do math. Let’s keep that spirit going right?monster craft

Monster Books

halloween books for kids

 Check out our round up of monster books for some reading after your math!

Monster Box

by Kim

This activity is a great one to keep tucked away for rainy days. You can use things from your craft stash and some regular household items.

What you will need are stickers or self adhesive craft foam pieces, chenille stems, and an empty box (we used a facial tissue box and a sandwich bag box).

This part is the easiest. Have your child cover the box with stickers and craft foam pieces.

While they are having fun you can make fun little appendages for your monster. We bent the chenille stems in zig zags and wrapped them around pencils to get a neat corkscrew look.

I simply poked small holes with a pencil and threaded the stems into the holes and bent the tip to keep them from coming out.

We cut out some white traingles and added some teeth.

What you have is one terrifyingly cute monster box.

Now your kids have a fun monster to play with. Our monsters ate random items and stored small toys.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Frankenstein Halloween Craft

I get asked for craft ideas for older kids from time to time especially around holidays and special occasions like Halloween. When I picked up some sparkly sticky back foam I immediately knew I had to use it to make some kind of Frankenstein!   I decided on a magnet because it can be used at home in the kitchen ( yay, no tape or push pins in the wall) , in a locker at school or wherever else you choose. It’s a fast craft for older kids and would work great as a Halloween party activity too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some green and black sparkly sticky back foam, scissors, 2 wiggly eyes, glue and a magnet. I recycle the free magnets we get as promotions for things like furnace repair and pizza parlors.
  2. Start by cutting out a face shape in the green foam. Remember to make the top flat.
  3. Glue the magnet on the back and set aside to dry.
  4. While that is drying cut the black foam into a rectangle as wide as the top of the head. Make cuts on one side to make spiky hair.
  5. Cut a long strip ( almost as wide as the chin of the monster) out of the black, and several smaller strips.
  6. Cut two triangles out of the black as well , snip the top point off.
  7. Start peeling the backings off. Only peel off as much as will be touching the green foam. Start with the hair add it to the face ( the glue should be dry enough to turn the face over without the magnet falling off, if it does pop it back on and wait.
  8. Next add the long strip ( the mouth) and the small strips across it. 
  9. Add the ears ( well really they are bolts, but they are about where people’s ears are). Again only peel back the backing for the part that is touching the green foam.
  10. Glue on the eyes. Let dry completely.

Your little ghoul too young for this craft? Try our preschooler friendly Paper Roll Frankenstein instead.

Monster Books

Monster Mess! by Margery Cuyler is a silly rhyming book about a monster who isn’t interested in scaring you, but rather cleaning up your messes. Readers follow along as the monster creeps through the house finding messes and tidying up. I personally loved it when the monster stepped on blocks, who reading this with kids hasn’t stepped on toys like Lego and screamed in pain?! I know I do, a lot so that part resonated with me . The illustrations by S.D. Schindler are done at funky angles and perspectives and adds a lot to the text. It’s not scary at all and a great monster choice for more fearful kids.

Molly’s Monsters by Teddy Slater is a counting book in monster’s clothes. The book is about a little girl named Molly who is just trying to sleep when her room is flooded with monsters. They come in progressively larger groups and my son liked  counting to make sure the text was correct. My favorite part was that the first monster to arrive and the last to leave , never does leave and instead snuggles into bed with Molly. I also like that to get these pesky visitors to leave she turns on the light and makes a scary face and scares them. Clever.

When a Monster Is Born by Sean Taylor is funny, my son didn’t find it as funny as I did but he still laughed and didn’t seem scared any of it. The story is about a monster and all the life changing choices he faces every day like whether to eat a principal or run through a wall of a school. This book feels like a choose your own adventure book, it’s fun , repetitive and silly. There is quite a bit of talk about monsters eating people , though nothing too gory.