Sort The Mail – Math Activity For Kids

mail sorting number recognitionPretend play is one of my favorite ways to teach. Kids love to pretend and test their limits within boundaries of make believe. Combining pretend play with math is a great way to challenge your kids without making them feel like it’s a test. Pretending to be a postal worker gives the task of sorting meaning and with that meaning their learning is deeper and better retained. It’s also really fun. I left this set up for a few weeks and my kids, especially my daughter played with it over and over.

Gather your materials. You will need some baskets ( 3 for a buck at the dollar store), envelopes, labels, a tray or big basket, and markers. Math Mail - kindergarten math activity

Start by writing out numbers on the labels. mail math for preschool and kindergarten

Next put them on the baskets. These will be used to match the numbers on the envelopes or the equations on the envelopes depending on your child’s level of understanding. mail math

Write out the equations / numbers to match with the baskets. I did both, writing equations for my son and single numbers for my daughter. I had a few numbers I thought might be tricky for her and some equations that my son would have to stop and really think about. mail math for kids

Set it all up!  mail math for grade 1My son needed no guidance at all he sat down , read the little sign I added for fun , and got to sorting. Those few tricky ones slowed him down a bit but not enough to frustrate him or stall the fun. mail sorting math lesson

My daughter loved this . I switched out the envelopes with the equations with the envelopes with single numbers and she started sorting. mail math activity sortingUnlike her brother she was totally vocal saying each number as she recognized it and sorted it into the correct spot. For little ones like her ( she is just 3) this is really important so we can step in if they need help. If they aren’t don’t push it , keep playing and modeling. mail math idea

To take this further you can write letters with the numbers on them as well and add another layer of learning to the play. If you like this you will love our other post office play ideas like Alphabet Mail, Letter Sorting and of course our DIY Mailbox.

 

 

Math Games { Shell Memory }

math games for kids shell memory gameWe live on an island and while we don’t get to walk on sandy beaches ( ours are more like barnacle beaches ) we do have lots of shells and the summer is often filled with discovering them along the shore. This math game taps into that experience while also working on memory and number recognition.  Using math games to teach is a great way for parents to connect to what kids are learning and become participants not just observers. This math game was a snap to put together with shells from the craft store. I caution you to check all the shells in a package for sharp edges before letting your kids play with them, some of ours were broken and really sharp.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some shells, a sharpie, a tray or something else that will keep the shells contained. I used a sheet of paper towel to keep the shells from sliding on the tray too.
  2. Write a pair of number names along with the numeral on shells. We did 1- 10 but you can do any combination of numbers using only the numeral or number written out. math games with shells
  3. Let the marker dry for a few minutes before playing.
  4. Arranged the shells face down in random order.math games for kids shell game
  5. Play. math games for kids shell game for 3 year oldsOne player flips a shell and leaves it face up, then flips another. If they match they leave them face up and the other player goes. If they do not match both shells are flipped back over and you start from scratch. You can also play one player like this. With discovery based math games like this you will probably notice that your child will naturally identify the numbers without prompting. If they don’t feel free to say “What did you find?” If they know number they will identify it if they don’t they will probably hold it out and say “This.” That’s when you step in and say ” Look you found 4 !” or something else easy breezy that still gives them the facts without making it feel like you are telling them something they should already know. math games

After we played a few rounds my daughter discovered that if she shook the tray gently that they shells made a really pretty tinkling sound.

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Need some books to go along with this beach themed activity? Click here to see the reviews for the books below.

reading lists for kids

 

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

Haunted House Math Activity

Using holidays like Halloween as a theme for great learning activities is a sure fire hit in my house. My daughter who is 2 is always excited to do any project but my almost 6 year old is a lot more picky. This Halloween math activity was such a hit that when I asked my son to rate it 1-100 he gave it a 100 without hesitation! Better yet it’s pretty easy to make , adapt for various levels and frugal too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper , markers , white card stock ( or paper plates !), scissors, painter’s tape and something to attach the house to a wall. I used push pins but more painter’s tape would work too.
  2. Cut out simple ghost shapes  from the paper plates / card stock. Add faces and numbers. I did 1-10 but you can write whatever numbers your child is working on.
  3. Draw a haunted house on craft paper. Mine took 3 tries the first was so bad I should have taken a picture to make you all laugh. The other ones became coloring paper for my toddler.
  4. Write out simple equations , number words or even just numbers to match up. You will see further down that for a toddler like my daughter you don’t even need anything to match. Just play with the numbers on the ghosts.
  5. Add painter’s tape to the ghosts and on the haunted house where you will place the equations.
  6. Add the equations to the house, put the ghosts next to it ready to be put in the house and call your little mathematician.
  7. As soon as my son saw the activity he said it was too easy and it probably was.  I grabbed my iPhone and asked him if he wanted me to time him. His face lit up. I don’t suggest timing children who don’t want to be timed or who will feel negatively pressured . Matching the words with the numbers on the ghosts was an easy task for my son but he has a competitive spirit and timing him made it more fun because it made it challenging.
  8. He flew through it. Placing the ghosts on top of the matching words.
  9. Next I switched the words on the house to simple equations. These were not going to be as easy and I told him for this time we would not be timing it.  I think that if I’d done the harder task first he would have gotten frustrated when a few of the harder equations didn’t come to him immediately.
  10. After my son was done I removed all the tape and equations so the house was clear , and put the ghosts back on the wall. Then invited my daughter who is 2 to come and put the ghosts in the haunted house. It was perfect for her. She grabbed the ghosts and named the numbers she knew and asked me to confirm the numbers she didn’t. She was very specific about where they should be. I was thrilled that they both had fun with math at their own levels of learning!

Ghosts In The House

Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara is on my must buy list! A little girl moves into house and soon finds out it is haunted. Luckily she is a witch and knows just what to do. The ghosts in the story seem mischievous but never scary and even when she washes them in the washing machine, they are still smiling. My son loved this book, the text was the perfect length for a 3 year old, short but still descriptive.  I loved the simple  black and orange colors and had to look at the copyright twice because I was certain this was written sometime in the 30s, nope 2008. The simplicity of the book and colors is balanced so well with the little details like the little girl’s constant companion , a white cat that puts on a black costume when the little witch pops on her hat. This detail had my son in stitches, “Cats don’t wear clothes , silly cat!” .  Absolutely a perfect Halloween book for children not yet ready to be scared for fun!

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Leaf Matching Puzzles

leaf numbers
by Kim

Looking for a fun way to practice number recognition? Then look no further. Playing with these letter and number recognition puzzles is a fun way to get little fingers and mind active. This is an activity you will want to do ahead of time and have ready for the little ones.

Grab a piece of corrugated cardboard, a marker, and a pair of scissors. You can use posterboard or craft foam, but corrugated cardboard is so much thicker and it is easier for your child to see that they are matching the pieces up correctly.

Draw some leaves on the cardboard. Then draw a line through them. I like to do a squiggly line to help the pieces “lock” in together better. Now draw a number on one side of the leaf and dots corresponding to that number on the other side.

Cut out the leaves. This is the part where you will be glad you are not making these pieces with your children. Cutting the cardboard can be tricky because it is so thick.

You can also draw and cut out leaves with upper and lower case letters to match up.

*VARIATION- Math equations would offer a more challenging task for older siblings that want to join in the fun, too. For younger children (and ambitious caregivers) you could color the leaves for color matching.

Cut along the line you drew that divides the leaf.

Now divide your leaf pieces into two sections. One section with the numbers written on them and one section with the dots drawn on them, or upper case letters and lower case letters.

Watch your child match them up. It is fun to watch them match different ways each time. Sometimes my daughter would match by number recognition and then counting the dots. While other times she matched the shape of the leaves.

Any way they match is great practice for reasoning and logic skills. Putting the pieces together make great motor skill exercise, too.

 

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.