Posts Tagged ‘number concept’

Happy Valentine’s Day from Cheerful Learning!

In honor of tomorrow’s holiday, why not try out some fun, heart-themed activities with your little ones?

For example, how fun are those paper plate hats? I got the idea from here, and we just happened to have some pink paper plates left over from Remi’s recent princess birthday party, so we were ready to go! (Only have white plates? No problem! Just hand your preschooler some crayons, markers, or paints, and let her go to town decorating the hat herself!)

I drew the pattern on the plate and let Remi cut it out herself. This was her first time using scissors on something other than plain paper, and it was challenging for her little hands, but she did the best she could and I took over to help out right at the end.

Anything to work those hand muscles is good preparation for all the writing she has ahead of her in future school grades. One of my favorite things to do with Remi is taking her to the bathroom mirror to look at her creations. I always enjoy the response!

We also did several fun, heart-themed math activities. (I got all the free printables from here, and you can, too!)

We started out with a Count-and-Sort activity. I gave her a box of candy conversation hearts…you know, the ones that taste like chalk? 😉 She arranged them by color on the sorting mat, then counted how many of each color she had. We talked about more, less, most, least, and fewest as she answered questions about each.

Next up was a Heart Graphing activity.

Remi looked at the color words at the bottom of the graph, and added the hearts where appropriate. Then we looked at the graph together and I had her compare the stacks. (Which has more—green, or purple? Do any of them the same amount?)

If your preschooler is like mine, she loves any activity involving do-a-dot markers, so why not try a game of Heart Bingo?

I wrote numerals on each heart and then gave her a die, and each time she rolled it she had to count the pips (dots on the die) and stamp that numeral. She did this over and over and over!

The mistake I made? There were eight hearts, so without thinking I numbered them one through eight. Well, as you know, there are only six sides of a die, and she quickly noticed that she was never going to get a seven or eight. She asked if she could go ahead and stamp them anyway, and I let her—after identifying each and counting aloud for me.

By the way, this is a great time to teach your child that two are DICE and one is a DIE.

While the die was out, we used it to play a Valentine’s Grid Game.

I gave her some red Unifix cubes and told her they were bear candy. The grid contained bears with hearts, and those bears were VERY hungry for some Valentine’s candy. But, the only was they could get some was for her to roll the die, count the pips, and give that number of bears one piece of “candy” each. She was very concerned about the poor, hungry bears, and worked quickly to make sure each one had a treat!

In the meantime, she was getting some good practice identifying those dot patterns…but don’t tell her that, OK?

The great thing about all these activities is that, once you get your preschooler started, she can work fairly independently if you need to teach older children, nurse a baby, etc. Just stay close enough to enjoy watching the fun she’s having!

We brought the conversation hearts back out for some Heart Patterning work.

The worksheets I used were from a set of eight pages (see link above) and contained AB, ABC, AABB, and AAB patterns. Unfortunately, our box of candy didn’t contain all the colors we needed, so we just did the ones we could and a few times I substituted for her by, for example, covering yellow hearts with green candy ones to change the pattern to something we could do with the hearts we had. And, finally, she got to eat some hearts as a reward for all her hard “work” (play) doing math! 🙂

Finally, we did a fun Valentine’s Maze. I explained to my daughter that this little man loved this little woman, and really wanted to give her some flowers for Valentine’s Day, but he was having a hard time finding her. Remi was all too happy to help him out!

I found the maze at this site, which also contains other preschool printables like dot-to-dots, as well as lots of fun activities for your older kids, too. I printed out several Valentine’s Day activities from there for my ten year old, including word searches, word scrambles, and crypto-families.

Make the most of this special day with your little one. By next Valentine’s Day, she’ll be so much more grown up!

From our family to yours, Happy Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy learning together!

 

Before we jumped in on the formation process, I thought it would be a good idea to review the concept of zero. So, we played a little game of “How Many?”

How many pink dinosaurs live in our garage?

How many pianos are on your head?

How many buffalo did you eat for breakfast?

You get the point. Make your questions have an obvious “ZERO!” answer so she’ll get the fact that “zero” means “absolutely none at all.” Plus, this game is good for lots of giggles!

Then, before I taught her to form the numeral herself, I let her handle a foam zero to see how the shape felt.

I had her look at it and trace it with her fingers to cement its configuration in her mind.

Then, it was time for her to learn to form her own zero. We sang this rhyme while she traced the figure in a shallow cake pan I filled with play sand:

Round and round and round we go;

Close it up to make zero!

(Make sure your child understands the importance of beginning all numerals at the TOP.)

As you can imagine, Remi loved this. Of course, once the sand was available, she didn’t want to get her hands out of it! No big deal—I kept a bath towel under the pan the whole time, and just shook it off outside when she was done. It kept her busy and happy for quite some time, and sand play is an excellent sensory experience for young children. (Throw in some measuring cups or scoops or other pouring devices for extra fun!)

We also formed a zero from Play-Doh for another 3-D version. This was pretty easy for her to do by rolling up “a snake” and connecting the ends. She chanted our little rhyme again as she traced the dough circle.

(I found the number mats here and printed and laminated them so we can use them with Play-Doh, dry-erase markers, or whatever other media we like.)

Enjoy learning together!