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Child's Play
....sharing information & ideas!


Math Theme

Crafts & Activities
Songs, Finger Plays, Nursery Rhymes
Books/Tapes/Other Resources

See also:  Shapes Theme

Crafts & Activities

Take the kids on a number safari.  Drive around town and ask your child to look for numbers in street signs, store signs and on license plates.  Ask them to call out the numbers they find.  Help them if they are having problems recognizing them.  They should be able to recognize numbers, up to 10, before they enter kindergarten.

Connect the dots. Have your child select a few dot to dot coloring books from a bookstore or department store.  It doesn't matter what they choose, recognizing number sequencing is what is important.  They will learn that 2 follows 1; 3 follows 2, etc.

Let your child make a phone call to a friend or family member.  Write down the phone number for them on a piece of paper.  Let your child dial the number so that he can practice reading the numbers left to right.

Go on a counting walk in your neighborhood and count everything around you. Count the pickets in the neighbors fence, count the pets you see, count the street lights, count the cracks in the sidewalk, count the people you meet.

Count and sort household items. Mix up the knives, forks, and spoons from the silverware drawer and have your child group them by type and count how many there are in each group. Do the same with your sock drawer (by color, by size), your child's stuffed animal collection (group the animals by big and small; put all the bears together). Have your child help you fold and sort laundry. How many socks are there? How many T-shirts? Have him divide them into groups.

Go on a shape search around the house. Look for squares, triangles, circles, stars any kind of shape. Make shape cookies. Cut shapes out of colored construction paper and have your child name them as they create a shape picture.

Make a counting book. Have your child print the numbers 1 - 10 (or 1-20 depending on their age) on separate pieces of paper.  Give them old magazines or catalogs to cut out and glue to the numbered pages. Page 1= 1 apple; page 2 = 2 birds; page 3 = 3 toys; etc.

Make fun out of snack time.  Let your child count out the correct number of graham wafers; raisins; gummi bears; apple slices, etc.

Play Animal Number Challenge.  Printable pattern for a number challenge board and playing cards that I created.

Introduce volume and weight.  Make your favorite cookie recipe and give your child the measuring cups and bowls and let them measure out the ingredients as you read the recipe directions to them.

Putting Things In Order
Group objects on a table (crayons, coins, pencils, sticks, shoes, bowls, stones. etc.).  Each item in a group of items should be different in size, color, weight.  Ask the children to put things in order by length, height,  total size, weight and color.  Talk about the differences and add a second criteria to the sorting - by color and size, for instance.  Once the children have mastered this, have them put unlike objects in order by size or weight.  This helps to understand concepts as bigger, longer, heavier and to qualities in the things around them.

Estimating.  Place m&m's, beans, pennies, or other small items (5 - 10, depending on age) in a plastic clear cup.  Ask your child to guess how many items are in the cup.  After they guess, let them count the items and see how close they were.  As they improve, add more items to the cup.

Take away Items.  Give your child a bowl with 10 items inside; m&m's, smarties, beans, pennies or other small items.  Make cards with the numbers 1-10 on them.  Place them face down and have your child draw a card.  Ask them to remove as many items from the bowl as is on the card.  Count how many are left in the bowl.  Repeat until your child tires of the game!

Set the Table.  Ask your child how many people are eating dinner today.  Ask your child to set the table helping them count out the correct number of forks, spoons, knives, plates, cups, glasses, napkins, etc. and help them set them out.

Make a game out of sorting and classifying objects. Toys can be lined up shortest to tallest. Socks, mittens and gloves or shoes can be dumped into piles and sorted into pairs or by color or type.

Measure objects in unconventional ways. Use a line of teddy graham bears to measure a spoon - how many does it take?; how many foot steps (heel to toe) to get from one side of the room to the other;

Apple Board Game
Cut out an apple tree shape from brown and green construction paper; laminate for durability. Cut out apple shapes from red construction paper. Make small cards and number from 1 - 5. The children can take turns choosing a card and placing the correct number of apples on the tree.

Songs, Finger Plays & Nursery Rhymes

Five Little Monkeys
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed;
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

Four little monkeys jumping on the bed..."
    (continue until the last one falls off the bed...SHOUT the last line "No More monkeys jumping of the bed!" and shake your finger at each other!

Recommended Books/Tapes/Other Resources

Count and See, by Tana Hoban

The Doorbell Rang, by Pat Hutchins (a book about dividing cookies among an ever-growing number of children)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle (with days of the week & counting)

Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina (showing position in space).

Raffi's "Five Little Frogs" (counting) and "I Wonder if I'm Growing" (height) (songs on tape)

*Beary* special thanks to
for the wonderful graphics for this page.

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