I recently bought him these large number puzzles that are really great IMO. Each number has the corresponding amount of pieces to create it (#2 has two pieces, #8 is an eight piece puzzle), they are shaped as the number itself and they have the corresponding number of animals on it too. This provides LOTS of opportunities to count just by completing the set. I also bought it at a discount store, so it was a cheap find!!
After we completed the puzzles, J got out his many other number puzzles and began to match the numbers. He came up with this activity on his own.
(Don’t ask me why we have so many number puzzles!!)
This is a quick post to show one way we practice counting. This was when we were working on number two. I used some cookie cutters I got from Target (included numbers, shapes, letters, animals, transportation,…) and we first made some playdoh cutouts of the number two. Then we counted and made two cutouts of different animals, placing a number two by each pair.
J loves playdoh and it’s an easy way to practice almost any lesson from shapes, colors, letters, numbers, size,…
Floor Shapes: We taped triangles up and down our kitchen floor. I got the first few started and then J helped me by decided if the triangle should be big or little and making sure I completed the triangle’s three sides. I repeated again and again that triangles have three sides and we counted as I placed each side down. This is my winter/rainy day version of sidewalk chalk. If you read my sidewalk chalk post, you’ll know that I like to have something out as a consistent reminder of our weekly lessons. Painter’s tape works well when we can’t get outside!
When the triangles were all completed, we traced them with our fingers, we walked and “jumped” across the triangle path, we drove cars around the sides of the triangles and we filled each triangle with one of his Matchbox cars (a good reminder for the number one).
Triangle Building Shapes – This is a simple activity and so easy to prepare. All I had to do was cut out a handful of foam triangles in different sizes and colors. I showed J how to lay the triangles next to each other to create pictures and designs (basically build with triangles instead of blocks). He mostly wanted to match the triangles (same size and color) which was perfectly fine with me. The point was to give him lots of visual reminders of a triangle and that was accomplished. You could do this activity with felt or even construction paper (and glue the shapes onto paper). I saw something similar in a learning store, but the shapes were magnetic. I loved that idea, but I was too cheap to buy them and didn’t have time to make them!
Stickers in Triangles – I gave J a piece of paper filled with triangles and had him place one sticker inside each triangle.
Age Attempted: 23 months (have done similar activities much younger… 18 months??)
Teachable Moments: inside/outside (with stickers and cars inside triangle); focus on triangles having 3 sides and 3 corners/points; what shapes can we create by placing triangles together?? (foam pieces)
Try Again? I resuse these activities often
Posted in Age Range, Concepts, Counting, Early Preschool (3-4 years), Early Toddler (18-24 months), Inside and Outside, Math, Pre-Toddler (12-18 months), Shapes, Table Time, Toddler (2-3 years)
Tagged Counting, Shapes
In one of my trips through the dollar store, in search of cheap, light weight “toys” to keep my toddler busy on planes, I came up with this version of stringing beads.
I bought a couple packages of sponge curlers (the kind some of us slept in when we were little). They came in black and pink in our dollar store. I took them home and sliced some in thirds, some in half, and kept others the full length. I keep them in a small wipee box with some pipe cleaners. The sponges are perfect to string on the pipe cleaners. I think it’s a little easier for them use the pipe cleaners than regular string, making this activity possible at a younger age. Wealso make jewelry with them or link them together to create a chain (thought J needs a lot of help with that).
This makes a good plane/travel activity because it keeps them occupied for awhile, it reuses the same materials from other plane activities (so you have to pack less), and it’s lightweight. The disadvantage is that the sponges can be decidedly fun to throw around on the plane (but at least they don’t hurt if they hit you and they’re cheap, so it’s not terrible if some are lost). This works well for J now at 23 months; our first experience with this plane activity (at 14 months) didn’t go as well.
Age attempted: 14 months (too young for on the plane), better by 18 months and good at it by 23 months
Teachable Moments: We’ve worked on the meaning of push and pull with this. You can make patterns with the different colors, practice counting by assigning a different number of sponge beads for each pipe cleaner
Try Again? This is usually an activity I either bring on the plane or have in the hotel; it is saved for those events to keep it’s novelty but still gets used fairly often
Posted in Age Range, Counting, Early Toddler (18-24 months), Homemade Toys, Math, Motor Skills, Patterns, Pre-Toddler (12-18 months), Table Time, Toddler (2-3 years), Travel Activities
Tagged Counting, Homemade Toys, Patterns
J is really into matching his toys. He is constantly finding ways to organize trains, tracks, blocks, beads,… We have these Melissa and Doug wooden lacing beads and I noticed J was constantly turning the wooden tray over so that he could match the colorful beads to the pictures on the tray. Unfortunately there were only a few pictures to match. So I decided to create a matching board that included all the beads. This was something I did quickly while J was playing nearby, so the final product certainly has mistakes! I just traced each bead and then added color to match each one. You could probably create a board like this using powerpoint that looks much more professional. J didn’t notice the mistakes at all. He loved the board and went straight to work.
Age attempted: 22 months
Teachable Moments: label the shapes and colors, recognize color patterns, number recognition
Try Again? Yes, I pull this matching board out maybe once a week
You obviously could create a matching board for lots of different toys your little one already owns. Letter blocks, stacking toys, flashcards, cars, trains, letter/number magnets, … I’m sure you can come up with lots of ideas. Please share your ideas!!
Posted in Age Range, Colors, Counting, Early Toddler (18-24 months), Games, Homemade Games, Math, Patterns, Shapes, Toddler (2-3 years)
Tagged Colors, Counting, Homemade Games, matching, Patterns, Shapes
This is one of the matching activities I made for J. He loves fish right now, so this particular board quickly attracts his attention.
These pictures were left over from an activity J did at church, but you could make your own with clip art. I used adhesive magnets on the back of the board as well as on each individual card so that the pieces stay in place. I also laminated (using contact paper) each card for durability.
I did originally make another board that had double the squares to match but it proved too difficult for him. He lost interest very quickly because there were simply too many fish to search through. It wasn’t magnetic either so he kept accidentally moving the cards around the board. This second board worked out much better. I really think it’s the perfect level for him right now. He has to be mindful of the color, number and type of fish to match each card correctly. There are just enough squares to keep him busy but not frustrate him. I will have to save my original board for when he’s a bit older.
Age attempted: 22 months
Teachable moments: count the fish together in search for the perfect match, talk about the different colors, point out the size of the fish (small, medium, large)
Try Again? Yes; as he gets older I can increase the number of squares to match; I can also add extra cards that won’t actually match the board so that he will learn to filter the unnecessary data and focus only on what is needed to complete the task.
** stay tuned for other activities I’ve created with these adorable fish!
This is the other board I made that will have to wait until he's a little older.
Posted in Age Range, Colors, Counting, Early Toddler (18-24 months), Homemade Games, Math, Size, Toddler (2-3 years)
Tagged Colors, Counting, Homemade Games, matching, Size
We’ve been emphasizing numbers and counting around our house for the past few weeks. So before snack time today I layed out large pages with #1-5 on J’s picnic blanket. I gave him a bowl of Kix and together we counted the correct number of “balls” to set on each page BEFORE he got to eat them. Yes, he did ask if he could eat them but was also fine with doing our activity first. After he counted and enjoyed his snack, I brought out the Goldfish for a second round.
Obviously, this doesn’t have to include food. It’s meant to teach numbers and practice counting. Anything can be counted. I chose a snack because I knew it would help him stay focused through till the end (since there was an awesome reward when finished!). It worked well!
This is actually AFTER he finished counting and J’s onto eating!
Age? 21 months
Try Again? Yes, eventually he won’t need any help from me.