game · teaching thoughts

In the Car

I often get asked for suggestions on how to work on letter recognition, colors, counting etc… Driving in the car is a great time to work on these skills. Play games and make it fun!

Choose a specific topic to work on and stick with it.

Search for letters. Go through the alphabet A-Z or focus on one or two letters. Work together or make it a contest. Who can find the letters on signs, license plates, car names etc…

Play I-Spy. Take turns giving clues based on an item in view of the car. I-spy something that starts with the sound /c/ or I-spy something blue.

Count cars based on type. How many red cars can we find? How many trucks? How many out of state cars?

Keep books in your car. Books on CD play a book on youtube that you have the book of so your child can follow along in their own book.

There are many ways to engage in learning in the car. You and your child will be interacting and learning.

game · math · STEAM

Snack Math

Who doesn’t like learning with food? Snack time is a great learning opportunity. Provide larger bowls of snack and have your child(ren) count out the number they will eat (counting and number sense). Draw a grid on the napkin your child will use and have them put one item in each section (one-to-one correspondence). Have your child line up the snack items in a line and then say “Eat the third strawberry” or “eat the cracker next to the piece of cheese” (following directions, cardinal numbers, prepositional words).

Here’s the key…. they don’t realize you are teaching them something. They don’t see it as learning, they see it as snack time, but a fun version. Why is it fun? It is interactive. They have your attention. There is a challenge. How many Cheerios can you stack before they fall over? (enigeering)

This weekend is Valentine’s day. So if you have some heart shaped snacks, have some Valentine snack fun. I used heart shaped Cheerios to practice addition fact of 5. Draw a heart on a piece of paper and provide your child with cheerios. Put the math facts into the heart and then again on the line. I would have them leave the 5 for the line to use each time and then let them eat the ones in the heart. You need to let them eat of they will loose interest!

You could have your child write out the facts on a sheet of paper. You are creating a fact family, all the number facts that add up to a specific number. 0+5, 1+4, 2+3, 3+2, 4+1, 5+0. You also want to have your child learn to see that 5=1+4 is the same as 1+4=5. When they begin to understand how to put these facts together, challenge them. If you have 2 and you want to have 5, how many more do you need? 2+_=5. You need to have 5, you already have 4 how many more do you need? 5=4+_.(missing addend)

This can all be worked on during the time your child is eating snack. You do not need to have a long drawn out lesson. Five to ten minutes of playing with numbers every day is a HUGE benefit going forward in math learning. We want children to see all learning is fun and sometimes tasty.

game · math · STEAM · story · teaching thoughts

Math and Penguins

Today we will listen to the story Penguins Love Colors by Sarah Aspinall. In this story 6 penguins, named after 6 different color plants, work together to paint a colorful picture for their mom.

Today, let’s do some math! I am going to show you a few different adaptations of this activity. Your child will need, 2 dice, a sheet of paper, a pencil, counters (goldfish crackers would work perfect and go with the penguin theme).

On the sheet of paper draw out two ten frames on the top half of the sheet and on the bottom, create three columns.

Now have your child roll the dice. They will use the counters to show the total in the ten frame at the top. If your child struggles to see how to do this, using two different color dice AND counters that match the dice colors often helps to see this process. Remember that they are NOT putting the amount of one dice in the top ten frame and the amount of the second in the bottom. The goal is to see the addition of the two numbers together. In my picture I rolled a 5 and a 6. So I have the top ten frame filled in completely and the bottom only has 1.

Next your child will record the number sentence into the columns at the bottom. Was the total less than 6, exactly 6 or more than 6? You do not need to work on saying 4 plus 1 equals 5. You could have your child state 4 and 1 more makes 5. This way of stating the fact actually matches math thinking more and will help with the understanding of addition.

Ok… so my kid just doesn’t get it… now what? First, you might need to do the steps of this activity with them a few (like 3 or 4) times before they even begin to see the steps. You can break this down and do just the top, or just the bottom. OR, you can start with on die and do the whole thing but change the bottom to less than 3, exactly 3 and more than 3.

Now… let me tell you this is a LOTTTT of math thinking. Your child needs to recognize the number on the dice. They need to transfer this information into filling in the ten frame… oh and do it with two different numbers. Now they need to count and determine the new number made. Ok… THEN they need to figure out if this new number is less than, greater than or the same as the number 6. Oh and don’t forget you then need to record the result. Just a few steps. Just a bit of math thinking and learning.

This is a simple activity that can be adapted easily and played often. The more you play games such as this, the more your child will understand the concept of putting numbers together AND comparing numbers. You can also use dominoes, playing cards or number cards you make on index cards or sheets of paper.

game · math · topic

Pumpkin Bump Game

This week we will be looking at pumpkins! Who doesn’t like to learn about pumpkins? Here is a fun pumpkin story to listen to: Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White. What would you do if you had too many pumpkins? Well listen to what Rebecca Estelle does with all the pumpkins she finds!

Today you are getting two stories… How Many Seeds in Pumpkin by Margaret McNamara. The children in Mr. Tiffin’s class learn about estimating, sizes, counting and more by counting the seeds in three different sized pumpkins.

Time for some pumpkin math! I encourage you to do some math/investigations with real pumpkins at home.

  • How much does your pumpkin weight? How much does it weigh after you take out the seeds and the pulp? After you carved it?
  • How many lines are on your pumpkin?
  • How tall is it?
  • What is the circumference of your pumpkin?
  • How many seeds are inside?
  • Will it sink or float? Does it sink or float after you took out the seeds and pulp?

Now lets play a game!

Bump is a fun dice game to play with kids. I will teach you how to play and then share how to easily alter the game to work on different skills.

I will show you the simplest version first. Create a gameboard, I drew pumpkins (sad looking pumpkins I admit!) for mine. On the gameboard write the numbers 1-6 since we will only use one die for this version. Each player needs 10 counters, transparent counters work best, but aren’t necessary.

Directions:

  • roll the die
  • put your marker on that number
  • next player rolls and they put their piece on that number
  • if you roll a number that the other player is covering, you can bump them off that space
  • if you roll a number that you are already covering you can double cover and lock the space.
  • First person to use all 10 counters wins!

Easy and Fun!

Variations on the game:

use two dice and add them together

use one die and have the children add one (I would write _____ +1= on the board and have the children put the die in the blank space to remember to add one

double roll one die but cover it’s double (roll 2 but cover 4, roll 3 but cover 6)

use three dice

older kids you can use the dice to multiply or practice place value… so many options!!

game

Beginning Sounds Game Boards

Children love playing games! My newest uploads into my Teachers Pay Teachers Store are four game boards to help your child practice and review recognize beginning sounds. Each game includes a game board and a set of pictures.

Players will choose picture cards. Look at the card, name the picture on the card. The first sound of that picture tells you where to move on the board. Move around the board and see who gets to the end first!

Beginning sound board game Dd, Jj, Pp, Ss— help the duck get to the pond ($1.50)

Beginning sound board game Ff, Hh, Mm, Qq, Vv— help the mouse get to the cheese($1.50)

Beginning sound board game Cc, Gg, Nn, Tt, Ww— help the race car get to the checkered flags($1.50)

Beginning sound board game Bb, Kk, Ll, Rr— help the butterfly get to the flower($1.50)

Whole set— this includes an extra board game (Aa, Ee, Ii, Oo, Uu, Qq, Yy, Zz) helping the octopus get to the seaweed and a blank board to help the cat get to the yarn ($5.00)

Parents… you too can order from Teachers Pay Teachers! All you need to do is create an account. It is a great place to locate items to help your child will all types of learning. They serve pre-K-12th grades.

game · phonemic awareness

Syllables Counting Game

Syllable counting board game

Recognizing and breaking down words into syllables is one of the important phonemic awareness skills that children need to develop in the process of learning to read.

Syllables are the “beats” you hear in words. We typically teach this to students by having them clap as they hear the syllables. For example the word head only has one syllable and the word alligator has 4 al-li-ga-tor.

Today I posted in my Teachers Pay Teachers store a board game to practice this skill. In the kit, you will find: a game board, picture cards and the rules. The children pick a picture card. They say the word that corresponds with the picture, then determine how many syllables in the word. The child then moves forward that many spaces on the board.

This can be used at home as easily as in a classroom setting!

game · letter of the day · math · STEAM · story · teaching thoughts

Letter of the day- Tt

Tt is a great letter! Tigers, turtles, turkey, typing…. so much more. But today we are going to learn…

Tt song by Jack Hartmann

Printing Tt

Capital T– start at the top, straight line downnn, back to the top (but, on the left of the line), draw a line across the top past the center line

lowercase t– start at the top, straight line downnnn, up to the middle (but, on the left of the line), draw a line across the middle past the center line

Today’s activities: Transportation!

Before you even start, talk about the word transportation. Ask questions:

What form of transportation would you use to travel to Disney World? School?, Grocery Store?, Alaska?, the mailbox? … When asking these questions, ask why. When children answer questions they will often give you a one word answer, but we need to push for the reasoning…. why would you choose that? Why did you not choose ______? Why would you not use an airplane to go to the mailbox? Why would you not use a cruise ship to go to the grocery store? Encourage your child to think beyond the one word response!

graph of vehicles you see on a walk

Modes of transportation— this video shows various modes of transportation that are used on land, sea and sky.

Create a graph of different types of transportation. Have your child pick 4-6 types of transportation you might see in your own neighborhood. Take a walk and collect the data of how many of each type of vehicle you observe on your walk.

When you return discuss the graph. Which vehicle did you see the most? Why do you think that was the result? Which did you see the least? What else can you tell me about the graph? How many more cars were there than trucks? How many more planes would you need to see to match the number of bikes?

build your own vehicle

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen– Jack describes all the things he would include if he

built his own car.

Encourage your child to create his/her own car (or other vehicle). They can use whatever they want… Lego, loose parts, draw it on paper, whatever. Encourage them to be creative… think outside the box. Then say “Tell me about your car”. If they can’t figure out how to start ask “What does this do?”

driving lazy eights

Crossing the midline is a skill that is normally developed by 4. Your body has two invisible midlines… down the center of your body and across the torso. Children need to be able comfortably cross the midline to correctly write letters, draw shapes and so much more. Your child needs to be able to fluidly move their limbs across the midline (move your left hand over to the right side of the body in one fluid movement).

There are many skills and activities that practice this skill. But, today I’m going to share one… lazy eights (infinity signs). Having your child draw these in the air or with materials is a great way to practice. But, you can also have your child drive the lazy eight. They need to do it in fluid motions with only one hand at a time. (children who cannot cross the midline will try to swap hands in the middle) The bigger (within a child’s arm reach) the 8 the easier it is for them to drive. This is a great sidewalk chalk activity… create a lazy 8 on the sidewalk and have your child drive their vehicles on the eight.

art · game · letter of the day · letter work · math · story

Letter of the Day– Dd

D is for Dots! I chose this topic for two reasons. One I had a few good stories to share that will get you and your child talking AND being creative. Two, this leads itself to math in so many ways. If you follow my blog on a regular basis you know the importance of dots and math skills. Children who develop a strong understanding of subitizing, the ability to perceive at a glance the number of items in a group, are able to utilize this skill in learning addition, subtraction and later math skills. The most common configurations are found on dice and dominoes… dots!

Jack Hartmann’s Dd song

Jack Hartmann’s subitize songs Subitizing up to 5 and Subitizing up to 10— these are more of an interactive game than a song as he shows sets and has the children yell out the answer, then the correct number is shown.

Printing Dd

Capital D– start at the top and go straight downnnn, jump back up to the top and curve right and down the bottom. (often times children make the curve too flat or curve in before they get to the bottom)

lowercase d– make a “c”, go upppppp and then straight back downnnn on the same line (this helps make that little tail that we think of when you see a lowercase d)

Today’s activities: Dots!

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Dot by Patricia Intriago (I like this version too. They made the book active, which is cool, other than there are no words to see.

“The Dot” is about Vashti who believes that she can’t not draw. Her art teacher shows her differently by framing her “dot” just one dot. This inspires Vashti to show that she can do better than that, she can make better dots. Encourage your little artist to create his/her own dot pictures. These can be done in any medium (chalk, crayon, rocks, markers, watercolors, whatever). Then challenge him/her to try a different way. Each way should look and feel different, but they will all represent a dot or dots. Each time have your child explain their dot picture and then help him/her label it.

“Dot” takes the concept of a dot and changes it to show opposites. So, lets play a game with opposites. Say or show your child one part of the opposite and see if he/she can determine the other. I say hot, you say cold. I go in, you go out. Learning about opposites is the first step in learning to compare and contrast. What makes things the same and different… in the case of opposites, different.

Teach your child to play dominoes. While children love to set up and knock down domino trains, which is a great fine motor, motor planning and engineering activity, learning to play the actual game of dominoes is a great number sense activity.

Number matching– provide your child with sets of dominoes that add up to a few numbers. I drew out sets of 5 and 6, but you can choose to do more. Have your child count all of the dots and determine where to sort the domino. You can continue and test out additional sets or introduce addition in the sense of 1 and 4 more makes 5, 2 and 4 more makes 6. (if you do not have dominoes, you can make them out of paper for this activity)

game · phonemic awareness

Phonemic Awareness Thursday- I spy

To continue with our get out into the backyard theme this week, I will show you a few ways to play with words while you are outside. When we play with words, it helps children develop their phonemic awareness skills. These activities are totally oral, so you do not need anything but the ability to speak and hear.

Play I-spy (pick one of these skills to work on at a time. If you mix them up, you will confuse your child. When his/her phonemic skills are strong (ready to read) then you can mix them up a bit more)

I spy something that begins with the sound /g/- grass, green, groundhog (beginning sound practice)

I spy something that ends with the sound /d/- bird, seed (ending sound practice)

I spy something that rhymes with tie- fly, sky (rhyming words)

I spy a /c/ /a/ /t/ (blending phonemes)

I spy a /c/ /at/ (blending onset and rime)

game · letter work · word work

Word Work Wednesday- backyard

Today I thought we would work on beginning sounds a bit. Here are a few ways to do this in the backyard.

Letter cards/magnetic letters

Give your child 5-7 consonants. Find items in the backyard that begin with that sound. For example:

b- bird, d-dandelion, g- grass, h-hammock, s- sunshine, t- table, w-wheelbarrow

Show your child how to make an acrostic poem about the backyard

  • Bunny
  • Apple core
  • Cardinal
  • Kites
  • Yellow flower
  • Ants
  • Rainbow
  • Dandelion

Children enjoy making acrostic poems using their name as the first letters

  • Leaf
  • Onion grass
  • Robin
  • Inchworm

Have fun playing with beginning sounds. This is a great skill to work on in the car. What letter does sign start with? Can you find something that starts with /t/? How many items can we count that start that same as car /c/?