Monday, August 29, 2011

Coin Caterpillars

I read about coin caterpillars at one of my  favorite blogs Deceptively Educational. I liked the idea of having my son make his own coin caterpillars. So I drew the face and had him pick out a few coins to line up and trace. He then wrote the value of each coin on a line directly under the circle. He wrote on the final line the value of all coins, but covered it with a small sticky note. Then he quizzed me, to see if I got the same answer.  I'd say that he is doing amazingly well with counting mixed coins!
If your child is just learning to count money, I would make caterpillars with coins of just one type (i.e. all pennies or all dimes). When first introducing mixed coins I would leave out quarters at first.
Check out the post at Deceptively Educational to see how she made cute caterpillars with pipe cleaners. Her suggestion of using a hundreds chart would be helpful if your child is just starting with counting coins.

Also check out Miss Kindergarten for more info and a free printable at:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Letter Mini-books

I was searching the internet for printable books that review letter sounds. I found these super cute "My Itsy Bitsy Letter" books that I think will be a lot of fun to use. The mini book requires only one sheet of paper and is folded not stapled. The mini book teaches the child how to print the manuscript letter and features 5 pictures using the featured letter. 

TIP: Click on the tutorial that shows the step by step directions on how to cut and fold!

Egg Carton Math

Sorry this photo is side-ways!
We've just got back from a great beach vacation and we're stuck inside on a rainy day. I bribed my son to take a nap with the promise of playing a new game when he wakes up. So I went online to find a game to practice single digit addition. In my google reader I found a great activity that was just posted.

I loved that it would take no time to prep and that we had everything we needed on hand. I labeled the egg carton as suggested and found our big foam dice to make it even more fun. For counters I decided to use pom poms since they fit in the spaces and our unifex cubes only have 10 per color.

To play: Each players takes a turn by rolling two dice. They find the total by adding the two dice together. Then they put one of their counters (pom pom) into the space of that number. The next player goes and puts their color counter in the space for the number they roll. The goal is to be the first person to have a counter in each space. Since you can't roll a one, the first space has a star. If you roll a number and the space is already filled with your counter then you put one in the 'star' space. After that, if you roll a number more than once you lose your turn.

Click on the link for the full instructions and a free printable version of the directions.

And so my sweet two year old has a similar game to play, I put together a tray for her. I added a strawberry huller, tweezers, and a spoon for her to practice her fine motor skills. The dice is just for fun. She is just learning one:one correspondence so I will talk to her about putting just one pom pom into each space.

This should keep them busy for a bit! And it will be a good activity to keep on the shelf for another rainy day! Thanks "Down Under Teacher" for this activity!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Beach Vacation Activities

Who packs for a week long beach trip and puts together a bag of learning activities? Me, of course!
I gave myself two hours tonight to pull together as many beachy themed ideas that would be easy to pack for our trip. Once we return, I'll likely keep all these goodies packed up together to be used again next year. (Or borrowed by my local friends!)

{General supplies you'll need: scissors, pencils, dry erase markers, paper, tape, and glue.}

Beach Themed Concentration Cards - I printed these from this link. My son loves to cut and make his own games so just the prep work will keep him busy! Then he can play the game with his cousins who are joining us on the trip.

Beach Themed Pattern Sheet - This is very simple but thought it would be good for review of patterns. Find it at this link.

Ocean Themed Math pages can be found here. My son has always loved doing worksheets. Now that we use a Crayola dry erase activity center I can print the sheets and save them for future use! Plus using the dry erase markers is just least to a 5 year old!

Shark Teeth Addition - we've been using this great math mat since HeidiSongs posted it last winter. (Check this link and scroll down to #5!) Instead of using pattern blocks I am packing some real shark teeth to use. We will use a dice to see how many shark teeth to put on the bottom of the shark mouth. A second dice roll will tell how many shark teeth go on top. Then he will write the math sentence with the answer on the bottom of the page. (i.e. 3 + 4 = 7)
Heidi also posted a worksheet to extend this activity. I also like her idea about having the child draw their own addition sentence. {If you don't follow her blog you are missing out!}

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins --- also need: tape measure, masking tape
This book has many different animals in it, but the activity I am going to do focuses on the great white shark. The book explains that it's teeth are 4 inches and it's body is 21 feet.
* Using masking tape create a line in the yard that measures 21 feet. Then take turns lying down on the tape to see how many of each person's body fits into the shark. (i.e. It would take almost 4 mommies to be as long as a great white shark.)
* I'll also pack some linking cubes and have my son find things that are 4 inches long in the house.

Tangrams - a new favorite activity at our house. I searched online for "free tangram printables" and found lots of choices. My favorites are at  I find printing the puzzles on one side and the solutions on the reverse works the best for us. As a surprise I also bought my son the book, Three Pigs, One Wold, and Seven Magic Shapes.

Beach Story Mats - We have been doing a lot of addition this summer but I want to start working on subtraction. I printed a couple of beach themed math mats from this link. Then using little plastic crabs, octopus, and starfish we will make up some stories about the animals and write the subtraction sentences.
Of course the mat I printed is a sandy shore and my literal & compassionate son will be concerned that the octopus would die out of the water! Guess the story could be about the octopus swimming back to the ocean.

Shell Collection: How is it that I own no books about shells? That is outrageous...I will need to research bookstores at the Cape!
At least I do have a small collection of shells. I will take that and a few magnifying glasses for some shell investigations.

Beach Sensory Box - my sweet two year old is still putting everything in her mouth so I will have to think of some fun non-choking hazards for her to explore. I'll have to put some thought into this and post my final product later!
I like the ideas at 

Sink the Boat - Each person will make their own boat out of aluminum foil. Then we will float them in the bath tub. We'll test out how many coins you can your boat to hold before it sinks.

Nature Hunt - if I had more time I would make a beach theme scavenger hunt sheet but I found a great free printable one here! (Go over and spend lots of time at - she has great ideas!)

Color Word Roll - another project I've printed from Deceptively Educational is the Crayola Color Word Roll that uses a box of 24 crayons. Read all about it here. It's not beach themed but I think my son will love this activity!

Salt Water experiments - I'm running out of time and now I'm thinking of all the great science learning that could happen at the beach. I know my son would love to do some salt experiments. Hmmm....don't I have a book about that. Yes! Science- Just Add Salt by Sandra Markle  (Guess I'll be reading up on that too!)

And all good vacations need lots of books to read during down times, nap times, and in between times. Here's what I found on our shelves that seemed like fun reads for the beach...I'm sure I'll stash even more in my bags as I pack though.

Read Aloud books:
If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian
It Could Still Be a Rock by Allan Fowler
The Best Vacation Ever by S. Murphy (collecting data)
One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab by April Sayre (counting feet book)
Five Little Sharks Swimming in the Sea by S. Metzger
Somewhere in the Ocean by J. Ward
The Shark Who Was Afraid of Everything by B. James
Commotion in the Ocean by G. Andreae
Ten Little Fish by Audrey Wood
Shark Trouble by S. Lloyd
Fish Eyes by Lois Ehlert
Fly High, Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold (about a road trip & getting lost)

So that's the end of a very long post. I spent two and 1/2 hours on planning this but I know that it's time well invested! Forgive my typos, Blogger's spell check isn't working tonight. And I've already exceeded my self-impossed my 2 hour time limit and I'm ready for bed! :)