Count Pumpkins in a Truck, and Color a Pumpkin, 2 Free Activities to build those math skills.
I own and use these 2 books with these activities. (no afflilation)
I checked out many 5 little pumpkins books and this is my favorite, the hard cover is actually soft with soft edges so it’s durable. It’s not board, its puffy board some type of plastic I think-VERY EASY TO CLEAN.
Pete the cat is my go-to, I’m still completing my Pete the Cat collection.
Print out and Cut pumpkin squares.
Hand out numbers 1-5 to students.
Paste squares on truck.
Cut and Paste:
Black and White, Color sets to mix and match.
Roll and Color a Pumpkin Game.
Print out pages, 1 per student or 1 per small group.
Students roll one die and color in matching section.
If one number is left, can allow extra rolls per turn per time constraints.
Roll and Color a Pumpkin
Both activities build counting, number recognition and subitizing skills.
Our need for a big change in our house came along gradually, but this year we finally decided enough was enough with having a huge space that we weren’t really using ninety percent of the time. The space was our oldest daughter’s bedroom. She went to college at 18, and never lived at home since except on semester breaks and some summers. She’s now a PhD candidate. It’s still a big priority for us that she has her own space each time she comes home, but we also needed the space to be more usable at some point.
Add to that that our youngest daughter is in her first semester of college, studying from home (a hundred percent of the time now because of the pandemic), and occupying a small bedroom, and the time was right to give this space an overhall.
This is an easy supplemental language activity that parents can teach at home to their child. It also can be used in a classroom, it’s versatile.
I know this because I had an 8 year old student- entering 3rd grade from Feb-October 2020. I made this as a learning supplement because even with some distance learning, he missed out on a lot of skill building.
My Favorite Books about Idioms:
Check your library first, but these are available through Amazon.
You are what you Eat, Butterflies in my Stomach, Reach for the Stars by Serge Bloch
Pigsty by Mark Teague
Why the Banana Split by Rick Walton
There’s a Frog in My Throat by Pat Street and Loreen Leedy
Trump can’t see Covid-19 danger like he saw danger on his construction site.
Health workers have always worn masks, my husband wears a mask when he sprays pesticides, it’s common sense that a mask is going to stop your spit from flying everywhere and infecting those around you.
Psychotherapist Dr. Ernst discusses the perception of danger, not fact, is key to decision making. “Logically, wearing a mask is no different from not drinking and driving.” Behavioural economics demonstrates many decisions are based on emotions not facts.
Pro-maskers also choose based on emotion.
Dr. Ernst explains. “Others wear masks because they’re role models for others and feel responsible for them in their role as leader or influencer”.
Behaviour Economics shows the invisible forces that drive Trump’s, Biden’s, and each of our choices.
The vital issue isn’t about the mask. The important issue is what drives pro/con mask choices. Understanding the psychological factors driving Trump and Biden’s choice, helps us to understand these men beyond the political arena. Understanding the drive behind their choices, equips us to choose wisely with our own.
So I hired the 3rd grader to mow my lawn for 20$. He asked my husband to stop at the convenience store on the way home, where he bought 17$ worth of candy! I did came up with this curriculum and I did the same with my kids, informally, back in the day. For this unit, I used an article on Forbes.com as a guideline, referenced in the printable pack. School teaches the identification and technicalities of money, it doesn’t teach the mechanics of using money as a tool.
There’s a vocabulary list to review with your student/kid, and here is a worksheet for her to practice.
Vocabulary: Why didn’t I include bank in the vocabulary words? Because the traditional brick and mortar bank that we know, is gradually going the way of the dinosaurs. The bank with the highest Savings account return, is CitiBank, an online only bank.
Next is a spending plan questionnaire, he can write his answers:
Then, there is a worksheet to print off and subtract each category, to use whenever she receives money, before spending.
You can set up a kid account at the bank like my friend does for the 8 yo, or you can use real money jars. Or if you don’t want to use that, I made these for use as virtual money jars. There’s a few versions of the money jar pages in the pack.
I invented this game to help preschoolers with common core in Kindergarten.
Common core uses a ten frame and also these dice number blocks, so if they have the dots memorized at a glance, they won’t have to count them all the time as K students. This gives them one step ahead of the game when they enter K.
Even without common core, it’s an interactive game that helps with counting and recognition of objects without counting.
I like to use a big foam dice from the dollar tree, as it can’t break anything no matter how hard it’s thrown.
If the student has the same # he can pass. I usually have them pass if the number is colored at the beginning, but towards the end for time saving, I increase the turns. Say if there’s one number left and most of the group has only one section to color-I up the turns to 3x a piece.
I have lots of Roll and Color games, you can search for the other themes in the blog search bar.
I inherited this old wood 3 tier planter, and it took me 3 years to figure out what to do with it. I took some pieces off, and my original painting idea didn’t work.
If you decide to up-cycle an old wooden outdoor item:
-Don’t use any type of metal spray paint, if you want your object to look newer. If you want your object to look really really old and worn, then use the metal colors. My first try was VERY bad, it didn’t look metallic AT ALL.
-Use this, it goes on evenly and you don’t have to use primer first.
So I have this special “picture window” . It’s the one I look out of all the time, where my work station is, and the main table is. Okay, it’s the dining room but I use this spot for everything. Not only the outdoor focal point, but the indoor focal point when we walk into the house.
I made a type of blind hanging from an egg carton and butterfly cutouts. I cut up and painted the egg carton cups, then strung the butterfly cut outs and cups together. It was time consuming, but I considered it mindfulness. I don’t know why mainstream sources don’t think of repetitive craft activities as triggering mindfulness. It’s definitely a “zone”.
Honestly I always have had a cheerful whimsy style when decorating. It’s not even Boho, it’s all my own and I think would drive some folks crazy. But you know, these ideas will look lovely in subdued colors also.
REDUCE. REUSE. RECYCLE. Don’t forget recycling is the LAST step to waste reduction, NOT the first.
I’ve been building skill levels with an 22 mo old and she shows eagerness and interest to recognize and write her letters.
My teaching style is to wait for worksheets and specific letter tracing, writing, until 3 yo. However, this is the 2nd pair of siblings, and I believe as a result of seeing their older sibling write- the younger sibling is driven to learn this skill.
We started with letter recognition activities, and this activity helped her master the skill of recognizing A, the first letter in her name.
We will continue the next step to “find her name”. In addition to this , I have started her practicing line drawing, and Letter A tracing. Another indicator that she is ready for Letter A tracing, is: 1) she holds a pencil correctly 2) she has good hand strength 3) she can open and close small containers easily.
So this week I am introducing her to tracing circles. She is not interested in manipulating objects at this point, she’s not interested as interested in crafts as she is scribbling, scribbling, scribbling. I need to lead her down the road to write her letters before she learns the wrong way.
At the end of this post is a direct download for instructions for teaching the alphabet as outlined in this post.
**Note: If you or children don’t want to paint rocks, just write on the rocks with sharpie markers.
There are many cities who have rock hiding Facebook groups in the U. S. There is a group here, we put our painted rocks in random places for strangers to find.
I have been hiding rocks for kids, because we are still in Phase 2, and kids have been robbed of their childhood this summer. Especially heartbreaking because our winters are harsh and there is no rock hunting in winter.
These are for folks like me who don’t have a lot of patience, or use rocks as a “canvas” for fancy painting.
Ladybug Rock Supplies: Acrylic Paint, Small brushes, Spray Gloss or Mod Podge
My playful alphabet set where kids get to match the slice to the juice glass. They can even put the slice in the juice and pretend- slurp slurp slurp.
This practices my teaching method for alphabet letter recognition.
(PRIMARY Guideline: Focus on lowercase letters primarily using books and environmental print. We see lowercase letters more frequently then uppercase letters.)
Print the Direct Download from link at end of post.
Cut up the lower case letter slice cards.
Make a pile of the Juice pages and a 2nd pile of slices.
Instruction for teaching alphabet letters:
Beginner Skill Level:
Layout Uppercase Pages that spell child’s name.
Give child the pile of slices that only include child’s name.
Skill Level Name Match:
Write child’s name on a blank slice.
Set up as shown below.
Give child a pile of letters that comprise their name.
Child spells out their name, placing slices next to the A on the page- in order.
Name Skill Mastery:
Once child knows how to spell his name, and knows the name of the letters that comprise the name:
Practice until child recognizes both upper and lower case of the letters of her name.
With this skill mastered, increase the letters added to the name letter pile.
This supports critical thinking skills, vs memorization.
This method supports self confidence.
*do not worry about letter sounds during this activity*
NAME SKILL MASTERED :
Continue adding to the lower case slice pile a few letters at a time for each practice session, until child quickly pulls out her name letters automatically.
Ask what child if he would like to spell Mom or Dad, next.
Continue with the same steps, the next name he spells.
This provides “buy-in”, we enjoy learning more when we get to choose what we are learning.
Use this same method as child practices matching letters to other words and names. Encourage ONE syllable names.
Once child understands how to play the game because she’s played it several times, incorporate letter sounds. Say the sounds and the child can repeat after you, but don’t focus on the sounds if it detracts from the child learning what each letter looks like.
Two Downloads: Alphabet Juice Upper and Lower Case set, the 2nd download link is the above instructions as a printout.
I am equipping readers with valid sources to make an educated decision regarding the mask controversy.
As an Oregonian, I am now mandated to wear a face mask.
I was a “better safe then sorry” mask-wearer, pre-mandate.
However, I’m still on the fence about mandated mask wearing.
Mask vs non-mask is a divider in our small rural community.
Non-Maskers- Get angry at the government.
Maskers- Respect other’s Non-Mask choice.
5 basic questions and answers highlights:
Masks contribute to “source control”.
Less Covid-19 tiny spit escapes if both wear masks= spreads 5 ft.
If 1 person is masked= spit spreads +30ft and stays in air up to 30 hrs.
Proper Mask ventilation= blow out a candle with mask on from 1 ft.
Charge it=”… Rubbing mask w/latex gloves for 30 sec. prior to use, can increase efficacy by 30%
Mask science Article Highlights:
“Masks may be more effective as a “source control” because they can prevent larger expelled droplets from evaporating into smaller droplets that can travel farther.”
Read the studies where mask recommendation standards originated from.
2 case reports that show mask wearing stopped virus spread due to masks.
CDC changed it’s mask recommendations due to: 1) shortage of surgical masks. 2) U.S. wasn’t culturally prepared. 3) Better understanding of Covid-19.
Chin- Hong, “Nobody’s taking a cholesterol medicine because they’re going to prevent a heart attack 100 percent of the time, but you’re reducing your risk substantially.”
Masks don’t work highlights:
Lots of medical reports provided for evidence of mask non-effectiveness.
1 is recent-published in 2020.
No Covid-19 tests.
Studies show masks ineffective regarding other airborne viruses.
Mixed Answers Highlight:
May Chu, a clinical professor in epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health on the Anschutz Medical Campus –
“The recommendations that everyone wear masks are because “any kind of impediment is better than nothing,” Chu said. But fabric masks are not expected to be as protective as surgical masks, she said. That’s why public health officials are warning people to remain at least 6 feet apart from one another, even if they are wearing masks.”
Use your critical thinking skills. Know why you are making your choice.
Feedback and comments always welcome for discussion.
Display a ladybug print mural that bursts with color.
Low prep, common supplies, kids of any age get busy with creating.
You say Process art? I say Art. All art is a process.
Everyone is creative, each of us only needs to find the medium that we can express our creative language with.
A 20 month old and 7 year old created this mural.
All studies show that toddlers/preschoolers need play with mental stimulation, to help the brain develop. School Age Kids need lots of opportunity for free creative expression with different art mediums.
I introduced ladybugs to the toddler by reading toddler ladybug books a week before we did this mural, and I showed her real photos of ladybugs a few times.
(Recommended Ladybug Books direct download at end of post)
What you need:
Potato Halves (at least 1 per paint color)
Each color paint poured onto a paper plate
What skills does this art project build?
Toddler and Preschool:
Practice with Steps (delayed gratification)
3D Subject Learning
Freedom to create
Creative Style Development
Methodology (practicing step by step)
Each child takes a potato half.
Dip the potato half in the paint and stamp onto paper.
Ask younger children what shape the potato makes.
Allow the children to stamp their potatoes like crazy.
Once the stamps are dry, each child gets a dabber.
Children use the dabber to stamp the spots onto the ladybug.
Ask younger children what shape the dabber makes.
Allow the children to stamp the dots like crazy.
Extension: The 7 year old asked Google for 5 facts about ladybugs, then recorded them. I verbally quizzed him for review sporadically to help him retain the info.
I’m extremely passionate about this project. It allows the teacher to provide the framework to allow long term learning skills that stick.
I have been working with the 20 month old to recognize bees, butterflies and ladybugs. For her, butterflies are the easiest to recognize. This bundle goes after the ladybug set, in sequence.
Once the child is familiar with both insects, interchange ladybug/butterfly, in the song.
Don’t forget to show real photos of the insects. We have seen butterflies and one bee so far in real life on our walks. I still use real photos on my phone intermittently, especially for ladybugs and bees.
Finding differences helps with finding differences with letters and numbers.
Visual discrimination and counting.
Fine Motor and Visual Discrimination.
Extend activity by counting butterflies found.
This is a show and tell post, so find the download below and happy butterfly hunting!
Supplies: Beans, Bin, Blocks and Pitcher of Water.
This activity is appropriate with multiple age siblings, or a single child.
Build a building that can withstand water erosion.
I provided different sized bins and different blocks. He dumped both the blocks and bin from his first attempt.
Substitute what you have. Oatmeal or any kind of filler for the bin, even dirt dug up from outside! If the blocks are scarce and scattered, find some sticks or anything that can be used for building.
Ready? Don’t Do this!
My mistake was allowing too much CHILD LED, in which he did the water himself so fast I did not even know what he was doing until he did it!
Why is it a failed experiment? Because water rarely if ever dumps from the sky in one big stream! Even when it does, that’s PRESSURE DAMAGE – NOT EROSION.
Fix: Re-explain what erosion is after the building is complete. Talk about how the water actually moves, not only the exciting “there’s a lot of it like flooding and there’s damage”. Talk about how to replicate with your own water. TO THE SIDE, and NOT A flood.
Then, take the pitcher and help the child pour the water slowly to erode the “sediment”.
We will conduct another erosion experiment, with different sediment-perhaps sand or gravel rocks. I hope we will be able to understand erosion more fully by demonstrating it properly.
It’s no big deal. I have done the same experiment repeatedly because it is common that children are so interested in the EFFECT its hard to slow down and learn along the way.
Take Away = We learned about pressure and flooding.
We played this as a break between School-now Home -School Lessons.
I have a very energetic student so he loved this game! Anything moving+learning= permanent skill. We played this during inclement weather which was a great help for getting our wiggles out!
If your students knows the alphabet + sounds, she can memorize vowels. Explain the general idea- that vowels are why we say paper instead of ppr. (ha ha yes its funny to try to say words without vowels) Believe me, he will get the concept.
PREP: Print the cards out with the Gray-scale setting
Color the vowel letters the same color. Do not color the other letters with that color. Cut cards apart.
Here’s how we played:
Place cards face down.
1st player draws card.
If card is a consonant, player does the exercise on card.
If card is a vowel card, player calls , “VOWEL!” and passes the card to another player who must execute the exercise.
If it is a Vowel, but player doesn’t recognize it, player must do exercise and, choose another card and do THAT exercise.
The game ends when all the cards have been used.
Believe me if you play this way it’s SUPER fun, and for this 53 yo, the hardest one was trying to do the inch worm with, well-boobs.
When your toddler is showing interest in closing and opening containers. Building Developmental Skills.
Exploring Bin & introducing Shapes
I introduce teaching shapes with the heart- because hearts are so common they are easily recognizable.
The sensory bin is red and pink only. This is because I wanted her to focus on the physical shape of the heart, and the feeling of the beans. I actually take her finger and trace it around the heart.
Using a monochromatic color scheme is a great way to introduce teaching colors. This way the child notices one color, even if we are not naming the color.
We played with this bin all of February, but it doesn’t need to line up with Valentine’s Day month. It is for play, when the child is ready to be introduced to shapes.
The sensory bin that followed this was to teach YELLOW.
I wanted to use cornmeal but I was out so I used oatmeal with yellow objects that I found. A yellow block, a yellow plastic bear, yellow poms, yellow paper pieces.
For the YELLOW learning bin, oatmeal with poured into a loaf pan with 3 YELLOW objects. The next day I added a different object. Once there were 5 objects with the oatmeal, i found 5 different objects and interchanged 1:1.
I decreased the number of cups and introduced utensils. Different types of spoons for example, and interchanged these also.
I began teaching Aspen as a nanny this past January when she was 16 months old. I have observed her respond and learn and look forward to her sensory bins. Her mom keeps them and uses them as well. Don’t underestimate the power of a sensory bin for learning and practical use as an easy activity to keep a toddler occupied for a few minutes.
This activity helps my preschoolers realize the context behind letters. It’s easier to comprehend context, because there are pictures representing letters.
no prep= printable+glue+ribbon
They are enthusiastic about seeing their names another way.
I have a personal passion for all artistic expressions,Art Deco being one of my fav’s. Art Deco, and other art forms are influenced by Egyptian expression.
In the American school System, we frequently introduce older cultures in junior high and high school. This doesn’t make sense to me.
If preschoolers can understand dinosaurs, they can understand people lived a long time ago. I use a map/globe, to show them where we are-and Egypt. Preschoolers have no problem with the general knowledge of this.
Preschool is the perfect age to introduce older cultures, they are still curious and interested in everything. Their brains are still growing like a weed! By junior high, we are competing with the instant gratification of technology/gaming.
The instructions and the book titles we read for this are in the download.
WARNING: use supervision while students are making/wearing necklace. *choking * tie it loosely & make sure it goes OVER the head.
I came up with this unit out of a desire to show that language is symbols, just as our alphabet is symbols for sounds-so is hieroglyphics. My goal was to demonstrate the “concept” of the alphabet, as well as incorporate lots of art/engineering and diversity.
Kids love mummies! THAT was the interest “hook”!
We did these over the course of a month, one or two activities a week. I introduced the unit with a scooby doo mummy caper library dvd.
We also built pyramids with Jenga blocks, egg carton cups,sugar cubes (i don’t recommend because they kept eating haha) and a 3d paper pyramid from a template.
Pyramid building and later days these cups became a favorite as they expanded into castle building.
There is a link to an easy pharoah headdress to print and color which the boys enjoyed making and other activities we did not do. There are lots of choices to personalize for students. There is also a complete alphabet pack of hieroglyphic cards included.