Learn Shapes with a Santa Collage

Learn Shapes with a Santa Collage

Shape recognition is a basic math skill that will greatly benefit your child as she moves into the kindergarten classroom. Disguise a lesson focused on these important shapes as a special holiday art project, and she won’t even realize she’s learning! This shape collage featuring St. Nick himself is a simple (yet educational) art activity that will encourage your young child to identify shapes, explore the part to whole relationship, and experiment with an artistic process!

What You Need:

  • Construction paper in holiday colors (red, green, etc.)
  • Pencil or crayon
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Cotton balls

What You Do:

  1. Create shape templates for your child. Include a circle for Santa’s head, a square for his body, a triangle for his hat, and thin rectangles for his arms and legs. Before beginning this art activity, help your child identify each shape by name.
  2. Ask your child to trace your shapes onto her own paper using a pencil or crayon.
  3. Help your child cut the shapes out using children’s scissors.
  4. Invite her to arrange the shapes onto a separate sheet of paper in the form of Santa’s body. Explain that this part of the project is similar to putting together a puzzle; she will need to mix and match the different shapes together to create his body!
  5. When she has the body parts arranged correctly, she can gently lift up each shape and glue it to the paper.
  6. Invite your child to use markers to create eyes, a nose, a mouth, and buttons for Santa’s suit. Have her glue cotton balls onto Santa’s face for the beard and on top of his hat.

After completing this activity, encourage your child to continue building her shape recognition skills! Introduce more shapes such as ovals and octagons, and challenge her to create new and different collages with them.

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Christmas Skip Counting Book

Christmas Skip Counting Book

In kindergarten, kids learn how to count by twos. In teacher-lingo, this is called “skip counting.” Give your child some practice with even numbers, while creating a cute Christmas keepsake. Plus, get some holiday cards in the bargain!

What You Need:

  • card stock
  • at least 5 different holiday stamps
  • ink pads in holiday colors
  • markers
  • crayons
  • stapler

What You Do:

  1. Staple five card stock pages into a booklet.
  2. Ask your child to select a stamp, press it onto the inkpad, and stamp the selected image twice in the center of the first page. Under your child’s stamps, write words to describe what you see, for example, “Two snowmen.” Then ask your child to use a marker or crayon to write the numeral 2 at the top of the page.
  3. Repeat this process with the next stamp, only this time, have your child stamp two objects, then two more beneath it. Ask your child how many items he sees, then write the words beneath the pictures, for example, “Four candy canes.” Your child should write the corresponding numeral, 4, at the top of the page.
  4. Continue in this manner, with six objects on the next page, eight on the following, and ten on the last page. Let your child decorate the booklet as he’d like and when it’s complete, read it together. Pause on each page and ask your child to predict which number will come next.

Still feeling crafty? Use the stamps and card stock to create holiday cards. For each card, give your child an even number and challenge him to count it out as fast as he can, using skip counting. Voila! A cute treat to send to relatives, and a nice way to add some creativity to this important math skill!

 

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Spooky Flash Cards

Spooky Flash Cards

Start the school year off right by making these cute counting cards featuring a Halloween theme. Your preschooler may be beginning to learn basic skills such as number recognition, counting, and simple operations. Encourage her to get creative and design her own set of ghoulish ghost counting cards that will help her learn her numbers.

What You Need:

  • Card stock paper in any color other than white
  • White tempera paint
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Paint palette or washable art tray

What You Do:

  1. Cut the card stock into equal-sized rectangles. This is a great opportunity to talk to your child about geometry concepts such as shape as well as fractions.
  2. Write a number (start with one to ten) on one side of each card with a marker. If your child can write the numbers herself, allow her to. If not, try writing the number lightly in pencil and having your child trace over it with the marker.
  3. Pour a small amount of white tempera paint onto the palette or tray.
  4. Have your child dip her finger into the paint. Firmly press her finger on to one side of the card stock to make a ‘ghost’ print.
  5. Repeat for each card. The number of ‘fingerprint ghosts’ should correspond to the number on the card.
  6. Set aside to dry.

After the counting cards have dried, it’s time to play! Start by counting the number of ghost fingerprints, and then turn the card over to reveal the number written on the back. After your child gets a firm handle on counting, place the cards next to each other and ask her to add the number of ghosts by counting the total number.

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Make a Mr. Shape Scarecrow

Make a Mr. Shape Scarecrow

Nothing says “Fall” like a spectacularly spooky scarecrow! And if you pay attention, you can see them everywhere this time of year. You can point them out to your child at the grocery store or in neighbor’s yards. This Halloween, you and your child make one of your own using some old clothes and a little creativity. Your child will practice his shape recognition along the way and he’ll get to see his scarecrow come to life. Not to mention he’ll be doing some serious recycling while he’s at it!

What You Need:

  • Paper plate
  • Markers
  • Popsicle stick
  • Glue
  • Yellow yarn or construction paper for hair
  • Fabric scraps or construction paper
  • Tape
  • Old long-sleeved shirt, pair of pants, and gloves
  • Straw hat
  • Lots of plastic bags for stuffingmake-a-mr.-shape-scarecrow-
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper or newspaper (optional)
  • Safety pins

What You Do:

  1. Help your child stuff the clothes with the plastic bags. The most effective way to do this is to scrunch the plastic bags into balls and then stuff them into the clothes. Do this until you have filled out the clothes completely so that they’ve got some body to them.
  2. Add gloves to the ends of the sleeves. You can stuff the gloves with tissue paper if you like, or just leave them empty. You can attach them to the ends of the sleeves with safety pins.
  3. While you’re making your scarecrow, talk to your child about the different shapes he sees within the scarecrow. Does he see any triangles? Are there any circles? Or squares?
  4. Using markers, have your child draw a face on the paper plate. He can make it as scary or as friendly as he likes! Glue or tape a popsicle stick to the bottom of the back of the plate to hold the “head” up.
  5. Help your child cut different sized strips of yellow construction paper for hair or use yellow yarn. Glue onto the plate.
  6. Place the popsicle stick head into the neck of the shirt. You might need to reinforce it with some more scrunched-up plastic bags. Add a straw hat on top. You can stuff the hat with some newspaper as well if you like.
  7. Ask your child to name some shapes. Help him draw them on paper or fabric. Have your child cut them out. These will be the patches for the scarecrow’s clothing.
  8. Tape the patches all over your scarecrow’s clothes.

Sit your scarecrow outside in a visible place for all to enjoy! This makes for a great Halloween decoration to ward off those crows and any other unwanted guests!

Make Your Own Ruler

Make Your Own Ruler

Who says that all school supplies need to be store-bought? Teach your child about recycling and reusing with this simple math-based activity.

The preschool and kindergarten years are a time when your child will start (and continue) to discover beginning mathematical concepts such as counting and measuring. The Make Your Own Ruler activity encourages young learners to explore these concepts within the framework of a drawing based art activity. Canvas your house for reusable supplies, and get ready to measure the fun that your child will have creating his own ruler!

What You Need:

  • 1 piece of sturdy paper or cardboard (reused)
  • Scissors
  • Crayons or colored pencils in dark colors
  • School glue

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  • Paint brush
  • Tape measure or other measuring device

What You Do:

  1. Search your home for a suitable piece of sturdy paper or cardboard to reuse. Boxes work very well. Examples include cereal boxes, packing boxes, cracker boxes, or shoe boxes. Make sure that the box is large enough to cut it to at least twelve inches in length. Additionally, look for materials that are sturdy but not too thick to cut by hand.
  2. Have your child help you to measure twelve inches across the cardboard. Make a mark with a pencil or crayon at this measurement.
  3. Cut the twelve inch length from the box into a ruler shape that is approximately two to three inches wide.
  4. Show your child a ruler or tape measure for reference. Ask him to line up the numbers with the cardboard cut out.
  5. Have your child draw lines for each inch mark with a thin crayon or colored pencil. These may be done in multiple colors. Make sure that the colors are dark enough to see.
  6. Ask your child to draw the numbers one through twelve at the correct lines (Optional: If you use the metric system use centimeters instead).
  7. If desired, seal the ruler by having your child paint a thin coating of school glue across the cardboard, covering the entire surface. Other glue base sealing products are available from craft stores. If you would like to choose such as product only use those clearly marked as non-toxic, non-flammable, water based, ACMI certified, and safe for young children to use. If you are unsure about the product that you have, do not use it and skip this step completely.
  8. Allow for drying time.
  9. Watch your child count and measure!

Add extra flair to this activity with paint and glitter on the opposite side. Have your child paint the non-numbered cardboard first, and then lightly sprinkle glitter over top!

Tip Toes

Tip Toes

What do the number “5” and a footprint have in common? Christmas! Your child will create an adorable Christmas tree from his footprint and practice counting repeatedly up to the number “5” while decorating his tree with objects of different textures. The resulting work of art is festive, fun and a great way to master counting up to 5.

What You Need:

  • White paper
  • Green tempera paint
  • Large paintbrush
  • Construction paper
  • Markers
  • Glue stick
  • Metallic paper
  • Mini poms (5 of the same color)
  • Buttons (5 of the same color)
  • Sequins (5 of the same color)
  • Beads (5 of the same color)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. Ask your child to point to each toe on one of his feet and count his toes out loud from one to five.
  2. Help him to paint the bottom of his foot and press it in the center of the paper to leave a footprint. Turn the paper so the toes are pointing down.
  3. Have him cut out five small squares from construction paper to create gifts to go under his tree. Count each square aloud with him until he has five of them cut out and glue them under the toes. For the final embellishment to the presents, encourage him to draw five bows, one on each of the gift boxes using the markers.
  4. Encourage him to pick one type of textured object he’s gathered and place the pieces wherever he likes to create a beautiful Christmas scene. Count out loud with him as he glues them in place. Repeat this with each textured object until all of them are glued in place.
  5. Ask him to draw and cut out a five-pointed star from the metallic paper.
  6. Glue the star on the top of the tree.

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Christmas Tree Counting

Christmas Tree Counting

As you begin conjuring up your home’s holiday decorations, remember that you have your very own live-in artist! Here’s a hands-on math activity that will also result in a charming Christmas decoration! These Christmas tree mats and the accompanying Play-Doh math game are a great activity to improve your child’s basic counting skills, while embellishing your home for the holidays.

What You Need:

  • Green and yellow construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Glue stick
  • Play dough
  • String (or thin wire)

What You Do:

  1. Ask your child to draw a Christmas tree on the green construction paper.
  2. Cut this tree and use the original tree as a stencil to cut nine more trees.
  3. Help your child draw a small star on the yellow construction paper.
  4. Cut out ten stars and write numbers 1 through 10 on each star.
  5. Encourage your child to glue a yellow star to the top of each tree. This tree will be your child’s Play-Doh counting mat.
  6. Have your child read the numbers on each tree. Show her how to make a small ball using Play-Doh. Ask her to make the amount of balls that is written on each star and press them on (they should naturally stick). If you want them to permanently stick, you can glue the Play-Doh balls on.
  7. After she has finished pressing on the balls, ask her to count them out loud while touching each ball. Listen carefully and make any necessary corrections.
  8. To hang the trees for decoration, you’ll need to make a small hole punch in the top of each tree. Then cut a string or thin wire and weave it through each tree so that they hang in a long row.

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Santa Beard

Santa Beard

Your child can count down the days until Christmas while giving Santa’s beard a trim. This adorable project encourages both counting and number recognition

What You Need:

  • Construction paper (white, pink and red)
  • Markers
  • Glue stick
  • Red and white mini-poms
  • Scissors

What You Do:

  1. Ask your child to cut out a long, white beard for Santa from one sheet of construction paper. It should look like an oblong oval. Kind of like a beaver’s tail!
  2. Encourage her to cut out his face from a sheet of pink construction paper. This will be a short oval which will be placed sideways.
  3. Glue the beard over Santa’s face.
  4. Draw two eyes for Santa.
  5. Cut out his hat from the red construction paper and glue it in place.
  6. Add on his nose and the pom at the tip of his hat.
  7. Ask your child to section out Santa’s beard using lines going horizontal across the beard. Each segment represents one number. She’ll want to draw enough lines to create room for 25 segments.
  8. Starting at the base of the beard, count backwards with your child from 25 to 1.
  9. Encourage her to write the numbers in the segments in that same order. The bottom segment at the bottom of the beard will be “25”, the segment closest to Santa’s chin will be “1”.
  10. Each day ask your child to cut off one segment of Santa’s beard to count down the days until Christmas.

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Countdown to Christmas

Countdown to Christmas

Get ready to practice counting with your little one with this fun-filled pine forest wonderland! Taking the essence of the basic shape of pine trees, your little one will practice making cones…25 of them to be exact! Along with cone shapes, she’ll also be cutting out circles, one circle to number each tree. Once her pine forest is finished, you can count down the days until Christmas together! Practice counting how many days have passed since the start of December, and how many are left until Santa arrives.

What You Need:

  • Green construction paper
  • Black marker
  • Mini stapler
  • Tape
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. Help your child create her first tree by cutting a sheet of construction paper in half, then rolling one half until she has created a cone shape. Cut off the excess paper and staple it in place. Tape over the staples if necessary.
  2. Repeat this step to create 25 cone-shaped trees. Try to vary the sizes to create a visually fun “forest illusion,” which can be enjoyed on any flat surface.
  3. Ask your child to fold a sheet of paper in half as many times as she can.
  4. Trace the base of the glue stick, or anything that is a small circle, on the top sheet of the folded paper.
  5. Cut out the circle from the paper while it’s folded.
  6. Ask her to count how many circles she just made. Have her repeat this process until she has 25 circles total.
  7. Encourage her to number the circles from 1 to 25 using the marker.
  8. Glue one circle on the front of each tree and arrange the trees in ascending numerical order.
  9. Ask her to point to each tree while counting its number out loud.

Variation: To practice subtraction, ask her each day to figure out how many days are left until Santa arrives.

Note: These trees are great for honing sorting skills and mastering number order. They’re also great for visually demonstrating beginning math operations.

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Make a Pumpkin Math Book

Make a Pumpkin Math Book

This Halloween math activity book is a whole lot of fun. Kids will experiment with weight, measurement, buoyancy, scientific illustrations, texture, predictions and counting. This Pumpkin Math Book is designed to reinforce important elementary school math skills in interactive and interesting ways.

What You Need:

  • String
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Large glass bowl filled with water
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Scale
  • Small hand-held pumpkin your child can carry

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What You

Do:

  1. Print both pages of the Pumpkin Math Book and carefully cut along the dotted lines. Arrange and staple the eight-page Pumpkin Math Book.
  2. Color the cover.
  3. Weigh your pumpkin and record. Be sure to label (pounds, kilograms, etc.)
  4. Measure the circumference of your pumpkin with string and tape it into the book.
  5. Circle the words that describe the texture of your pumpkin. Add your own describing words.
  6. Make a prediction about whether your pumpkin will float or not. Test your pumpkin in the bowl with water. Record the result.
  7. Complete the pumpkin pattern.
  8. Count the stripes on your pumpkin. Make sure to pay attention to where you started.
  9. Sketch your pumpkin. Add a silly or scary face!
  10. Share your Pumpkin Math Book with a sibling, parent or friend.

This range of math activities will help your child with critical thinking, logical reasoning, observation, and light a spark of excitement about Halloween!

 

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