Archive for the ‘ Preschool (Age 4) ’ Category

Science Activity for Kids With Indian Corn Decorations

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I have a fun activity for your with your Indian corn.  We did this ‘science’ activity with Indian corn a couple of years ago.

Soak your Indian corn cobs in a bit of water to see what will happen.  We had a large tray with a paper towel and about 1/4 inch of water. We also pour water over the cob every 2 or 3 days.

By day 2 we saw a few sprouts. 

And after a week, there was quite a bit of growth.  Our acorns, on the other hand, have grown nothing but mold.  We also have some popcorn seeds in the water, but there’s been no change there either.  DD decided she wanted to add her Indian corn cob as well and they declared that it’s a race to see whose corn will grow fastest. Sigh… anyone else’s kids compete about most everything?!

After a couple of weeks, our Indian corn had grown quite tall in big pots at the end of our dining room table!

So here’s the corn after about 1 week of being watered.
After a while we decided to plant the corn in some empty flower pots.

The corn grew steadily. It grew to be about 12-15 inches high!

If you’re looking for more science activities, be sure to check out this post: (We have moved to homeschoolden.comPreschool at Home: Science for 2-5 Year Olds (and Up!)

If you liked this post, I’d love to hear from you over at our Homeschool Den Facebook page!

Corny Cookies
Corny Cookies
Corny Cookies

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Fun Math Activities for Ages 2 1/2 to 3 1/2

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Over the next few days, I’m going to focus on our math activities. I thought that before I share what my older kids are doing these days, I’d share some of the activities they did when they were younger.  This post highlights a few things I did with my kids for math in the 2 1/2-3 1/2 age range.

Here are some activities I did with ED when she was 2 1/2.  She was just learning to count up to 4 objects at the time. You could do this with any theme — flowers, ladybugs, trucks or whatever your tot is interested in:

One-to-one correspondence, counting out objects:

We used Montessori beads for counting:

And we made up all kinds of little games with numbers:

We used little wooden numbers and put them over our oversized dice: 

I used numbers and various fun manipulatives we got at craft stores or the dollar store: 

For this activity I made lots of black strips with numbers and crayon-drawn snowflakes.  ED really enjoyed using the snowflake stamp to punch out the snowflakes from the strip.  I told her she could also glue snowflakes onto the strip, but she wasn’t interested.

For the last activity I glued very small homemade snowflakes onto Popsicle sticks.  I covered a cereal box with aluminium foil and contact paper and stuck on numbers (again from our mailbox set).  Then I used a knife to put slits next to the number.  ED LOVED this activity! She did it over and over.  After a while I held up 4 (and 2 and 3, etc) snowflake sticks and asked her how many there were. She was correct each time!

We were VERY active with math when my son was young. We did a lot of jumping on numbers (and letters!), racing to find 3 trucks and things like that!

Simple counting with any object on hand:

Number recognition with Fly Swatter Math!

I called out a number, she swatted the number as fast as she could!

Clothes Pin Counting Cards like these Dinosaur Egg Counting Cards from Making Learning Fun. The child puts a clothes pin on the correct answer.

Numbers and stickers:

Math Links:

Counting (you could do this with number recognition):

This counting Pete the Cat button counting activity was so cute, it’s also worth a mention!

ED loved this button activity and did it independently several times while I worked with the others. It was made by Heidi and she offers it free over at Heidisongs Resources:

You’ll find lots of other very cute Pete the Cat resources at this post about our Pete the Cat unit and More Pete the Cat Resources.

Grid Games:

I’ve used lots of the math grids made by Karen over at We took turns rolling a die and covering a square with that number of tokens. These games are great for learning about one-to-one correspondence.

Here’s a link to the squirrel grid game you see below or here’s another link to a cute puppy grid game. She has a good selection of themes and printable to choose from. Be sure to check out her website.

 Be sure to visit yesterday’s post to download a free Apple-themed grid game:


Here are some counting kitty pages I made for ED a year or so ago:

ED has been asking for her own independent work while the older kids are working on their studies. This is an activity she has no problem completing on her own… if not a bit on the easy side. She practices writing the number as well as filling in the bar graph.

I drew the kitty myself using a computer drawing pad Hubby got me for my birthday.:)

Click here to download the Counting Kitties Activity Sheets (there’s a total of 9 pages):


Teen Numbers:

Here is an activity I made for ED when she was ready to tackle the teen numbers.

When ED is counting, she often skips some of the numbers after 13. I am using a homemade version of the Montessori seguin board (download the packet I made here).  It’s a board with lots of 10s in a row. The child then places a digit over the zero to make 11, 12, 13, etc.

1) First ED counted the number of animals on the cards I made.
2) Then she pulled out the same number of beads-one golden bead bar (10) + single beads.  I made a big deal about the group of 10 beads being called her special ‘golden beads.’ She promptly fell in love with them!
3) Next she chose the proper digit and placed it in the ones column to make it “one ten and one” (for 11), “one ten and two” (for 12) and so forth.

If you’re interested in the printout packet I made of the seguin materials you can download them here.

You can also buy a proper wooden seguin board (such as this (from Alison’s Montessori) or  this teens and tens board from Kid Advance), but I never used them enough with my older two to warrant the price.


Other resources:

I got a great question about how to learn more about Montessori method of introducing the teens and tens to your 3-6 year old.

There is a series of videos at ehow that shows a teacher using the seguin board and Montessori beads.  Teen Board-Montessori video  In the sidebar you’ll find related articles and links.

Another fabulous resource is the online Montessori album (teacher’s manual for ages 3-6) at There you’ll find a whole series of lessons on how to introduce the  teens and tens to your preschooler.

Other related posts you might be interested in:

If your child is older, they may be ready to learn to read. Visit this post, Teach Your Child to Read at our new location,  for fun ideas that help your child learn to read!

Related Posts:

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Apple Grid Game: Free Math Printable for Ages 2-4

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

It’s apple season! The perfect time to do apple-themed activities with the kids. When my kids were little, we played Math Grid Games all the time.  I made an Apple-Themed Grid Board to share with you today. Here’s a picture of the game board:

How to Use Math Grids with your Preschooler:

  • Print 2 Grid Boards per player
  • Gather two different sets of tokens and one die.
  • For Younger Kids: Take turns rolling the die and covering that number of apples with your tokens.  This helps kids develop one-to-one correspondence.
  • For Older Kids: You can print out the grid boards with 48 apples. Then use two dice, add them together and cover that number of spaces.
  • Three-in-a-Row Game: Using two sets of tokens, each player takes a turn placing a token down. The object is to get three (or five, if you are using the larger board) tokens in a row. The first player to get three (or five) in a row wins the round.
Click here (or on the pictures) to download your free Apple Grid Game Boards.  
This file has both the 20-apple grid above and the 48-apple grid pictured below:

Apple Tissue Craft: If you’re on the apple theme, here’s a quick craft DD did when she was a toddler when we were doing an Apple Unit. It’s nothing fancy. All you need is a toilet paper tube, green construction paper and bits of red tissue paper that your child wads up, sticks in glue and attaches to the paper.  Easy & fun!

As you may have noticed from the pictures above, I saved the lids from glass jars to use for glue or small amounts of paint. It makes clean up easy as I just throw the lid in the rubbish bin when we’re done.

Other related posts you might be interested in:

 See soon here or at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page.

Surprising Tip on Learning Math
Surprising Tip on Learning Math
Surprising Tip on Learning Math

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Math Curriculums & Going Beyond the Book

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

UPDATE: We have moved to You’ll find our printables and the other posts in this series at our new location.

In this series, I thought I’d try to offer new homeschoolers a starting point for finding homeschool curriculums that works for your family. Today I’ll be talking about math.

It’s sometimes tricky to find the curriculum that works well for you and your kids. It’s helpful to ask around (online and in your community) to see what will work for your child.  If you can go to a homeschool curriculum fair, you can thumb through and look at the options.  Sometimes I just have to make a decision and then switch if the need arises, but that can wind up being costly if you switch too often.

What Homeschool Math Curriculums Are Available?

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but these are the curriculums I’ve heard about from conversations (both online and off) about what works.

  • Singapore Math
  • Math Mammoth
  • Horizons Math
  • Right Start Math – This curriculum uses many elements of Montessori Math.  I highly recommend their Math Card Games book.
  • Math U See
  • Miquon Math
  • Saxon Math
  • Abeka Math
  • Spectrum Math Workbooks
  • Mathematical Reasoning (Critical Thinking Co.)
  • Life of Fred Maths
  • Art of Problem Solving: Beast Academy
  • Teaching Textbooks
  • Shiller Math
  • Numicon
  • Maths Enhancement Programme (MEP) from the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics (Free and includes lesson plans and answers are online)
  • Arithmetic Village

What has our family used? 

Right Start Math: Each of the kids started with Right Start Math. I loved all of the hands on manipulatives and tools… everything from tally sticks, to place value cards, an abacus and more. Many of the activities in the post showing some of ED’s preschool math activities shows the kinds of activities suggested by Right Start. They have wonderful book of Math Card Games that I still pull out regularly for my older two as they move into fractions and more.

We also did a lot of Montessori math activities based on things I read about online. We don’t have a curriculum for that, but I pulled in a lot of activities working with Montessori beads, using Montessori style math pages that I got at a Montessori store years ago (which another official “Montessori” teacher said are not truly Montessori… but they worked really well for my kids)… Plus lots of place value activities, paper beads and more.  Click on this post to see some of those Montessori style math activities or this post Montessori Math Activities and more.

 As my kids became older, I felt they need more of the “traditional” math practice.  We used Spectrum math books. My older two have gone through books Grade 2-Grade 6.  We use it by skipping all around the book… one row from one page and one row from another.

Saxon Math — At one point we tried Saxon math when we got them from a friend really inexpensively.  For a while DD when DD was 6 used Saxon Grade 2, but it moved too slowly for her and she got a bit bored with the format after two or three months. That said, now that ED is 6 we’ll probably use some of those worksheets at the start of this semester for a while before moving back to Spectrum.

Singapore Math — My two closest homeschooling friends have had their children use this program. They found it wonderful.  We tried it out for a little while, but we didn’t stick with it. My son didn’t like it… and while I think DD would have been fine with it, I fell back to using our own materials and Spectrum. It’s definitely a great program!

Mammoth Math — We downloaded some of the units. I’ve read that many families love this program.  I was impressed with how topics such as division were covered. We used bits and pieces in our homeschool and again this seems like it would offer a wonderful foundation.

Math Reasoning by Critical Thinking Co — This year we’re adding in Levels B, F and G for my three kids as a supplement to the other math work they’re doing. It’s colorful and approaches math in a refreshing way. Each of the kids have only down the first 5 or 6 pages, but I like it so far.

Math Resources that our family owns and uses regularly:

  • Games for Math by Peggy Kaye
  • Family Math by Jean Kerr Stenmark
  • Math Card Games by Right Start
  • Math Circle Diaries
  • Primary Grade Challenge Math
  • Challenge Math for Elementary and Middle School Students

Online Math Options:

  • Khan Academy: Thousands of free learning videos in math and other subjects
  • Smart Tutor
  • Dream Box
  • Aleks
  • IXL

Prealgebra: This is by no means, comprehensive, but these are some of the options I’ve come across.

  •  The Art of Problem Solving: Prealgebra
  • Pearson: Prealgebra
  • Pre-Algebra (Kelley Wingate Publications) – This is a workbook style book. It review fractions, decimals, ratios, percents. I’ve had my son review two or three problems from several different pages to keep his basic 5th, 6th grade math skill fresh as we tackle new topics.
  • Life of Fred
  • PreAlgebra/Algebra Worksheets at AGMath
  • Free Algebra Worksheets
  • Art of Problem Solving PreAlgebra videos
  • Khan Academy PreAlgebra
  • Quick Math Computation Practice Pages

Algebra and Beyond: I’m sorry to say, I don’t have much insight to offer at this point. My kids aren’t there yet, so I haven’t done much research. I know one person recommended the Prentice Hall Algebra I textbook and the free materials at AGMath: Algebra. That’s in the back of my mind for later!

Going Beyond the Math Book:

Math can be so fun!  What can you do to make math come alive?  Go into detail about measuring cups when you bake and cook.  Incorporate math in the grocery store. For example, estimate the total or figure out the sale price if an item is 10% off. Play games outdoors that test math facts.  Play board games and card games.

Here are some of the math activities we’ve enjoyed in our homeschool:

4 Active Math Games


Math Monster Tag: For practicing math facts

Making Math Fun and Active:

Fast Track Math Board Game

Ultimate Math Board Game: A printable version of the board game above.

Make a Math Lapbook: PreK, K — Free Printable at this post.

Take it To the Dump: Have the kids make ten and find matching cards such as 5+5, 4+6. Or as they get older “make 12″ or “make 15.”

Interactive Place Value Activities (Links to free printables at this post.)

Make an Interactive Clock

Math Chains: Just a different way to practice skip counting or coins

Measurement Man Learning about gallons, quarts, pints and cups

A List of Free Online Multiplication Games

 Multiplication Math Cups

Play Fraction Dominoes

The kids really like when I make math worksheets especially for them. This post has already become long enough, though, that I’m going to share that list with you tomorrow! So stay tuned for more math fun tomorrow!

If you are a homeschooling family and want to leave some feedback or a review and feedback about one of these math curriculums (or any other that you use!!), you can leave a comment on the Homeschool Den Facebook page. I know I get my best information and ideas from others!!

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PreK Craft: Spaghetti Yarn Art

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

This is a cute, quick craft you can do with your 2-5 year old. This was a really good project even for ED, who was age 2 at the time.  She could pretty much do it on her own as long as I reminded her of the steps along the way.

For this activity we needed cooked spaghetti (we used fettuccine), bits of yarn or string, and glue. We had one bowl of plain glue, and a bowl of glue + red food coloring another with glue/yellow and another with glue/green.

This activity worked best when I had them use a fork. My kids didn’t dip it in well enough to get a lot of glue. They really needed to stir it around a bit (and they were reluctant to put their hands in the glue to push the string or spaghetti down in). They then dumped the glue covered spaghetti or yarn onto a plastic plate, criss-crossing the pieces.

Let it all dry overnight (or longer depending on your climate). It will dry hard and firm and you’ll be able to pop it off the plate. Put a piece of yarn through one of the loops and you can hang it up.

So that’s it: 

Put the spaghetti (or yarn) in the glue
Stir, stir, stir
Dump it on your (plastic) plate
Let it dry for 2-4 days.
Enjoy lots of other toddler and preschool posts by clicking on the Categories button and scrolling down to the Toddler and Preschool Activities. Or download our Huge List of Things to Do with Your Preschooler for lots more ideas!!
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