Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Nerf Gun Fun!

We've had an extremely cold winter this year! When the freezing rain keeps us inside or we just want to have some fun, this activity is sure to please.

I came across this sort of idea on Pinterest and swooped in to give it a twist.

Supplies: Nerf guns, plastic cups, permanent marker.

Substitutions: Bean bags, small plush stuffed animals, paper balled up, aluminum foil balls for throwing. If you don't have plastic cups, you could tape flash cards to the wall to hit or write the on a dry erase board, if yours is large enough.

Steps: What skill does your child need to review? Here are some suggestions:

  • Letter review
  • Capital or lower case matching
  • Number identification
  • Counting
  • Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, etc
  • Colors
  • Shapes
Write what your child is reviewing on a few cups. 

Toddlers and PreK: Call out an items ("Find the letter Bb," "Which letter says /b/?" ). Because aim can be really off at the younger ages (and because they always need the exercise) have them run to touch the correct cup first before attempting to shoot or throw at the correct cup. That way you can be sure they knew the answer. 

 I didn't do that the first time.

Older kids can use flashcards, clues, or anything your creative mind can come up with! Put items to count on a card, have them count it, call out the answer (or check the back of the index card for the correct answer), and then shoot! Show them a capital letter and have them match it to the correct matching lower case. The list goes on and on....


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tallying and Counting, Gummy Bear Style!

Follow Bear Week in January, I decided to take it up a notch with my kids. There are so many things you can do with Gummy Bears! If you don't have them or don't want to use them, use any fun thing  you can find. Crayons, marshmallows, grapes, or raisins are just a few ideas. Or you can always mix it up!

Let's start with the younger ages. Here's a few things you can do:
* Counting! See this post to deal with a common counting mistake.

* Sort by color, shape, size, or attribute (small and big, wrinkly and smooth, etc).

*Call out a color and have him/her find the correct color. 
* Call out a number and have him/her count out the correct number or items to give to you. 

Tallying for older kids:

Supplies: pretzel sticks (or short straws work), and some kind of item to count/sort. M&Ms work, skittles, grapes (though you may have to chase them! They tend to roll around a bit). We chose gummy bears.

Prep: Gather materials. Separate your kids far enough apart so they have room to work. 
Steps: Put the pile of pretzels in the middle of the table. When you give them a scoop of their item they will be able to grab the amount they need.
Next, give each child a scoop of Gummy Bears. Use your own discretion as to how many they need. If you are teaching tallying, show your child how one item means one tally mark, three items means three, and five looks like this:  1111.  This is a time for learning and practicing, so be patient! 
Have them count the scoop of Gummy Bears and use the pretzel sticks to tally how many they have counted.
For younger children, it may be best to keep it from 1 to 5. Older children can practice with larger stacks. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fixing Common Counting Mistakes

If you have every watched a younger child (or maybe even a young elementary school aged child) count, you may notice he/she having difficulty with double counting. Watch my son counting here:

If you notice, he counts nine bears. However, that is not how many I gave him. 
The solution is simple. As long as they know how to count, this should help tremendously. 
Have your child move each item as they count. Then they will know when to stop (when they've run out of items to count). You may have to practice  with a young child and remind him/her for a while while they remember this new way of counting.