Tag Archives: Learning

Low Prep Math: Number Order

Skills

Number Order

Counting

Vocabulary: before, after

Materials

Deck of cards

First, I laid out the cards in order and she matched each card.

Next, I had her lay out the cards in order without laying them on top. She did use the previous line of card to help her.

She told me, “Let’s make it harder!” so I laid out 3 cards, and her job was to lay out the numbers that came before and after.

She did a really good job! 

Low-Prep Learning: Letter Dotting

Last week, we picked up a Bingo Dotter from the Dollar Tree.

I didn’t know what we would do with it at the time, but Breckyn picked it out of her learning box today so I had to come up with something quickly. Luckily, I have the best ideas when I’m forced to think of something last minute or spontaneously.

The first thing that came to mind was alphabet recognition.  I am not organized enough to print out those cute worksheets seen on Pinterest, so we went with handwritten letters.

All I did was tell her a letter and she dotted it.  Super simple, but she LOVED it! Look at that smile!

I chose lowercase letters because she’s got her capital letters down.

She wanted to do it again, but this time I wrote capital letters and had her dot the letters in her name, MOM, and DAD.

I was also thinking to do shapes with her and sight words with my Kindergartner.  How have you used bingo dotters with your little learner?

“What should I be doing to get my child ready for Kindergarten?”

Teachers are a lot like doctors and nurses.

When you have a weird rash or you feel like maybe you’re dying but don’t want to go into the doctor’s office, you ask your nurse/doctor friend for advice or put out a facebook post saying “Doctor and Nurse friends…?”

When you have a question like “Should my kid know how to add yet?” or “What’s with this Common Core crap?” (Yes, I have been asked that.) or “How can I get my child to read more?” you probably ask a teacher friend.

A few months ago, my friend asked me how she should be preparing her son for Kindergarten.

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Disclaimer: Kindergarten is an entirely different world from the rest of elementary and I do NOT and will not teach it!  God bless our K teachers and a big THANK YOU for preparing them for 1st grade so well!! However, I’ve had 2 Kindergarten daughters and have taught 1st/2nd grade for 12 years along with 4 years of college experience + 6 years of summer/after school jobs working with children. (That’s 22 years if you’re keeping track.)

After she asked, she said my blog needed to be up ASAP and I needed to address this.  She totally freaked me out because who am I to tell her what her child needs to know by Kindergarten??? Then I remembered the doctor/nurse thing.

So after much thought, I will be doing two things.

  1. Providing the list of pre-Kindergarten skills my 5-year-old’s teacher gave us.
  2. Start a blog series of what I’m doing with my 4-year-old this year before she starts Kindergarten – labeled Kindergarten Prep.

Pre-Kindergarten Skills:

*Number Recognition: counting to 30 and recognizing 0-10 randomly

*Letter Recognition: Identify both upper and lower case

*Write their name: First and last with correct capitalization and clear handwriting

*Belts & Buttons: Practice these things so they can be independent at school

*Listening to stories: Sit still and listen to a story, and be able to talk about the story

Remember: You can do these things (and more) in a natural way. 

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I never planned “lessons” for my kids because I’m not that organized. Their learning has been through natural, every day ways. We counted steps or objects when we were out and about, drew shapes while coloring, talked about the colors of Play-doh, rhymed silly words, thought of words that started with certain letters, play with dice, learn letters in fun ways, and do workbooks for fun. Most importantly, we read to them every night and talk about the pictures and story.

Also rememberEvery child is so different!

My oldest daughter could read sentences before Kindergarten, and my current Kindergartener can read a few 3-letter words.  The most important thing, in my opinion, is to instill a love of learning and school. As long as my kids are happy at school and enjoying learning, I am not concerned with them being above average learners.

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And, last thing to rememberSocial Skills

What’s more important than what your child knows is how he or she treats the teacher and classmates. Teach your child social skills of showing respect, listening, taking turns, accepting “no” for an answer, being polite, and taking responsibility for things and actions.

To see how I am preparing my 4-year-old for Kindergarten, look for the tag “Kindergarten Prep”.

Low-Prep Math: Dice and Chalk

I have to be honest. Many of the learning activities my kids do are usually thought up by them. This one was totally the 4-year-old’s idea!  She found some dice in the garage and said she wanted to roll it and write her numbers.

So that’s what we did!

My Kindergartener joined right in, and it was fun to see her teaching her little sister. They are 17 months apart so they are often learning very similar things.

Number 5 was difficult, so biggest sister had to get in there to help.

Breckyn had no idea how to make a few of the numbers, so I would write the number for her to trace.

What are some ways you use chalk for learning? We draw shapes, write letters, play hopscotch, and just draw!

Dollar Tree Finds For Learning

The Dollar Tree is one of our favorite spots to find cheap items. They have so many fun things you can use for learning, too!  This was a quick trip – we mostly looked at Halloween items – so there are many more than what is shown here.

Dry Erase Board – Practicing letters, numbers, writing answers, spelling their name or family members’ names, drawing shapes.

Inflatable Globe – All of my kids enjoyed this purchase! Use for identifying countries, continents, and oceans. And for throwing at your sisters.

Bingo Markers – These are great for making patterns if you can find multiple colors.  There are also some printables I have used where you put a dot over the answer. My kids also like to use them for art projects.

Workbooks – We hit the jackpot with this visit! My kids love workbooks!

What are some items you have found at Dollar Tree to use for learning?

Why My Children Use Workbooks

Play based learning, hands on learning, learning through discovery…they’ve taken over Pinterest, leading us to believe that worksheets and workbooks are a big no-no. But I believe they have a place in learning, if used correctly. It’s not the worksheet that is the problem (at home or in the classroom), it’s how they are used.

You can search the internet for “should I use workbooks with my child” and there are a plethora of mixed views about this.  As moms, we have to be careful not to take other people’s advice as law, and just be a mom who does what she thinks is best for her kids.  That is mostly how I make decisions as a parent, and this is just one of them.

Read on to see why and how I use them with my girls.

Handwriting

I have seen some atrocious handwriting in 1st/2nd grades. Habits form at a young age and I want to help them develop good, legible handwriting.

Enjoyment

All of my girls LOVE workbooks. I did as a child, too, so I’m not surprised! They take them on road trips, use them to play school, and if they’re bored. They have even asked for workbooks as gifts and beg me if they can have old workbooks I am getting rid of at school! My Kindergartener was even a tiny bit jealous when she saw my preschooler’s ABC book on the table today.

Less Screen Time

Sure, there are a million apps my kids could use to learn, but I’d rather have them not using an iPad and instead, be using their fine motor skills to write, draw lines, make shapes, and color.

Repeat Learned Skills

We only remember what we think about and practice.

Stamina

It would be crazy to assume our children’s teachers will never have them do a worksheet. I want my child to be able to sit and complete a task. It may surprise you how many children struggle with this.

How I Use Them

My preschooler picked out a few workbooks from The Dollar Tree. She picks one a day and we do as much as she wants. It totally depends on her. Today, she wanted to do 2 letters in her handwriting workbook then said she was tired, so we quit.  The majority of her at-home learning is done through watching us, playing with, and talking to me, my husband, and her sisters. (Older siblings are the best teachers!)

My Kindergartener and 3rd grader did one page a day during the summer weekdays. It was their choice. All I wanted was for them to do something educational and use a pencil to practice. During the school year, they only do them by choice for enjoyment.

My oldest was at school with me when I was going to throw this old one away. She dug it out of the trash!

Low Prep Math Activities: Dice

I use dice a ton in my 1st/2nd grade classrooms, but they could easily be used at home for math practice!

With my preschooler, we rolled and did an action. For example, here she rolled a 2 and did 2 big jumps.

This is a great way to get your kiddo moving and learning at the same time! Here she rolled a 4 and did giant steps.

5 push-ups!

Next, we tried to find each number of objects. She rolled a 5 and was counting the flowers to check if there were 5 flowers. After counting, she figured out there were way more than 5.

Counting the bars on the deck to find the number 6.

Your older child can practice adding 2 or 3 (or more!) numbers together.

I always have the kids write an equation to match. Use dice with dots for more support.

Dice can also be used to practice subtraction.

This 2nd grader added the 2 dice together, and then subtracted the dice, knowing the biggest number comes first!

More ways to use dice

Compare – which one is bigger?

Compare using symbols < > =

What number comes before?

What number comes after?

Rolling two and saying the 2-digit number

Roll the dotted dice and write the number

Low Prep Math Activities: Domino Counting

All you need is dominoes (Mine are from Amazon!) and some paper for this easy-to-prepare activity.  The directions are just as simple: count the dots and place the domino on the paper with the matching number.

Skills:

One-to-one correspondence

Recognizing numerals

Matching sets

Number Order

 

Both girls, ages 4 and 5 1/2, were able to complete this activity quickly, so it was too easy. Next time, I will write the number sentences for them to match. 

Don’t let these sweet pictures fool you. There may have been some fighting over dice and who got to do the most. At least they’re excited about learning??