Here’s another one of those activities perfect for a preschooler. I’m almost ashamed to admit the quantity of arts and craft supplies in this house. Our entire living room has been converted to the “kids’ office” where we have amassed more toys, books, games, and just stuff than we know what to do with! Despite the plethora of art supplies sometimes it’s hard to think of something fresh and new to do with them. Here’s a counting activity we did that makes use of the ink stamps sitting around. The setup:
We used several ink pads and lots of different stamps – note the number stamps. On a large sheet of paper I drew a grid then inked a different number of stamp patterns in each square (kids can help with this too!). I drew a box in each corner where the answer will be stamped. The objective is to count how many stamps are in each square on the paper then use the number stamps to place the correct number in the smaller box. Maybe it’s easier to just show you another picture:
Hmmm I didn’t realize that was so blurry, but I think you get the idea.

You can try other variations, for example stamp (or write) a number in the small square then your child can make that many stamps in the larger square. Or give your child a blank grid and they can create their own worksheet. Don’t be afraid to try some “big” numbers too. Make it a little challenging!

We’ve been working hard on accurate counting. Ramona can recite numbers beautifully but until recently hasn’t really grasped the concept of counting objects with a 1:1 correspondence. I’m not sure when a child is supposed to learn to count objects accurately. My unscientific Internet search yielded lots of different answers that essentially boil down to “every child is different” but it seems three years old is an appropriate age to at least introduce object-counting.

I could tell by observation that Ramona was ready to master this skill and she just needed more practice. We spend a lot of time counting crayons, fruit snacks, stuffed animals, you name it. Activities like this help reinforce the object-counting, and it’s a fun crafty sort of activity that passes the time and consumes the art supplies on a chilly spring day.    

So, this was all about counting accuracy and number recognition, but clearly there are lots of other variations you could try with stamps. A few more ideas:

Use stamps to create patterns. See if your child can see the pattern and repeat it, or fill in the missing stamps in a repeating pattern. Let your child create patterns of their own.

Using a small size stamp, draw different shapes for your child to identify.

Expand upon what we did above by stamping out simple addition or multiplication problems. If you have number stamps use those to write math sentences.

To really test the object-counting skill, make the same stamp in several different colors on one page and have your child count how many there are of each color.

So help me out here, what other ways can we use stamps to practice math skills? I’ve got a drawer full of stamps and ink, what else can I do with this stuff? π 

Ramona loves to do worksheets like the big kids. I asked her to complete the following page while I helped Bart with another project.  I showed her real quick what to do, then she worked independently for several minutes and didn’t ask any questions.  Here’s what she came up with:
Hopefully the picture is clear enough that you can see the “Bug Match”. All you have to do is draw a line to match each number to the group of ladybugs containing the same number. The first one was done for her, nice job tracing the line. Then comes number 5 – can you see how she connected 5 of the 6 ladybugs in the top group together? Next was number 2, and it looks like that was easy. Then she got to the end and is looking for a group of 6 ladybugs and only 5 are left but oh! oh! Look there’s another ladybug over on the next page … for a total of 6!  Perfect!

I just love how she worked this out.  The thought process of a 3 year old is so wonderful to observe. Not only did she count accurately but she was able to solve the “problem” that arose.  A+ Mona!  π
I’m not the only one obsessed with daily lessons, particularly when it comes to math. Chao is in on this game too. He makes lots of worksheets for the kids. His are usually more difficult than mine so we endure our share of whining, but the kids (almost) always pull through and do the work. Here’s an example he made for Bart. This was special because he got to use a calculator!
All those big numbers can be overwhelming but it’s good to practice writing large numbers to solidify an understanding of place value. Also this provides him a way to relate to these big numbers since he is already comfortable with seconds, minutes, days, and years.

The cool thing about this exercise is that I caught Bart coming back to read the answers several times after he completed the work. It sat on our table for a few days and has since disappeared, but I’m pretty sure he memorized at least some of the answers. It’s such a simple thing, but will not be soon forgotten.π

I know this will come across as brag but I am compelled to share nonetheless. Remember the "extra homework" Bart created a couple weeks ago? Well just look what I found in Wanda’s backpack:
This is what she made during “free time” at school after her morning work was done. Most of the time she draws pictures or writes notes to the family, but occasionally she makes up math problems. This behavior has earned her the nickname “Math Girl” in her Kindergarten class. 

Anyway, thanks for indulging me…

On a separate topic, I want to thank my friend Jill for the reminder (via Facebook) to wish everyone a Happy Pi Day!  (And Jill if you didn’t see my response to your comment below I really think you need to provide some guest posts, wink wink…) π

While driving home from swim practice last night Bart said, “Mommy, remind me later to do some extra homework tonight.” Now, I know what some (or all) of you are thinking, so select from the choices below and tell me your answer(s) in the comments:

a)      what a little nerd
b)      teacher’s pet
c)      he just said it to get extra dessert
d)      she’s making this up

Honestly, he wasn’t kidding and I didn’t even have to remind him. I was impressed to find his work on the counter later that evening. First, addition:
Next, subtraction:
And finally, multiplication:
I love how he got some of the answers wrong, and gave himself bonus questions. I'm still not sure why he decided to do this, but I'm not complaining! 

We do a lot of worksheets in our house but this was the first time he made up his own. The more I think about what he did, the more I love it. I mean, you really have to think about the problems differently as the worksheet creator as opposed to answering problems someone else made up for you.  I like how he started off with a couple easy questions then they get progressively harder. I admit I helped him make the bonus questions because those are tricky for second grade, but he solved them himself.  This was such a great idea, I think he’ll get extra dessert tonight. π