I impulse bought a tub of paper hole punchers in seven different shapes. They looked like fun and were on sale, and I knew I’d figure out something to do with them, some day. That was about a month ago, and today I finally worked them into a preschool-level counting activity.

First take some paper or cardstock and cut it (or not) into pieces. I made some rectangular strips out of scraps of leftover cardstock. Write a number on each card with a marker. Don’t make the numbers too big, and don’t make the papers too small, because your child is going to punch that many holes in each card. Here was our set-up:
Next, ask your preschooler to pick up a card and a hole-punch, read the number out loud then make that same number of holes in the card.  Simple!

Ramona was so excited to do this. I showed her how the hole-punch works and she was eager to dive in. Hmmm, I had to squeeze that hold punch pretty darn hard to make it work, so I passed her a different one. Then about 30 seconds later she was nearly in tears trying to make a star with that dumb cheapo hole-punch that it turns out is terribly designed for adult use and virtually impossible for a 3-year-old! We tried all the shapes but they were equally challenging to use. No wonder they were on clearance! 

Luckily I work well under pressure so Plan B sprung to mind quickly. I ran to the office and located this lovely tool which really saved the day:
This is my $14.99 punch which makes that beautiful crown-like design on paper corners. I believe it is part of the Martha Stewart collection sold at Michaels. This tool cost 2X what I paid for the bin of crappy hole-punchers, and has been worth every penny! We’ve used it for lots of projects already. Anyway, this tool is not exactly easy to use, but it allows a little person to put some weight behind their punching and the pretty design is far more satisfying than a little star or diamond. With this tool in hand, Ramona went right to town:
She punched away, and counted away, and after about a half hour every card was punched (except for card 5 which had been destroyed by the faulty hole-puncher, and card 10 because she got tired and stopped at 8) and we admired the pretty designs:
Ramona really enjoyed this activity, and I’ll tell you how I know. Later in the evening, I found the stack of punched cards on top of the dresser in her bedroom, which is where she puts things that she wants to save and (especially) doesn’t want anyone else to touch. There’s not too much on top of her dresser, just some very important things like the lip gloss and mirror she got for her 3rd birthday, a pretty necklace, and now her special counting punch cards. π

Eva S.
03/11/2011 12:33

Before trashing the hole punches I'd try them with thinner paper... that might be just the trick.

Love your activities!

03/11/2011 18:44


You could also use the cards for simple addition problems.


03/13/2011 18:27

Hi Eva, yeah you're right, now I have to think of another activity so we can use them again...

Jill I know you have lots of ideas I haven't thought of - want to write some guest posts??? :)

10/09/2013 15:27

I love this blog layout, where can I download it?


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