I have been so excited to see my son associate amounts with numbers lately.  He is starting to understand that a number is not just a bunch of shapes (one looks like a line, zero looks like a circle, etc) but he is starting to have Number Sense.

Sean Patrick’s first attempt to make “three” with his fingers

Sean Patrick is 3 and a half  and I realized we have used his age in association for almost everything we do:

•  Three minutes in time out
• Three treats as rewards
• Three bedtime stories
• Three minutes on the timer in preparation for bedtime or leaving the house
• Three crayons out at a time while he is coloring
• Three kids in our family! (Number three is three months now but I loved this pic)

• You get the picture 🙂

Because there is so much consistency and exposure to the AMOUNT three, Sean Patrick knows every combination that makes up three:

I was JUST upstairs telling him bedtime stories before his nap and after the first one I told him, he held up one finger and said “That was one, two more please.”

My husband has done a great job playing “How many fingers am I holding up?” with him because he will play it fast and fun and if Sean Patrick messes up then they count to see how many he is really holding up.  (That is a common core standard by the way- recognizing that the last the last number said when counting is the number that represents the group counted!)

So, if you haven’t tried this yet, start making a habit of associating as much as you can with your child’s age.  This year Sean Patrick will learn ALL the ins and outs of “what makes three” and even if I introduce him to “what makes four” and “what makes five” when he is ready, he will really have fluency to compose and decompose these familiar numbers!

Let me start this off by saying that this book is one of my new “favorite finds” but it can easily be MADE BY YOU so don’t break out your PayPal account email just yet.

Sean Patrick has been having fun with the book

The pages only give a PICTURE of the letters in block form (not step-by-step) so the book just provides a visual of the letter after you have built one.

But, it does come with the pieces to make /build the letters which is why this is one of my new favorite finds.  HOWEVER you can just as easily buy foam at the dollar tree… draw the pieces (straight lines and curved lines) and cut them out to help your little one explore building letters or numbers.

Sean Patrick had so much fun with his little bag of pieces.  He carried them around everywhere and he was always either on his way to “Numberland” or “Letterland.”   He gave me a great idea to only assist him in making numbers when we were in Numberland (the den) and only making letters when we were in Letterland (the playroom).  Kids need to be able to distinguish letters from numbers so this was a great way to compartmentalize the two.

We had a lot of fun with this… especially for my boy who loves hands-on learning.  We just play with it here and there…we are not structured in how long or how often we play with this, but here is a glimpse into this activity when we play with it:

I might take the bottom part off of his B and say “If swiper swiped this piece what letter would you have left?” (wait to see what Sean Patrick says)  “P” – “I see it too! Let’s find that letter in our book!  That silly old swiper – he doesn’t even know that he is helping us make new letters!  Your turn to be a swiper…. take one piece away and see what new letter we can find!”

The Letter Construction Activity Set is similar but kind of expensive and you can’t make it.  I have an Overhead projector (former teacher here) so I might just have to put it on my wishlist  :/  but I am debating that because I don’t think we could keep track of all the pieces if I am being honest with myself!

It is August 1st & a few days ago I realized that I needed a new Calendar template for my “To Do” board but also a calendar template that my little man could explore with.  So, I spent a good chunk of time developing calendar templates that I liked and that also had TRACEABLE month titles and also included the identical set in the printable with regular month titles.

OR CLICK HERE to purchase any one of these Calendar Templates individually from my TeachersPayTeachers Store.]

What can children learn from calendar exploration?

Patterns – The days of the week repeat their same order every week.

Vocabulary – Yesterday, today, tomorrow, weekend, days of the week, month, months of the year, holidays, etc.

Organization – Graphic organizers (like calendars) are so great for kids to be exposed to.  They show order and give meaning to our everyday routines.

One-to-One Correspondence – We wrote one number in each square.

Weather Recording – Check out my weather tracking post with the September template attached for free!

Ordinal Numbers – When you say the days of the week in a sentence you would say “Today is August FIRST, tomorrow is August SECOND,” etc.

What did my calendar experience look like with my 3 year old?

I put our calendars on clipboards and we sat down at the playroom table and talked about them while we doodled on our calendars.  I sang the days of the week song, the months of the year song, and then we counted how many days were in August.  We “x’d” out the days that had already passed.  We marked upcoming events with stickers.  I prepared him in advance for days that mommy or daddy had something to do so that I can remind him by pointing to the calendar and he can visually see that the event will come and go.

Sean Patrick felt so “official” with his calendar on his clipboard.  While I wrote the numbers and upcoming events on my calendar attached to the clipboard,  he “wrote” what he wanted to do on his.

He made a lot of markings and said things like “I will go to Maya’s house on Friday, and MeMe will be 70 on Tuesday.” Haha I loved his made-up events.  And his MeMe is only in her mid-50’s but one of her sisters told Sean Patrick that she was almost 70 haha.

He even asked me for another “August calendar” yesterday so that was my indicator that he actually had as much fun as I did with this activity.

I have a (semi) love-hate relationship with stickers.  My kids peel them off and stick them all over the place and I am unsure what their purpose is at times other than leaving residue on things they stick to.   Having said that, I have YOUNG children who don’t exactly keep track of small items or use things practically.

Sean Patrick got some cool toys at his birthday party this year, but I hid several of them because I wanted to use them sparingly.  When I pulled out this sticky mosaics activity last week, it turned out to be a real gem.

There were 5 different vehicles made up of different colored shapes, and he picked the helicopter.

We decided early on to make it for his uncle who works for the US Aviation so it was really special to encourage him to finish so we could give it to his Uncle Nathan.

The best part is that we have been working on this a little every day ALL week and have only finished ONE vehicle template.   I have been waiting until Mckayla falls asleep because she likes to destroy Sean Patrick’s art projects so it has been super fun one-on-one time working with him on this project.

This is what happens when the 19 month old is around the stickers.

And here are just some of the things he has been practicing with this activity:

Fine motor skills – Strengthening his control and coordination in his hands in order to peel the stickers off their backing and to stick them carefully onto the outline of the shape.
Shape and Color identification   –  Identifying the shapes and colors needed in each part of the project.
Spatial Awareness – Turning the sticker until it covers up the whole shape.
Matching – Matching the accurate color and sticker to the individual outlines.
Visual Discrimination – After selecting a sticker, trying to find that particular colored shape “hidden” in the page.
Counting Practice -Counting how many more blue triangles you need to fill a space we were working on at the time.
One-to-One Correspondence – Having manipulate one sticker to one outline at a time took lots of discipline as well.

Daddy helped with the very last part of the project to complete the tail of the helicopter.  When he finished he was so proud and he asked “Now I get to work on another one?”  Well, that was an easy one to answer.

So proud of himself for finishing 🙂

I seriously think I am going to order two more of these (one masculine and one feminine), stick them in the closet where I store my gift bags, and have a go-to present for the next birthday party we go to!

Here are the other ones they have on amazon:

I really love to hear from you…

Do you think your little one is at an age where he/she would enjoy this?

Do you know of any other sticker activities that are worth checking out?

A friend of mine is about to start mapping out plans for her new house they are going to have built.   When she was telling me about it, her five year old ran to the next room to grab his precious simple sketch of his master plan for their new house with his big ideas in mind.

I loved that he wanted to share his thoughts with me.

I loved that he had an idea of his dream house.

I loved that he wanted to be a part of the process.

I loved that I could picture a little architect in the making.

I couldn’t help but text his mom the other day and tell her that if she wanted to extend on this interest… one idea I use with my little ones in the classroom is simply:

1) To give the kiddos a basket of shapes (cut out on cardstock paper for sturdy-ness).

2.  Have them trace their shapes on a big sheet of paper or poster.

3)  Label their ideas for the items that could make up the room.

How adorable is the “roob” or “door” in the corner?

This idea can be used if you and your little one want to re-arrange the furniture in their room then they can be a part of the process for coming up with why a dresser might work best under the window, rather than by the door.

Or, this might be a great idea if you want to help them make a map of your neighborhood to display and they can label their friend’s house.

This could even be a great idea if you want to map out what equipment is in your backyard, and they can include new things that might fit, or include something to save for in the next year.

If you have another idea for this, geared to your child’s interest, then please COMMENT and share with us!