Snack Math


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Summer is winding to a close and I’m sneaking in a few final math games before the start of (!) Kindergarten. Today Travis did a quick math review  at snack time. Ideal foods for this game are small snacks your child eats a lot of: Annie’s bunny grahams, cereal pieces, pretzel sticks, etc. We played with Earth Balance vegan cheddar squares!

Write out the numbers 1 through 10 on post-its or index cards. Before eating, Travis had to place the correct number of cheddar squares on each post-it.

I had him start with 10 knowing that working up to larger numbers would be more daunting. Instead, it got easier as he went along.

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Unexpectedly, he loved the game! He tried to make each pile into vertical stacks, and thought it was hilarious when they toppled over.

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This was a great way to keep a math lesson light.

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He also thought it was hilarious to eat any broken cheddar squares he found, a quick lesson on fractions and halves even if he didn’t know it!

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And then at the end, he got to knock down all the towers and gobble them up.

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Nature “Size Hunt”

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This mini scavenger hunt will inject some math into your next nature walk. We had a  beautiful family afternoon along a local trail, and I challenged Travis to find a few things of various sizes compared to something else along the way. You can vary your list, but here are a few ideas:

First up, he needed to spot something smaller than his fingernail. I thought he might find a bug, but he surprised me with this little pebble.

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Longer than his arm? A stick!

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A rock was bigger than his hand, and an acorn was smaller than his foot.

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For the last one, he needed to spot something larger than a leaf. The leaf we found was cool all by itself, almost mitten-shaped! 

Nature Size (1)What items do you find on your “size hunt”? Please share in the comments!

Young Musician

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Toy pianos are a fantastic instrument for babies who have graduated beyond the most basic noisemakers (like maracas and bells). These first instruments (drums, maracas) give baby an immediate connection between their action and the noise that follows. Pianos are one step more sophisticated; the key makes a noise when pressed, but the mechanism (hammer and string) is unseen.

All that aside, what baby doesn’t love just banging on the keys? Certainly Veronika took right to it! I played a few notes and she came crawling over.

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Her little fingers were soon pounding along.

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For extra fun, this is a good chance to go through a children’s songbook to play simple ditties. You can introduce baby to classics you might have forgotten about, like London Bridge, The Muffin Man, Three Blind Mice and more.

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As I played, she grabbed my fingers and wrists to join in.

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Toy electric keyboards are fun for babies too. Veronika presses every button and loves the way she can vary the sounds.

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Here’s to my little musician!

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Go Get It

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There are so many games I’ve been waiting to play with Veronika with the caveat that she needed to be a crawler first. Well, now she’s a crawler and we’re playing!

Today, it was a simple game of pointing her towards her toys and saying, “Go get it!”

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First, I rolled two balls away from her. She barely needed me to say the words before she was off.

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I asked her next if she could get the purple one.

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Of course the fact that she went for it was probably pure coincidence at this age, but it’s never too early to build the vocabulary for colors.

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You can also turn it into a game for following instructions. Any toys on the “pillow fence” are irresistible to her, so she was off and crawling for them in a heartbeat.

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“Can you put them in the bucket?” I asked, aping the movement for her.

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She crawled happily over to the bucket and… ker-plunk!

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You can even make the game into a “race” with mommy or daddy, which will have your little one giggling. Who would get to the toys first?

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In sum, there are lots of variations you can play with this baby version of fetch, and your little one will love building those crawling muscles during all of them.