As parents, we often get so worried about making sure our children are “at grade level.” Would you believe me if I told you that most preschool math skills can be taught using cookies, crackers, or cereal? Did you know you can ditch the worksheets and sneak in plenty of math practice, while allowing your child to play with their food? Trust me on this one and read on to become mom of the year. 😉
Note: Whenever I do this type of activity with children, I always do a couple of things. First, I make everyone wash their hands and lay down the ground rules before even showing them any food. Second, I play it up and get them really excited about the activity. (If you want more details on what to say or how to do that, click here.)
We used these Teddy Graham crackers to go along with our Brown Bear Theme,
but you can substitute any crackers, cookies, or cereal. If you want to get into more complex sorting or patterning, having more options are better (ex. cookies that come in chocolate and vanilla, or a cereal with five different colors)
Here are some math skills to practice:
1) One to One Correspondence – “Line your bears up and count them.” Encourage them to point to one bear for each number they say. If this is too difficult for them, count together…you model pointing to the head while your child points to the foot.
2) Sorting – “Now sort the bears into two groups.” If this is too difficult, give them an example to start with. “Can you put all the bears with their arms up in the top row, and those with their arms down in the bottom row?”
3) Patterning – “Now, let’s make a pattern with your groups.” Again, if it is too difficult start the pattern for them and let them continue it. “Here is my pattern…Arms up, Arms down, Arms up, Arms down. What comes next?”
4) Addition – Play a game called Roll a Row. “Put your bears in a pile, then roll the dice. Count that many bears to start the top row. Now roll again, and count that many bears to start the bottom row. Keep rolling for the alternating rows until you use all of your bears. Which row won?
5) Subtraction – Play a game called Roll and Chomp. “Roll the dice, and eat away that number of bears!” This one is best saved for last for obvious reasons…once you eat all the manipulative, math time is over! hehe.
Levi had to do some create-a-bear food art before eating his. hehe
This was inspired by our Brown Bear Texture Book.