Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Toddler Counting Activity

I meant to post this forever ago, but it got lost among all the other happenings around here. I don’t know about your kids, but my toddler can sniff out when I’m wanting to create a teaching moment. I’m obviously not sly enough about it with day to day things so I have to get all pinterest-y with things to pass off teaching moments and let’s just say I haven’t put in as much effort as I should. 

There was a point in time when my child refused to say the number four. I don’t know why. Toddlers are weird. He would count to three and then go backwards. He would count to ten but always skip right over the number four. I really started to think it was just to tick me off. It surely lit a fire under me to get on Pinterest and actually attempt to do something about it and that’s how I came up with Sassy Sally, a collaboration of several different pinterest ideas. 

Sassy Sally is a caterpillar made of felt ovals. (I chose egg shape so I could reuse them for Easter Eggs later on. Dual purposes are a must.) I drew on eyes and cut out a mouth to make it cutesy if you could call it that. She has a head and five other circular body parts of different colors (you could obviously do as many as you want, but five was enough for us). I cut out numbers 1-5 for number recognition then I cut out small dots (traced a quarter) to symbolize leaves for Sassy Sally to eat.

I’ve found that the trick to get any of these cutesy projects to work really depends on how you present it. Obviously the first trick is to have the toddler in a cooperative mood which is a crap shoot, but just don’t feel like a failure if you have to abort the project at any time. It happens. The second trick is to be patient. Also a crap shoot if you are a slight control freak like me. Prayer helps as well as a good pep talk. The next trick is to have a thought out plan...

I covered Ethan’s easel with felt using clothes pins. I always get everything set up during nap time. Toddlers have zero patience so don’t even tempt a melt down by not being ready. I let him put on the head and smiley face while I laid everything out. I put the circles and numbers on the floor and asked him to match the circles with the coordinating number. I’d tell him each number as he picked it up, as he got more familiar I’d ask him to pick certain numbers out of the pile. Then, I would ask him to put each body part on the board in sequential order.

After we accomplished that I’d tell him that Sassy Sally was hungry. I brought out the baggie of leaves and told him to count them out. How many did he need for the first body part and so forth. This part always got a little dicey as patience was wearing by this point. Sometimes I’d pick out the right number of leaves and just ask him to count them as he put them up if he was being extra grabby. 

He asked to play Sassy Sally several times well after he finally got the number four down pat. I love that it started with something simple that he already knew like color matching so he initially felt like he was succeeding before he got to the tricky part. I’m hoping the fall/winter will allow me more time to do pinterest-y learning projects such as this one. We shall see!

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  1. He looks so proud! Great activity and suggestions too. I agree about having everything set out. That's my biggest problem these days!

  2. Connor loves counting, but since he turned 3 he won't count anything as the number 3 other than himself. Like if he's putting his number puzzle together, he'll count out loud as he does it, but when he gets to the 3 he says "this is not 3, I am 3!" Haha! Toddlers are bizarre! Super cute activity!

  3. He does look so proud...look at you all getting so crafty...I have dropped the ball lately!

  4. In love this activity! And Ethan really seems to have liked it! Thanks for linking up with Life Created Tuesdays last week :) hope you'll join us again!

  5. Hi Laura! Thanks for linking up with erin and me last week! This post is going to be featured however I can't snag the photo! When you get a chance if you want a photo added to the feature shoot me an email at sarah at itsavol dot com! Thanks looking forward to seeing you this week!


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