My son is starting kindergarten next year, and if you’re in the same boat (or have been), I know you can relate: Your little one isn’t so little anymore—sob!—and even if he has a few years of preschool under his belt, this is different. This is real school, and you want your child to be ready. I know I do.
That’s why I was so excited to find education.com—and even more excited when the fabulous people behind it offered to write a guest post for Momsanity. They shared this crafty math-based activity—Milk-Carton Counting Houses—to help kids avoid the dreaded summer slide and have some fun. Because that’s what learning should be: Fun!
Speaking of fun, here are me and my peeps having lots of it—including the toddler, who was thrilled to participate in her own toddler way. (Bonus: The kids put on a puppet show afterward with their stick figures!) I hope that you enjoy this activity as much as we did! –Dawn
Milk-Carton Counting Houses
Most 5-year-olds master counting out loud long before they walk into kindergarten. This is always exciting to watch, but it doesn’t mean that kids truly understand what numbers mean. Kindergarten teachers want to make sure that kids can count objects, as well as connect groups of things to abstract numbers. This earth-friendly craft helps kids do just that while also building the foundation for future math skills.
What You Do:
1. Start by cutting off the tops of the cartons, leaving an open square top.
2. Using tape or glue, cover the cartons with construction paper. Leave the tops open.
3. With fine-line markers, draw windows and a door on each carton to make it resemble a house.
4. Write a different numeral on each door. If your child is just beginning to work on this counting skill, you may want to begin with lower numbers, such as 1-5. If he’s more advanced in his one-to-one correspondence skills, begin with higher numbers, such as 8-15.
5. Give yourself and your child several of the craft sticks and decorate them with faces and hair to look like people—maybe even people you know or people who live in your own home!
6. Line up the houses, and take turns putting the correct number of ice cream stick people in each house. The number written on the door should correspond with the number of people who live in the house.
7. Want to add in a real-life geographical lesson? Try arranging the houses in two rows facing each other. Number the houses on the right with even numbers and the ones on the left with odd—just like the houses on a real-life street!
8. If you’ve got a math fan, you can also try writing an addition or subtraction problem on each house door. Your child can place the number of ice cream stick people in the house that corresponds to the answer to each problem.
This activity should be fun for just about any preschooler or kindergartener, and your teacher will appreciate the curriculum reinforcement. When it comes to these fundamental concepts and math skills, there’s really no such thing as too much practice!
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