Let’s Make the Holidays COUNT!
Holidays are a busy time for many families; there is so much to do! You might want to clean and decorate the house, plan and prepare the meal, and entertain guests. You might also travel to spend time with family. While the holidays are full of opportunities to share time and traditions with family and friends, they are also the perfect time to explore and encourage numeracy with your children.
For example, this Thanksgiving 3,2,1, Fun! focused on providing easy, meaningful and everyday ways to work on numeracy skills in the home and community over the holidays. We used inexpensive materials to create paper bag turkeys and numbered them 1-10. We used yellow beads for corn feed and glued feathers on clothes pins. Then each child picked a paper bag turkey and used the number on the front of the turkey to determine how many pieces of corn to feed their turkey and how many tail feathers to clip on. As each child built their turkeys 1-10, we sang about 5 fat turkeys as they gobbled and waddled their way through Thanksgiving!
(Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques. Count down from 5-1)
Five fat turkeys, five fat turkeys
In a barn, in a barn
Gobble, gobble, gobble
Waddle, waddle, waddle
Run away, it’s Thanksgiving Day
Holiday preparations and celebrations offer many opportunities to learn together as a family. Here are a few of the activities we share in 3,2,1, Fun! to encourage numeracy skills:
Planning and Preparing the Meal
- Let your child look through the grocery store flyer and circle all of the holiday foods they see, cut them out and sort them into food groups.
- Ask your child to help you number or sort the items while creating your shopping list.
- Baking and cooking are wonderful occasions to work on numeracy. Recipes are full of opportunities for children to measure, count, order, and sort. When serving the meal, ask your children to help you carve the turkey or cut the pie. Talk to them about how many pieces of pie or turkey you will need for the number of guests you have. Ask them to help set the table. How many forks and napkins will we need?
Decorate the House
- Create decorations from seasonal items outside. Instead of raking all those leaves and acorns, have your children collect some. They can create wonderful decorations from these items and in the process they will be identifying shapes, sorting, and creating patterns.
- If you are travelling for the holiday, travel games will make the time fly by. Count the number of trucks/cars/bikes that you see, guess which colour of automobile you will see the most of on your trip or identify the shapes of traffic signs as you drive by them.
- Sing a song!
The holidays are busy and hectic, fun and exciting, but above all else they are memorable. Have fun and be creative because the opportunities to learn as a family and explore numeracy will be COUNTLESS!