Paper Plate Puzzles

Puzzles are full of early numeracy ideas and making one together makes it fun!

LET’S GO!

What you need:

  • Paper plate (plain or patterned)
  • Crayons, paints, or markers
  • Scissors
  • Magnetic tape (optional)

 

What to do:

  1. Decorate the paper plate. If using a patterned plate you can leave it if you like.
  2. Cut the plate apart into different shapes.
  3. If using magnetic tape, place a piece on the back of each piece.
  4. Put the puzzle back together. If you have used magnetic tape, you can do it on the fridge or a cookie sheet.

DO IT TOGETHER!

Let your child decide how they want to decorate the plate. Help them use the scissors to cut out different shapes—they don’t have to be the same.

Talk about how many pieces you want to have in the puzzle and whether you should cut them bigger or smaller.

When it’s done, let your child put the puzzle together. If they are having difficulty, help them complete it.

WHY?

Puzzles are a great way for your child to start thinking about shapes, sizes, colours, and matching. Making your own puzzle is easy and might mean more to your child since they made it.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your child to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

Writing in the Air

Big body movements are a fun way to do writing and help your child remember the shapes of letters, numbers and more!

LET’S GO!

What you need:

  • Piece of ribbon or string about 2 feet/60 centimetres in length
  • Wand (popsicle stick, twig, pencil, pen—whatever you have)
  • Masking or scotch tape

What to do:

  1. Tape one end of the ribbon or string to one end of the wand
  2. Let the other end of the string or ribbon hang free
  3. Wave the stick around so the ribbon or string follows it in the air

DO IT TOGETHER!

Help your child make their tracing wand. If you want, you can make one for yourself too.

Have your child try waving the tracing wand to make the shapes of letters or numbers. They may even want to try to spell out their name or phone number!

Have some fun with it by pretending to be magicians or fairies while you write in the air.

WHY?

Giving your child different ways to write makes it more interesting and fun to try. Air tracing is a physical activity that will help them practice the shapes of letters or numbers and remember what those shapes feel like.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

Popsicle Puppets

Making puppets together to help act out a story is fun and a great way for your child to understand the story even more!

LET’S GO!

What you need:

  • Thick paper (construction or card stock)
  • Crayons or markers
  • Scissors
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glue/tape
  1. Draw and colour the characters from your favourite book
  2. Cut them out
  3. Glue the popsicle stick to the back of the characters

DO IT TOGETHER

Draw the characters of the story you’ve chosen together. Don’t worry if they don’t look exactly like they do in the book.

Help your child use the scissors to cut out the drawings. Glue or tape the characters to the popsicle sticks.

Optional: add yarn for hair and buttons for eyes.

If using glue let it dry, then use the puppets to act out the story.

You can set it up like a puppet show, with the puppets performing on the back of the couch or chair while you hide behind, or just have the characters with you as you read the story.

WHY?

Books can provide the starting point for other fun activities that take the story further, such as acting it out. Puppets are a quick way to bring some of the characters to life.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

7 Crazy Fun Family Games to Play Over the Holidays

Have you ever watched Minute to Win It types of games and thought it would be fun to play them with your family? Family games are a great way to bring everyone together over the holidays, or any time, to have a little fun! The games can be simple or complex, depending on the participants, and you can often use things you have around the house. Try to encourage all family members to play, no matter their age. Games are also a fun way to incorporate family literacy into your holiday activities by talking, following directions, counting, etc.
 
The Games:
 
Try to split everyone who would like to participate into two teams, trying to keep both sides as even as possible. The great thing about these games is that they only last for one minute, so participants only have to make it through 60 seconds.
 
img_2933-11. This first game involves stacking cups so they look like a tree. Remember you only have 60 seconds. To make this activity more difficult for adults, have them put one arm behind their back and use their non-dominant hand.

 

 

 

 
 

 

img_2936-22. This game requires mini marshmallows, straws, and cups (or other containers). Using the straw, you must get as many marshmallows into the cup as you can in one minute. To make this game harder for adults or older kids, do not allow them to hold the straw with their hands.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Our next game requires two pairs of pantyhose with the toes cut out and a hole for your face, as you will be making antlers on your head. This game takes great team effort as balloons are stuffed into the pantyhose legs. An option can be that the winner is whoever finishes first, instead of having a one minute time limit.

 

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img_2955-94. This game is about making a Christmas Tree. We used long ribbon, however you could use toilet paper and make a snowman, or wrapping paper to wrap a present (the entire person). Once again you could time the teams or just judge them after the first one is done.

 

 

 

 
 

 

5. Starting to get hungry after all this work? How about a cookie challenge? Place a cookie over one eye and try to get it into your mouth. For the younger kids, if the cookie falls off they could pick it up and try again. For adults and older kids, I suggest no hands and if they fail then another player from their team has to try until at least one person is successful.
 
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6. On to some full body movements you will need two more pairs of pantyhose without holes, two tennis balls (or heavy balls) and some targets to knock over. Putting the nylons on your head with the ball in each leg, try knocking down as many of the targets as you can. We used paper cups but water bottles or pop cans work too.
 img_2959-7

 

 
img_2969-87. Lastly we have the candy cane pick up. Stack up a bunch of candy canes, and putting one in your mouth, hook as many candy canes as you can and transfer them into a cup. For little fingers, just let them use their hands instead of putting the candy cane in their mouth.

 

 

 

 
These are just a few of the hundreds of games available on the internet, so grab your family and friends, be creative, and have a great time!
 
Find more game ideas, as I did, with these sites:
 
 
 
 

 

Laundry Toss

We all have to do laundry, so why not get your child involved with the sorting and matching—both early numeracy ideas!

LET’S GO!

Make doing laundry a fun thing for your child to help with.

DO IT TOGETHER!

When it’s time to do laundry, give your child a job. Depending on their age, they can:

  • count how many there are of different pieces of clothing
  • put the same colours together
  • find all the socks after you unload the dryer
  • roll the clean socks into a ball and see if they can throw them into the basket

WHY?

Counting, sorting, matching, and colours are all part of early math (numeracy). These ideas can be worked into everyday routines to help you get things done and let your child feel like they are helping, while supporting learning in a fun way!

 

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Play Dough Snake Letters

Have fun rolling out play dough into long snakes with your child, then see what you can make them into together – letters, numbers, shapes, and more!

LET’S GO!

Use play dough to make letters, numbers, shapes, or words.

DO IT TOGETHER!

Together, roll out pieces of play dough into long snakes. Bend the snakes, or connect them, to make letters, words, shapes, or numbers. Spell out your child’s name using your snakes and let them copy it if they want to.

WHY?

Writing can happen in many different ways. By using something like play dough, your child can physically move and change pieces, which can help them remember the shapes of letters more easily. It’s also a fun way to do writing together.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Making Playdough

Making and playing with playdough together is fun and can lead to many conversations and creative moments!

LET’S GO!

What you need: 

  • 1 c salt
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 1 c cold water
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 tbsp. corn starch
  • food colouring

What to do:

  1. In a bowl, mix together salt, water, oil, and food colouring (enough to make a bright colour).
  2. Add flour and corn starch.
  3. Knead the dough with your hands. Gradually add more flour if it’s too sticky, or oil if it isn’t sticking together.
  4. Store in a sealed bag in the fridge for up to 2 months.

 

DO IT TOGETHER!

Let your child help you measure and mix the ingredients. Show them the recipe and talk about how you know how much you need.

Use the playdough to make whatever you want—maybe letters, shapes, or something from a favourite book or song.

Talk about what you are doing and ask your child what they are making.

 

WHY?

Reading recipes is something that often happens in a home and not always just for cooking! Letting your child get involved will help them see how reading is used differently. Doing it together and using the end product is a great reward!

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Bring a Book to Life

Doing something to extend a book beyond just reading it will help your child to understand the book!

LET’S GO!

Take a favourite story and act it out while you read.

DO IT TOGETHER!

As you read a book together, you can build on the story by acting it out with your child.

You can play dress-up and be the characters, or use your child’s toys, stuffed animals, or puppets as props.

Make up your own story, add new characters, or change the ending!

WHY?

Books don’t just have to be read, they can be starting points for other fun activities like crafts and pretend play. Acting out a story can help your child to understand it more easily and lets them use their imagination to decide how they want to do it.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Bugs on a Branch!

This yummy snack is easy and fun to make together. Pair it with a book or a trip outside to see real bugs to make it more meaningful!

WHY?

Cooking gives you many ways to talk and build language with your child. Oral language is the foundation upon which reading and writing are built. Having fun together while using language builds a strong foundation for your child to become a reader and a writer!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Celery (branches)
  • Peanut butter, cream cheese, or processed cheese
  • Raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, or dried cranberries (bugs)

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Cut off the ends and wash and dry the celery. Slice into “branches”
  2. Spread the peanut butter or cheese on the celery
  3. Arrange the bugs along the branch
  • Talk about what you are doing as you do it!
  • Make up a story about how your bugs got on their branches. You could also count your bugs!

DO IT TOGETHER!

Depending on their age, your child can help with different parts of the recipe. If you have an older child, they can use a child-safe knife to help cut. Everyone should be able to help with the rest.

OTHER RESOURCES:

Mom and Me Cookbook by Annabel Karmel Flit App: To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together). Click here for the iOS version Click here to download the Android version

Colours, Counting, and Matching Fun

Have fun with early numeracy ideas in this game you can make and play together with your preschooler!

WHY?

Numbers are an important part of early math and numeracy and can be found all around us. Counting, sorting, and matching all help with learning math later.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Different coloured milk jug lids (or other big lids)
  • Stickers

  

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Choose two lids that are the same colour
  2. Choose two stickers that are the same and put one on each of the lids
  3. Repeat the process until you have used up all of the lids

 

DO IT TOGETHER! Make numbers and math fun by playing different games. You could count the lids, match the lid colours, match the stickers, or flip the lids over so you can’t see the sticker and play a game of memory.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together). Click here for the iOS version Click here to download the Android version