February vacation is here, the snow is falling like crazy, and I have had enough of my kids literally climbing all over me and telling me they’re bored. It’s only been 2 days! So I pulled out an old simply busy standby that we did when Em was first learning her numbers, with an added degree of difficulty for Jax: Popsicles & Play Dough!
Basically have the kids knead and roll some play dough into a long line, then give them a bunch of Popsicle sticks numbered 1-20. Em got 1-10 and Jax 1-20. Then ask them to put them in order, standing upright in the play dough.
This is great for numeral recognition but also fine motor skills. The kids learned that they had to pinch the play dough around the sticks to get them to stand up. Then we added some extra challenges–numbers 11-20 and putting them in color order (by writing the colors on the back)–and I introduced Jax to the concepts of odds and evens by writing an O or E at the bottom of the sticks. Differentiated fun for everyone!
Of course when this was done they continued to play with the play dough, which I don’t usually love, but on a snowy day when they have had little more to say than I’m Bored! I was glad for some simple, quiet fun! Only 5 more days of vacation to go!