Sunday, April 7, 2024

Quick and Easy Resources for Littles to Help Explain and Explore the Solar Eclipse!

The solar eclipse of 2024 is an exciting event for children! Here are some resources I quickly put together to help educators and families explore the eclipse and use it to inspire a few activities!

Here is a great picture book to help explain what an eclipse is:

Here is a video that delves into the science behind the eclipse:

Here's a neat time lapsed video of an eclipse:

And here are three quick and easy math resources to use that capture children's excitement about the entire experience!

1. Roll, Subitize and Cover the Suns!

2. Which One Doesn't Belong?

3. See, Think and Wonder

Friday, March 29, 2024

20 Free Alphabet Activities to Use with Children

I have spent time reviewing many of the resources and materials I have created over the years. Over the next few weeks I would like to share some on this blog.

Learning the names and sounds of upper- and lower-case alphabet letters take time, patience and practice.

Many families are eager for 'take home' activities to help their children practice literacy skills at home. Educators are also looking for easy to gather and implement small group work for children to use at school. In this file I have shared 20 alphabet activities that can be printed and shared with families or used with children during the day. Print all, or take what you think will be a best fit for your little ones!

You can access the file here: 20 Instant Alphabet Activities

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Five Free Printables to Use with Tree Math

 "Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky."

-Khalil Gibran

During outdoor play children are drawn to the trees in the school yard. They love to feel bark with their hands and wrap their arms around the trunk. They collect artifacts for exploration including sticks and leaves and search for insects in the bark's crevices. Trees offer so many rich opportunities for wonder and discovery as children notice how they change with the weather and seasons.

To help supplement my book Tree Math (available from Amazon and Indigo) here are five easy, free printables that can be used to support children's work in nature!

1. My Favourite Tree

Encourage children to spend time in nature and observe the tree they like best. Ask them to consider what it is they appreciate about this tree? Children can then sketch the tree on this page and compare their tree with others.

2. My Tree and the Four Seasons

Over time children can observe the same tree and draw what they notice changing during the four seasons. This page can be kept over time and added to as the months change. Children can also draw on it at one sitting and hypothesize what the tree might look like in each season, especially after conducting research about how trees adapt to the weather.

3. Tree Circumference

Children can use a variety of materials to measure how big around a tree's trunk is (e.g., measuring tape, hand spans, links) and record it on this tracking page. Drawing a picture can help explain their math thinking.

4. Tree Bark Patterns

Exploring the texture of bark appeals to many children who enjoy sensory experiences. Children can use magnifying glasses to examine the patterns in bark up close, or place a paper on top of the bark and use crayons to create a rubbing. Children can then describe what they see and compare their rubbings to others. 

5. A Tree is a Home

Encourage children to explore many trees in the school yard and neighbourhood. Ask children to observe what living things they observe on and in the trees (e.g., birds, insects, mould) and record their observations on the tracking paper. They can hypothesize how the tree might be a home for many living things at the same time.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Easy St. Patrick's Day Math Ideas

St. Patrick's Day is a fun holiday that helps jump start the spring season! Here are a few easy to plan math activities for children!

1. Shamrock Subitizing- Write different numerals in the center of each shamrock and encourage children to place dominoes with the corresponding number of pips in each leaf.

2. Estimation/Counting Jars - Fill jars with a variety of different seasonal loose parts. Encourage children to estimate how many objects are in each jar. They can then use a variety of math tools (e.g., number grid, ten frame, hundreds chart) to count the total objects. These can then be recorded on a paper for comparison.

3. Rainbow Numbers - Provide children with a variety of numbers and encourage them to explore these in different ways (e.g., sorting by colour, ordering, create number combinations).
4. Colour and Coin Sorting - Recycled marker caps can become 'pieces' of the rainbow. Add fun play coins and seasonal pots to the tray and encourage children to sort, count, and pattern with the loose parts.
5. Roll and Record - Here is a fun template that can be used by children to support many math explorations! Children can roll and subitize a die and colour in the corresponding number of shamrocks. Two children can each roll and colour in shamrocks using their own colour and try to get 4 in a row. Children can colour the shamrocks in using different colours to create patterns. The possibilities for this template are endless!

Get the free printable here: Shamrock Printable

6. Which One Doesn't Belong? -  Show children pictures of different shamrocks and ask them to articulate which picture does not belong. 
Get the free printable here: WODB Shamrocks
7. Gold Coin Count - Add dice, coins, number lines and writing materials to this game board and encourage children to create and play their own treasure games!
Get the free printable here: Gold Coin Count
8. Find the Gold Coding - Draw the path needed to get from home to the pot of gold! Use arrows to display direction of movement.
Get the free printable here: Gold Coding Mat 

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Alphabet Mats for Letter Recognition

Recently we have been working with different fonts to help children recognize that the same letter can look many ways. These letter templates are easy to use in matching games. Get a copy here!

Alphabet Mats 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Holiday Sweaters

A fun activity this time of year is to decorate ugly holiday sweaters with a variety of loose parts! This activity promotes math as children create patterns on the sweaters. An interesting discussion of the differences between area and perimeter usually emerges as children use strings of beads to outline the sweater while filling it in with seasonal trinkets.


Click here for a copy of the free printable sweater page.


Sunday, December 3, 2023

Ten Easy Holiday Math Activities

The holidays are such a lovely time of year to spend with children! However the last few weeks before the winter break can be hectic. Here are ten easy to assemble activities that can infuse playtime with math by capturing the magic of the season! Many of the seasonal loose parts included in these photos were found at the local dollar store. Enjoy!

1. Count the Presents - offer children mini presents (or other seasonal trinkets including bells or ornaments) and number cards. Encourage children to match the corresponding number of objects to the cards. Children can also place presents on a laminated ten frame and write a corresponding addition or subtraction sentence using a dry erase marker.

2.  Holiday Sensory Bin with Mini Boxes - fill a sensory bin with seasonal trinkets and treasures. Add mini present boxes and encourage children to fill the boxes with different objects. Children can then use a hundreds grid to count how many objects fit in each box!


3. Catapult the Gingerbread Man to Safety - help mini Gingerbread Men land to safety over the river by firing them using catapults made from clothespins attached to blocks using elastics. This activity works fine motor muscles too!

4. Cookie Cutter Bell Count - display a collection of bells in a tray with a variety of seasonal cookie cutters. Challenge children to fill one cutter with bells and use a hundreds grid to count how many it holds. Which cutter holds the most? Least?

5. What's Inside the Presents? - fill different holiday boxes with loose parts. Encourage children to shake one at a time and estimate how many objects might be inside. They can then open the box and spill the objects out. Each object can be placed on a number grid and counted.

6. Fill a Tree with Trinkets - children can explore the concepts of area and perimeter by filling or outlining wooden trees (or other seasonal place mats or shapes) with a variety of bead strings, ribbons or small objects.

7. String a Pattern - secure a number of green pipe cleaners to a sturdy cardstock or cardboard base in the form of a tree. Encourage children to string beads to 'decorate' the tree using different patterns. Children can also count how many beads they use for each section.

8. How Many Elastics? - children can wrap a number of elastics around cookie cutters until they are filled. Encourage children to count how many times they wrap each elastic. For an added fine motor challenge have children remove the elastics one at a time.

9. Gingerbread House STEM Challenge - provide children with magnet shapes and challenge them to build an intricate gingerbread house. Ask them to search the room for various loose parts that will attach to the magnets and 'decorate' the house (e.g., here the staples in mini bows attract to the magnets).

10. Holiday Guessing Jars - fill glass jars with seasonal loose parts. Encourage children to estimate how many objects are in each jar. The objects can then be shaken out and counted using math tools such as number grids and ten frames.

Looking for a book to support holiday math learning? Check out my book Holiday Math


Thursday, November 30, 2023

Virtual Bird Count

“There is an unreasonable joy to be had from the observation of small birds going about their bright, oblivious business.”
 Grant Hutchison

Colder weather and light snow this week have inspired new observations during outdoor play and exploration. The children have noticed birds hiding in the trees. It's been fun to watch them flit from branch to branch, observe their tracks in the snow and identify their different calls. I hoped to continue with these observations indoors. I introduced Cornell's live bird cam and invited children to spend time observing the animals that visited the different feeders. The children were enthralled with the quick, happy little birds as they flew in and out of the frame and gobbled up the seed.

The next day I asked children to predict which birds they thought might be at the feeders. We spent time drawing our guesses on a graphic organizer. I wanted to capitalize on the children's interest in the birds and integrate math and literacy into the experience. I also displayed posters from our library that had illustrations of common North American birds to be used as reference.

As the children observed the feeders they tracked what they saw on their charts. After ten minutes of watching we calculated and shared our results. Blue jays appeared the most!

This is an easy to implement activity that brings the outdoors inside! Click here for a free printable Bird Count tracking sheet children can use to record birds.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Subitizing Game Printable

Subitizing is the ability to instantly recognize the number of objects without actually counting them.


This week we practised subitizing using a number cube and this subitizing grid. Children rolled the number cube and dabbed a corresponding square on the grid. There are so many possibilities for how else children can extend this game. It's perfect for small group math work, a math center or independent practice during whole group time. Visit the link to download a copy of the grid. Enjoy!

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