Tweezer Sort

Tweezers are great for strengthening and refining fine motor skills. Use an old ice cube tray and hot glue a different color craft bead (these are sometimes called pony beads) to the bottom of each section of the tray. Put a pair of tweezers (they can be blunt metal or plastic) in a bag with an assortment of beads of all colors. Your child can tweeze as ...(read more)

Number Line

Create a number line from 1 to 20 on the floor with masking tape and numbers that have been cut out of construction paper. Each number should be about a foot apart. Practice counting up or down, adding or subtracting by having the kids jump and move up and down the number line.(read more)

Learning to Recycle

Teach your child an earth-friendly lesson about conserving our resources while saving money simply by recycling your bottles and cans! Invite your little one to help you collect your household recycling and take it to your local recycling center. (To find your nearest center, log on to On the way, explain to him or her the importance of keeping recyclable bottles and cans out of ...(read more)


The Goldfish Game

My children all played this precious snack-time game at their preschool, and it has remained our favorite way to eat goldfish crackers. How to play: Explain to your child that you're going to tell him a story while he eats, but he has to be patient and only eat when the story tells him to (sometimes this can be hard, so make sure your little one isn't starving when ...(read more)


Counting Cards

This is a very simple activity that reinforces numbers, both writing and counting. Using 3x5 cards, write the numerals 0-10 or if your child has mastered to 10, 0-20, one number per card. One the reverse side of the card, use small reward stickers and stick on the matching quantity. For 10-20, make a group of ten stickers and circle them, then a group of the quantity ...(read more)

Breaking the Piggy Bank or Banking 101

Sorting, counting, and rolling coins is a great way to teach your child about money. We put all our spare change in my son's piggy bank and then when it's full, my son gets to dump it out and we roll the coins together. First we have him sort the different coins, then put the coins into stacks of 5-10, then we roll the coins. Great fine ...(read more)


How Many Will Fit?

Here's a twist on a common game of guessing how many of an item are in a container. Have your child look at an empty, small, clear plastic jar and a group of small objects (such as peanuts, cottonballs, marbles, or Goldfish crackers) and estimate how many of the objects will fit inside the container. Your child can then check their estimation by counting the objects as they ...(read more)

3, 2, 1, Blast Off!

In an wide open space, indoors or outdoors, help your child to count backwards from 10 to 1, then yell "Blast off!" Run in circles a few times, with your arms open wide, like a rocketship.(read more)

Counting Beans

Keep a plastic container filled with different beans -- all colors and sizes. On a rainy afternoon, spread out a sheet or blanket on the floor and pour the beans out on a baking tray on the sheet. Give your toddler different cups, spoons, muffin tins to move, sort, count, and compare beans. You can make observations about numbers, sizes, textures, colors... the variations are ...(read more)

Using Tongs

Set a pile of cotton balls on the table. Have your child use tongs (small ones) to pick up the cotton balls and place them in a small bowl. This activity is a wonderful way to build up the hand muscles that your child will use when he or she holds a pencil or crayon. You can also use this activity as a way to practice basic ...(read more)

Counting Sticks

This is an activity to help your toddler with counting. Take large tongue depressors and glue different amounts of beans or fuzzy pom-poms onto them. Make enough sticks to show numbers 1-10. Let your child help you count each bean or pom-pom that is on the stick. You can write the number at one end of the stick, or even spell out the number on the back of the stick. ...(read more)


Coin Collector

A great way to pass time at the doctor's office or in restaurants is to take out all of your change and have your child sort the coins by kind, size and color. They can stack them, create shapes with them, count them etc. If you have a cup or container with you, you can also have your child toss the coins. (Of course, you'll want to ...(read more)

Make Your Own Dot-to-Dot

Write the numbers one through ten on colored sticker dots. Have your child place the numbered stickers all over a piece of paper. Then, let your child use a crayon or marker to draw a line connecting the numbers in order from one to ten. He or she can then color in the unique artistic creation. (read more)

Domino Math

Use dominoes to help teach math to young children by adding the dots on two or more dominoes, or just adding the dots on one domino for younger kids. You can also use this activity to teach counting!(read more)

Is it Bigger or Smaller?

Children at a young age can start to do math with simple concepts. Determining which of two given numbers is bigger or smaller can give young kids the confidence that they need to move on to more complicated math concepts. Once a child can count at least from 1 to 20, you can play a game where you tell a child two numbers and then ask which is ...(read more)


The Counting Game

Often asking a child to count can become a chore for the child. It is important to always make learning fun. I find that counting from 1 to 100 is not that exciting for a 4 year old. So I try and make it a game. I will often start by asking if he wants to play the counting game. A game is always a ...(read more)


Bubble Count

My 4-year-old daughter made up this game, and I thought it was rather clever! As I blow bubbles, she pops them with her finger and says a number, starting with the number 1. As the bubbles float by, she pops them and counts the next number, and the next, until she forgets what number she was on or can't count any higher. Because the bubbles come out ...(read more)


Squirrel Hunt

We leave the house and set out on a squirrel hunt. We spy them in trees, digging up nuts, chasing other squirrels. Count how many you can find! It's great - they are everywhere! (read more)

Mealtime Math

Introduce basic math concepts of addition and subtraction at meal or snack time, and maybe even get your child to eat his vegetables, too! This activity can be done with any food that has pieces, such as carrot sticks, apple slices, or crackers. First have your child count how many carrot sticks (or whatever food) they have on their plate. Then say, "OK, you have 5 carrot ...(read more)

Counting a Silly Walk

Take a walk with your child. Make up some silly steps to do together. Examples: Take two large steps and three tiny steps counting 1,2 - 1,2,3 - 1,2 as you go. You'll have fun, get some exercise, and practice counting -- all at the same time.(read more)

What is a Dozen?

Help your preschooler learn what a dozen is and practice counting to 12. Let your child decorate an empty egg carton with crayons, markers, stickers, and/or paint. Then he can fill each compartment with any small item, such as marbles, small toy cars, crackers, or whatever he'd like, as he counts to 12. You can also use the egg carton to teach him about subtraction. If you take ...(read more)


Flag Walk

Take a walk around your neighborhood on around the Fourth of July or Memorial Day and count the number of American flags that you find. Teach your older child how to keep a running tally (four lines down and one line across) and then you can practice counting by fives when you get home.(read more)


Sticker Dots

We all know that young kids love playing with stickers, but the problem is that they really do stick to everything and it's often hard to peel them off. Your floors, walls and furniture pay the price. What I do is buy lots of sheets of multi-colored sticker dots (the ones you can buy at Staples), and we play a game where my kids can put stickers on ...(read more)

4 Hugs and 3 Jumps

Get a stack of 20 index cards. On half of them, write the numbers 1 through 10; on the rest, write action words like jump, kiss, and hug. Have your child draw a number card and an action card, then help him put the two together: "Jump 2 times" or "Hug your teddy bear 6 times." This activity is great for older and younger children -- helping the younger ...(read more)

Being Savvy Today

Tips for Choosing "After-Preschool" Activities and Classes


More and more, it seems, there are so many different kinds of activities and classes geared to the little ones. Deciding which ones to try and which to pass on sometimes gets confusing. There are all the wonderful music classes that encourage you to bring your baby before

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