Easy Shape Activities for Kids

Learning how to recognize shapes and their properties is an essential early numeracy skill. My kids love learning all about shapes, and I love putting activities together that teach about shapes. As you can see in this post, shape activities can be so easy to set up, require few materials and can be played with over and over again.

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This is what you will needyou will only need three things!

A piece of recycled cardboard

Shape stickers – if you do not have stickers, simply use some marker pens to draw them!

Small pegs

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This is what you will need to do:

1. Trim your piece of cardboard to size. For reference, our piece of cardboard is about 30 cm long and 20 cm high. This is just a rough guide though, you can use any size piece of card that you like. Once you are happy with your cardboard, simply paste stickers around the edge of the card. Make sure you leave enough space to place a peg between the sticker and the actual edge of the card.

If you do not have shape stickers, simply draw some shapes with marker pens or colored pencils directly onto the card. You can draw any shape and use any colors that you like!

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2. Next, prepare your matching pegs. I used small shape stickers to label our pegs. As our game is a shape and color matching game, I made sure that the pegs were labelled with the same colored shape as the shapes on the cardboard.

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3. Now play! Simply match the pegs to the board. Attaching the pegs is great for fine motor skill development and for encouraging pincer grip – the finger grip required to hold a pencil.

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And the neat thing about this game is that there are so many ways to play. You could use a timer and see how quickly you can match the pegs or you could call out a shape or color and find the corresponding peg to match! And if you have colored pegs, you could even match colors to shapes. See the pictures below for that to make more sense 😉

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Thank you so much for reading! Jacinta Xx. I hope that you enjoy these fun shape printables!

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Winter Sensory Writing Practice Trays for Kids

It doesn’t snow where we live here in Melbourne. In fact, I have probably seen actual, real snow only two or three times in my entire life. I do love the idea of snow though, and how pretty it looks – I am not sure I love that it’s so cold!

In this activity, you will make a fun sensory writing tray that uses coconut as it’s sensory base. The coconut sort of resembles snow, and as well as feeling great – it smells divine! Making this activity is a true sensory learning experience, and a fun way to keep writing practice interesting.

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This is what you will need:

  • A shallow dish or container. We used this tray from Melissa and Doug. Here is an amazon affiliate link to the product:
Melissa & Doug 3781 Lace and Trace Activity Set: 5 Wooden Panels and 5 Matching Laces – Farm
  • Coconut
  • Paintbrush
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This is what you will need to do:

1. Pour a small amount of coconut into your tray or dish so that it is covered with a thin layer of coconut. I rarely use food as a crafting material – it is such a waste. But I found this in my pantry and it was close to its use by date, so we decided to use a small amount in this activity.

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2. Place your tray of coconut on a flat surface. You may like to spread out an old sheet or some paper towel under your tray to catch any coconut spills and make clean up easy. Then start writing in the tray. This time, we used a paintbrush to keep things interesting. But you can use any tool that you like – or even just your finger!

We started with letters. I typed up some words and then we used our paint brush to write each letter in the coconut snow! Once you have formed your letter, simply smooth over the coconut letter and start again!

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Don’t feel restricted to only writing letters. Try writing numbers and add some counters to practice counting, subitising and 1:1 correspondence skills. [Have you heard of the term subitising before? Subitising is the ability to recognize the number of objects in a small group without actually counting each item out].

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And you can also practice shape formation too! To do this, I simply printed out some shapes and then placed them next to the tray for my little guys to copy.

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These are the shapes that I printed. You can download your own shape file here:

Once you have finished with your writing tray, you might like to store the coconut in an air tight container to use again another day. You might even like to dye your coconut with some food coloring. It is up to you how you choose to play and learn!

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Thank you so much for reading! Any thoughts or questions, please pop them in the comments section below. Jacinta Xx

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Please enjoy these fun FREE winter counting printables!

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The Best Fall and Autumn Crafts for Kids

It feels a little strange writing this blog post about fall activities as it’s actually spring here in Melbourne. In fact, it’s a lovely sunny day! I do love Fall crafts though, especially ones I see coming out of the northern hemisphere where the falling leaves are beautiful reds and orange in color. Where we live, the leaves obviously fall, but we don’t really get the vibrant color changes. Mostly just green to brown!

We have tried a few fall crafts over the years, but this one was really fun! I do want to point out that it does require single use plastic bags – which from an environmental view – we hate using. To make the activity worthwhile, we added quite a bit of paint to each bag, so that it didn’t dry out and we could play longer, and we ensured that once we had finished with the bags, we disposed of them carefully. And you could always wash the bags out and reuse them again too if you like!

And please read through right to the end of post to find some fun FREE fall printables!

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This is what you will need:

Leaves

Zip-lock bags

Black marker pen

Paint

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This is what you will need to do:

1. Head outside to collect some leaves. Remember to always watch for car and bicycle traffic when you are walking your neighborhood, and make sure that adults accompany children at all times.

2. Trace the leaves onto the zip-lock bags with marker pen. You will have to make sure that you collect leaves that are slightly smaller than your bags. And if you can’t find any leaves that you LOVE, you could print some paper ones like we did!

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3. Then add some paint to your bags. I wanted to make our activity a color mixing activity as well as a fine motor activity, so we added two colors to each bag.

4. Once the paint is in the bag, you might like to tape the bag closed to secure. The last thing you want is little people opening the bags and spilling paint everywhere. My girls are older now and know not to open the bags, so I haven’t taped these ones!

I definitely recommend taping the bags though and supervising carefully throughout the activity to avoid any paint spills and damage to clothing and furniture.

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5. Once the paint is safely in the bag, squish it with your fingers. The idea is to both mix the colors together and keep the paint within the outlines of the leaves. This can be a little tricky for small children, especially when you are trying to mix the color evenly at the same time! See how you go!

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My girls really love this type of activity, and I love it because it’s relatively mess free! They get to use paint, which they really enjoy, and the paint stays in the bag for a quick and easy clean up!

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Have you seen this craft on my Instagram? These are leaves that we collected from our neighbors oak tree and colored with oil pastels. It looks much better over on Insta, but this is fun too if you are looking for a quick prep activity!

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And I nearly forgot to include these FREE printables! Enjoy! Jacinta Xx.

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Spooky Halloween Number Craft for Kids

I posted this activity over on my Instagram last night and it has been super popular! It’s a quick, low-prep math activity that is perfect for developing early numeracy skills. Simply print the file below and play!

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This is what you will need:

Printed copy of the FREE downloadable file.

Googly eyes or stickers

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This is what you will need to do:

1. Print this file:

2. Grab some stickers or googly eyes and add them to each ghost.

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Such an easy activity to put together and play in the lead up to Halloween!

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You can also watch this quick video for more information.

Thanks so much for reading (and watching)! Jacinta Xx

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The Best Nature Crafts for Kids

Getting out and exploring our neighborhood and enjoying nature has been so important to us this year. It has allowed for fresh air, calm and a change of scenery! While we have been out and about exploring, we have collected all sorts of beautiful natural specimens that we have turned into these wonderful crafts!

!WARNING! remember to watch for car and bike traffic while out walking, and always walk safely with an adult.

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Nature Vases

These vases are made from a piece of recycled cardboard, this particular one was cut from the side of a delivery box, and are a great way to go on a nature hunt around your local neighborhood.

This is what you will need:

Recycled cardboard

Marker pens

Bamboo skewer

!WARNING! please be careful when using the bamboo skewers to make holes in the card. Bamboo skewers are sharp. It is strongly recommended that an adult makes the holes in the card using the bamboo skewer.

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This is what you will need to do:

1. Draw a vase onto the piece of cardboard with black marker pen. Add some pattern and detail to your vase. Feel free to be as creative as you like! Then, color your vase with marker pens.

2. Take your bamboo skewer and make holes in the cardboard above the vase. Remember that bamboo skewers are sharp! So it is best to ask an adult to do this step.

3. Take your cardboard outdoors and search your neighborhood for colorful flowers and leaves. Push the stems of the leaves and flowers through the holes in the card.

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Flower Crowns

This gorgeous flower crown craft is super easy to put together! You will only need a couple of easy to source materials to make this beautiful piece of art.

This is what you will need:

Recycled cardboard

Pencil

Scissors

Acrylic paint

Paintbrush

Black marker pen

Bamboo skewer

!WARNING! please be careful when using the bamboo skewers to make holes in the card. Bamboo skewers are sharp. It is strongly recommended that an adult makes the holes in the card using the bamboo skewer.

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This is what you will need to do:

1. Using your pencil, draw the face shape onto your piece of cardboard. Cut around your drawing with pencil. Then paint the hair and use the marker pen to draw the face.

2. Carefully take the bamboo skewer and make holes across the hairline. Remember that bamboo skewers are sharp! It is best to ask an adult to do this step!

3. Now head outside on a nature hunt and search for all sorts of flowers that will make a beautiful flower crown!

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Nature Color Hunt

This nature hunt is fun to make and is a great way to learn colors! Again, all you will need is a piece of recycled cardboard and some paint to make your very own.

This is what you will need:

Recycled cardboard

Paint

Paintbrush

Bamboo skewer

!WARNING! please be careful when using the bamboo skewers to make holes in the card. Bamboo skewers are sharp. It is strongly recommended that an adult makes the holes in the card using the bamboo skewer.

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This is what you will need to do:

1. Paint strips of color onto the piece of recycled cardboard.

2. Carefully use the bamboo skewer to make holes along each strip of color. Remember that the bamboo skewers are sharp. It is best to ask an adult to do this step.

You may even like to add some little labels to bring some literacy and early reading skills into the activity.

3. Head outside and collect all sorts of flower and leaf specimens and push them into their correct colored holes.

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There are so many fun ways to use nature specimens in kids crafts! What is your favorite activity? Thank you for reading! Jacinta Xx

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Here are some fun free printables for you!

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Easy Halloween Crafts for Kids

Halloween is fast approaching and my kids are getting super excited! Even though the holiday will look a bit different this year and trick or treating probably wont be happening where we live – I am still determined to make it as fun as possible.

These three activities are super easy to set up and lots of fun to play. They each use clear sticky contact – the type that you would cover school books with. Clear contact is such a fun craft material! I always have some on hand at home.

Please note that the materials list in this post contain referral links!

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The first sticky contact activity that I want to share with you is this ghostly yarn art activity.

Here is what you will need:

A piece of recycled cardboard

Black and white construction paper

Crayola Construction Paper (120 Sheets)

Glue stick

Glue Stick Glu Stik 8g, 2 Pack, (30840251)

Clear Sticky Contact

Contact Self-Adhesive Clear Book Covering Roll (10M x 450MM)

Scissors

Blunt Tip Crayola Blunt Tip Scissors for Ages 4 Years and Up, (16187)

Washi Tape

Colored Masking Tape,Colored Painters Tape for Arts & Crafts, Labeling or Coding – Art Supplies for Kids – 6 Different Color Rolls – Masking Tape 1 Inch x 13 Yards (2.4cm X 12m)

White Yarn

RED HEART Super Saver Yarn, White
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Here is what you will need to do:

1. Place your cardboard on a flat surface. Draw a ghost on some black construction paper and glue it to the cardboard. Cut some eyes and a mouth from the white construction paper and paste down these pieces too! Cover the cardboard with clear contact – sticky side up. You may like to decorate your cardboard with a strip of colored washi tape to finish.

2. Cut a piece of white yarn and stick it down to the contact. You can start covering your ghost anywhere that you like. We started tracing around the edge of our ghost picture.

3. Keep sticking down the yarn until you have covered your entire ghost. The neat thing about this activity is that you can be as creative as you like with how you stick down the yarn. You might like to add long, straight lengths of yarn or you may like to swirl your yarn pieces.

4. And if you have younger children, you might like to use cotton balls to stick to your ghost. They work really well too and look great!

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The next activity I want to share with you is this fun erasable tracing board. This activity is great for developing fine motor skills and once you’ve made it, can be used over and over again! It’s a great way to save paper!

Here is what you will need:

Recycled Cardboard

Spider Web Printable (See step 1)

Clear Contact

Erasable Marker pens

Paper Towel

Here is what you will need to do:

1. Start by printing the PDF attached below and paste it to a piece of cardboard. Once the glue is dry, cover the printed sheet with clear contact. For this activity, you will stick the contact down as you would normally cover a book. You may like to finish the board with a washi tape boarder.

Here is the link for the spider web PDF:

2. Now trace away! Grab a dry erase or white board marker and start tracing!

3. Once you have finished tracing, simply grab some paper towel and wipe the marker away. Then you can start tracing again!

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The final activity that I want to share with you is this fun sticky mummy activity! This is such fun, and best of all, you only need a few simple materials to make one.

This is what you will need:

A piece of recycled cardboard

Black construction paper

Glue stick

Clear Contact

Scissors

White washi tape

This is what you will need to do:

1. Trace a circle shape onto black construction paper and paste the circle onto the piece of cardboard. Add some big eyes to the center of your circle. Cover the entire board with clear contact, smoothing any bubbles out with your fingers as you go. You may like to decorate the boarder of your cardboard with a strip of washi tape.

If you like, you can use this Mummy picture instead of drawing your own:

2. Next, grab your roll of washi tape and start adding strips to your mummy. Each of these strips that you add will represent the mummies bandages. You can either tear lengths of tape straight from the roll and attach to the board, or use your scissors to neatly snip. It’s up to you. Both ways will look great!

3. Once you have finished your Mummy, you can remove the tape from the clear contact. You probably won’t be able to use the tape again, but you will be able to reuse the board.

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I hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and find it useful this Halloween holiday! Jacinta Xx

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Early Math Activities for Kids

I really love activities that develop math skills! Especially activities that encourage number recognition, counting skills, subitising and 1:1 correspondence. The activities that I describe here are perfect for developing all of these early numeracy skills. And best of all, you probably have everything you need to play at home already!

These activities are actually an extension of a recent blog article I posted entitled “Build A City.” You may have read it already? As well as working on the early math skills I listed above, these activities also introduce some simple addition and subtraction principles.

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This is what you will need:

Printed copy of the downloadable files

Lego, duplo bricks or building blocks

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Build a Tower

For this first activity, simply print out the “Build a Tower” file – you will find a link at the end of this paragraph. Then build a tower, stacking the number of bricks or blocks in each square. You will notice that the squares on the page are at different angles. This encourages your child to manipulate the angle of their tower on the page. This manipulation of angle is great for developing fine motor skills.

Here are the files that you will need. There is a black and white one, where you can match any color bricks to the squares, and a colored file. For this one, you can match colored bricks to each square.

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Add a Tower

You will get to practice some easy addition in this activity. Begin by printing out the downloadable file – again, you will find this file at the end of the paragraph. Then simply add the blocks together to build the towers.

Here is the file that you will need:

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Subtract a Tower

You guessed it! This next activity is subtract a tower. Start by printing the downloadable file and then substract the blocks. Place the resulting stack onto the corresponding square.

Here is the file that you will need:

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I really hope that you enjoy building these towers! Enjoy! Jacinta Xx

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Easy Halloween Math for Kids

I always associate googly eyes with Halloween crafts! Googly eyes make the best number counters, and are the perfect tool for helping kids learn some early math skills in a fun and engaging way.

Here are my favorite easy googly eye activities that will have your kids learning their numbers in no time this Halloween.

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This first activity is so super simple to put together. I started by cutting some black construction paper into the spider shapes. I actually used my Cricut Maker to do this! If you don’t have a Cricut, simply cut some circles from paper and then glue down 8 little paper strip legs.

Once your spiders are prepared, label them with numbers. You can do this with marker pen, stickers – anyway that you please! I used a white paint pen. Then ask your child to place the spiders in order on a flat surface. If you have younger children or students, order them yourself.

Then simply match the corresponding number of googly eyes to each spider. You can paste the eyes down with white school glue and make an awesome art piece. Or if you are like me and like to re-use your resources, simply use the eyes as counters. By keeping the eyes unglued, you can simply clear the eyes away and play over and over!

This googly eye activity is perfect for learning about number recognition, 1:1 correspondence, subitising and number order. You will also notice that there is a fair bit of strategy involved as well. As we used different size googly eyes, your child will have to work out which size eyes they must use to make sure that they all fit on the spiders.

!Caution! Remember that googly eyes are a choking hazard. Closely supervise your children when they are using any small craft objects and embellishments, especially googly eyes.

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I love this bright and colorful spider activity! To put this one together, we simply traced and cut out circles from colored construction paper. We then pasted down some googly eyes and attached 8 pegs to each spider. As well as developing fine motor skills, this activity also develops 1:1 correspondence and subitising. It is also fun for learning colors too!

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The above is another super simple and super fun Halloween math activity. To play this one, simply grab some colored origami squares and lay them out on a flat surface. Then, label each square with a number. You can label the squares with any number that you like, depending on your child’s math ability and how many googly eyes you have! Then simply match the corresponding number of googly eyes to each square. Again, you can glue your pieces together, or keep them unglued so that you can use them over and over again!

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My kids love this activity! To play, simply line up some craft sticks on a flat surface. We used the larger size craft sticks for this activity. Then label each stick with a number and match the corresponding number of eyes to each stick. This activity is perfect for developing 1:1 correspondence, number order, counting and fine motor skills – it can be tricky lining all those eyes up on the sticks. Again, there is a decent amount of strategy and creativity required to fit the different size eyes onto the sticks, especially if you label them with numbers greater than 9!

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What are your favorite Halloween math activities? I have so many, it’s difficult to fit them into the one post! Thanks again for reading! Jacinta Xx

Here is a fun Halloween symmetry activity for you to try with your children.

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Halloween Scissor Crafts for Kids

Halloween is the perfect holiday for practicing scissor skills! I have heaps of fun ideas that will have your kids perfecting their scissor skills in no time. Best of all, you will only require a couple of inexpensive and simple materials – and these activities are FUN!

Keep reading, you will find a FREE printable at the end of this article that will make practicing scissor skills with your kids and students a breeze!

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Below is my favorite and most simple scissor skill activity. To play this one, you will only need some strips of paper, a marker pen and of course, some scissors. For this activity, we used specialized children’s scissors.

Children’s scissors are great for learning how to snip and cut. They are the correct size for little hands (so they are not too heavy or too big, which helps with accuracy of cutting), they have a real safety blade that actually cuts (plastic scissors often fold paper rather than cut through it, making them frustrating for little kids to use) and have that little spring lever connecting the two handle pieces together. This spring is fabulous! The reason being, that kids only have to get their hands working in the one direction to close the scissors, then the scissors spring back open on their own. This makes using scissors so much easier for preschoolers.

!CAUTION! Remember to always carefully and closely supervise your children when using scissors!

To put this activity together, all you need to do is cut some strips of paper, label them with a variety of lines using a marker pen, and then if you like, add a little ghost to each end of the strips. I used my Cricut Maker to cut the ghosts out and then pasted them down. You could simply draw them out or use a Halloween themed sticker if you have one. Then ask your children to cut along the lines in the direction towards the ghosts. You can make your lines as easy or tricky as you like – depending on your child’s skill level.

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I posted the below activity on my Instagram earlier this week. I have to be honest and say that I don’t really love the pictures (I have almost deleted them at least 10 times! ha ha!), but I do really LOVE the idea of the activity. It’s a fun variation on the above idea, and is a great and easy way to practice scissor use!

For this next activity, I simply cut out the ghost shapes on white printer paper, drew some lines on the ghost tails with black marker pen, and then we cut along the lines with scissors. Again, this activity allows practice of cutting in a specific direction. You may notice that these scissors are different to the ones pictured above. They are still children’s scissors, but they have a sharper point (compared to the safer, blunt tip scissors above) and are a little heavier. These scissors are good for children who have some experience using scissors.

This final ghost cutting activity is one of my favorites! Again, draw and cut a ghost shape onto white printer paper and make snips along the tail. Then for some extra fine motor practice, take a pen or a pencil and roll the snips of paper towards the body of the ghost. Then once you reach the body, remove the pencil and you will see that the paper has curled. These curly tail ghosts are just the cutest!

If you have younger children, you might want to use cardstock to use in these cutting activities. Cardstock is a little less flimsy than printer paper, making it easier for kids to handle and cut.

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Thanks so much for reading! I hope that you find these activities helpful these Halloween holidays! Jacinta Xx

Here are some fun printables for you to practice those scissors skills:

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Halloween Number Match for Kids

I first posted this super easy activity a couple of months back as a fun way for kids to practice their early number skills. The idea is to simply match the corresponding number of sticker or googly eyes to each number. This activity is perfect for practicing number recognition, number order, 1:1 correspondence and subitising skills.

Once you match the stickers to the numbers, it kind of makes the numbers look like monsters! So come October, this activity will be a super fun Halloween game too.

I have used stickers in the above pictures to label each number, but you can also use googly eyes! You can even use the googly eyes like counters, rather than gluing them down, so that you can play over and over again.

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This is what you will need:

Copy of the FREE printable file

Stickers or googly eyes

White school glue (optional)

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This is what you will need to do:

1. Print the free downloadable file.

2. You can now play any way that you like! You can use googly eyes to decorate your numbers, either gluing them down, or if you would like to use your print out over and over, simply use the googly eyes like counters. That way you can move them into place, and then clear them away.

!WARNING: Remember that googly eyes are a choking hazard. Always closely supervise your children and never give googly eyes to mouthing babies to play with!

3. I used some fun sticker eyes that we had at home to label the pictures that I posted over on Instagram. If you don’t have these stickers, you could try drawing some eyes with chalk or a white gel pen.

And that’s it! A really fun and super easy activity to play with your children or students this Halloween.

Before I forget, here is the FREE printable:

Thank you for reading. Jacinta Xx

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