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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DIY Rocket Launch for Kids

Here is a super easy science craft for kids. These rocket launches are actually amazing! And, all you will need to make one is two paper cups, two elastic bands and a pair of scissors. Then if you like, you can add some extra construction paper decorations to turn one of the cups into a rocket, but this is not essential. The launch will work with plain, undecorated cups too.

This craft is perfect for kids of all ages. Preschoolers will be amazed playing around with these, while older children can use them to help explain important physics principles such as force, mass and acceleration.

This is what you will need:

2 paper cups

2 elastic bands

Scissors

If you would like to make a rocket, you will also need:

Colored construction paper

Tissue paper

Tape

(You can see that I also put some aluminum foil in the picture. We didn’t use this in the end – it was really hard to wrap around the cup securely. By all means use it if you would like though!)

This is what you will need to do:

  1. Make 4 snips in the cup. Then, snip each elastic band once to form a long piece of elastic.

2. Attach the two elastic bands to the cup. The trick here is to not pull the elastics too tight. You want to retain the original shape of the cup, or as close to it as possible.

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3. Tie each end of the elastic band to secure. Trim any excess elastic.

4. You can now launch your paper cup! To do this, place your unaltered cup upside down on a flat surface. Then gently press the elastic bands on your second cup down on top. Let go and watch the cup fly.

5. If you would like to turn you cup into a rocket, tape some strips of colored tissue paper to the inside of the cup.

6. Then cut some pieces of colored construction paper to decorate the body of the rocket. I added two windows and some fins. But you can decorate your rocket any way that you like. You might like to add your name or even a nose cone! Just be careful not to make it too heavy. Heavy cups won’t launch very high!

7. Once you have decorated your rocket. Press it onto the launch cup, let it go and watch it fly!

I hope you have making your own rocket launcher. Jacinta Xx

Flower Science

I love this pretty flower activity! It’s super easy and inexpensive to put together, but resulted in so much fun and learning for my girls!

A couple of weeks ago we went for a walk together around our neighborhood, picking flowers that were growing on the nature strips – we didn’t pick any flowers from peoples gardens! It was actually nearing the end of winter, so we were really surprised to find so many beautiful, bright colored flowers growing.

Once we were home, we placed the flowers into an over sized ice cube tray, filled the tray with water and popped them into the freezer. To be totally honest, that’s where they sat for the next couple of weeks! But, we finally pulled them out yesterday and had the best time with them.

We used solutions of warm water (with a small amount of purple food dye added) and salt to melt the blocks. We talked about melting points and the patterns that we could make in the ice with the salt. We also noted how the flowers looked different on thawing than they did before we froze them! All great scientific observations.

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Here is what you will need:

Flowers

Ice cube tray

Water

Plastic pipettes or squeeze bottles

Salt

Food coloring

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Here is what you will need to do:

1. Pick some flowers. You might find these in your garden or in your neighborhood. Remember that if you are going to walk your neighborhood, make sure that an adult is present and that you watch for traffic when crossing roads.

2. Place your flowers into the ice cube tray.

3. Fill the tray with water. You will notice that the flowers float to the top of the ice cube tray wells.

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4. Pop the ice cube tray into the freezer. It will probably take overnight to freeze – especially if you are using similar trays to ours.

5. Place the frozen blocks onto a tray. Pour a small amount of warm water into the tray. We colored our water with a drop of purple food dye.

6. Take your pipette and drop the water over the ice blocks. Keep dropping until you see your ice blocks start to disappear. You can also sprinkle some salt over the ice blocks to speed up the thawing process.

7. If you don’t have a plastic pipette, you can also use squeeze or spray bottles to transfer the water. It’s totally up to you!

8. And this activity is a fun one to do outside! Take your tray out into a warm sunny spot and experiment further. This also makes clean up simple!

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The Science:

Have you ever wondered why salt makes ice melt faster? The answer is actually really simple. Salt lowers the melting point of the water, meaning it will thaw at a lower temperature. The more salt that you add, the faster the ice will melt.

Thank you so much for reading! If you have any questions pop them in the comments section below. Jacinta Xx

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Here is a fun FREE printable for you! It is a fun number matching game.

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DIY Puzzles For Kids

If you flick through my Instagram account you will notice that we love making our own puzzles, especially from craft sticks (do you call them craft sticks or popsicle sticks? Here in Australia we call them craft sticks!).

Craft stick puzzles are super easy and affordable to make. You can decorate them any way that you like too. You can paint them, color with marker pens or even use them as a base to collage on. Once the paint is dry, simply pop them in a snap lock bag, take them on holidays and road trips, and play with them over and over. You will never be bored again!

Another neat thing about craft stick puzzles is that they can be used as a fun way to practice number recognition and order. You can label each craft stick with a number (or even letters) and then put your puzzle pieces together in order. Lining up the puzzle pieces and manipulating them into place is also great fine motor skill practice!

Here are some of my most favorite craft stick puzzles that we have made.

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Keep reading to find out how to make our recently published geometric craft stick puzzles.

Here is what you will need:

Craft sticks

Washi tape

Pencil

Ruler

Black marker pen

Paint or marker pens

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Here is what you will need to do:

  1. Line 12 craft sticks up in a row. Secure the sticks in place with two strips of washi tape.

2. At this point, you may like to label each stick with a number. You can label either the front or the back of the sticks, depending on how hard you would like your puzzle to be.

3. Next, take a ruler and a pencil and rule geometric lines across your puzzle. If you do not want to make a geometric puzzle, that’s fine, at this point simply draw the picture that you would like.

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4. Paint (or color) your puzzle pieces. Allow the paint to dry completely.

5. Flip your puzzle over carefully and remove the washi tape.

6. Piece your puzzle back together.

And that’s it! It is so easy to make these puzzles, and the neat thing is, that once you have made them, you can use them over and over again. Just store your pieces in a snap lock bag or a small container whilst not in use! That way you won’t loose any pieces!

Thanks again for reading! Jacinta Xx

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Here are some FREE printable paper puzzle files for you! Enjoy!

Click here for a rainbow puzzle DIY:

Click here for under the sea toddler puzzles:

Click here for some blank puzzle templates:

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Scissor Skills – How to teach kids to safely use scissors.

Learning how to use scissors with ease and accuracy is a really important lesson for children. In this post, I have collated my ten most favorite ways to practice scissor skills. These activities are all super easy to put together and are lots of fun for kids to practice and master.

You will only require 3 materials for each of these activities! Yep 3, that’s all!

1 Scissors: We like to use specialized children’s scissors (with a metal blade) for cutting and snipping. These scissors are readily available at craft, department and stationary stores. The neat thing about children’s scissors is that they have a safety blade and a blunt tip, which protect little fingers from getting hurt. They’re also light in weight and the correct size for little hands. Big, heavy scissors are going to be difficult for children to manoeuver and control. I suggest avoiding plastic scissors, as they often don’t actually cut the paper. This frustrates children and discourages them from practicing and mastering their scissors skills. It is ultimately up to you though, which scissors you feel comfortable allowing your children to use.

2 Paper: You can use any paper that you like for your cutting and snipping activities. In most of the activities that I present in this article, I have used off cuts and scraps of colored paper. When possible, I also try to use a light cardstock. It’s a little bit heavier than paper, so it doesn’t flop around as much, making it easier for children to hold.

3 Marker pen: I use a black marker pen to mark the lines on the paper pieces. Start by marking long solid lines for your children to follow with scissors. Once your child has mastered following the solid lines, you can move to dotted or dashed lines to increase the difficulty.

!WARNING! Before presenting the activities, it is important to remember that scissors are sharp! It is always a great idea to remind children at the beginning of each lesson or activity that scissors can be dangerous when not used correctly. And of course, adults should always closely supervise children when using scissors.

Here are a couple of rules that I like to remind my kids before using scissors:

  1. Scissors are for cutting paper only – not clothing, hair or fingers!
  2. Encourage small snipping movements where your child moves the paper around the scissors, not big clunky movements.
  3. And of course scissors should always point away from the body and only be used while stationary. Children shouldn’t walk around with scissors. If they must, remind children to secure the blades within the palms of their hands and to pass them via the handles.

You might have your own house rules for using scissors that you would like to add to your own scissor safety list.

Using scissors is tricky, so don’t worry if your child’s work appears messy at first. Your child will progress at their own pace. By preparing fun and colorful activities for them, they will be happy to practice and get better and better.

Here is the list of my 10 most favourite activities for increasing scissor skills.

1. Beginner scissor pattern with sticky marker dots: I love this super easy to set up scissor practice activity. These are off cuts of colored paper that I had at home. I drew different shaped lines on them with marker pen and then labelled with sticker dots to show where little fingers need to be positioned for safe cutting. If you do not have sticker dots, you can simply draw the dots with marker pen. That will work just as well! Just remember that some of the lines shown, such as the swirly line, can be quite difficult to cut for beginners. Practise straight lines first and then introduce harder lines to follow and cut.

2. Trace and cut patterns: I love that you set this activity up once, but two skills are learned and practiced! To play simply draw out some dashed line patterns onto strips of paper. Then ask your child to trace the lines. You will see that I added the hearts to one side of the paper. This gives the activity direction. You can trace towards the hearts or away – whatever direction your child chooses. Tracing lines is a great pre-writing skill and helps strengthen the little muscles in your child’s fingers. Once the lines have been traced, ask your child to cut along the lines. It’s lots of fun!

3. Advanced cutting activities: Once your child has mastered snipping and cutting in a straight line, you can move to more difficult cutting patterns. These activities are just as simple to set up! For more advanced cutting activities you will just have to think of more challenging lines for your child to cut along. Think curved and zig-zag lines, and even intersecting lines. These activities will not only challenge scissor skills but will also challenge their strategic and creative thinking skills.

4. Paper bag haircuts: this activity also doubles as a fun art and craft activity and is a cute way to decorate a simple brown paper lunch bag. Start by decorating the front of the paper bag with a cute smiley face. Then take your scissors and snip some hair across the top of the bag. Your child can either cut through the two layers of the bag together or individually. Let them think about the best strategy to successfully make the cuts.

5. Cutting with direction: For this activity, simply draw some patterns on scraps of paper with marker pens and then give the lines direction by adding little arrow heads at the end of the lines. Then ask you children to cut the lines in the direction that the arrow is pointing. You can draw straight lines for beginners and curved lines and even circles for older children with more developed scissor skills.

6. Spring time trace and cut: you can always theme your cutting activities to your child’s interests! To make this flowery activity, draw some flowers onto squares or paper. You can then either cut along these lines directly, or ask your child to trace over the lines before cutting. Again, tracing along the lines is great pre-writing practice. As I mentioned above, cutting the curved lines can be tricky, so make sure that you work up to this activity. You do not want your child getting frustrated or disappointed if the activity is way too difficult for them.

7. Meet in the middle: this scissor skill lesson is a great collaborative activity that we like to call “meet in the middle.” It’s perfect for siblings and small groups in the classroom. To play, we taped strips of colored paper together, ruled cutting lines and marked the midline with a star shaped sticker – again, if you don’t have stickers, mark the middle with marker pen. Then use your scissors to cut along the ruled lines and “meet in the middle.” Remember that this activity is not a race! It’s about cutting accurately along the straight lines and stopping once you reach the midline.

8. Curly rainbows: this is one of my most favorite Instagram posts ever! As well as providing a lovely scissor practice opportunity, it also results in a beautiful, happy art piece. To put this activity together, simply draw some clouds on a piece of white paper and ask your child to cut around the outline with scissors. Then ask them to cut strips of colored paper. Tape the strips to the back and draw smiley faces onto the clouds. You can either stop there, or if you want some extra fine motor skill practice, curl the paper around a pencil!

9. Cutting shapes: this activity has direction and requires a little more concentration than snipping short straight lines. It also provides a great opportunity to introduce shape and some early geometry principals. To put this activity together, simply cut the shapes from some colored paper. Then draw the lines with marker pen and add some little direction arrows. Finally, ask your children or students to cut along the line. This one is actually quite fun!

10. Cutting puzzles: I love it when you set up an activity that can be used over and over again. This was actually an activity that I put together for my girls in the lead up to Easter, but you could just as easily turn it into a dinosaur egg game and it use it year round. To play, I simply cut out the egg shapes, drew lines on them with marker pen and asked my girls to cut along the lines. We then kept the pieces and used them as puzzles! You can store the pieces in an envelope or bag and then play with them as often as you like.

Here is a FREE printable summary of this article!

What are your favorite ways to practice scissor skills? Have you tried any of these activities?

Thank you so much for reading! If you have any questions pop them in the comments below and I will get back to you. Jacinta Xx

Build A City

Activities that develop early math skills are our favourites! We love working on our number recognition, counting skills, subitising and 1:1 correspondence. This “Build a City” activity is perfect for developing all of these early numeracy skills. And best of all, you probably have everything you need to play at home already!

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What you will need:

Build A City template

Blocks – we used our duplo blocks, but you can use any building blocks that you like.

Small wooden numbers or marker pens.

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What you will need to do:

  1. Print out the “Build a City” template (or draw up your own on a piece of paper). Here is the link to the file:

Please note that your printed page will look a bit different to the ones in our photos above! It will look like this one:

2. Fill in the bottom grid with numbers. We used wooden numbers so that we could switch the order each time we played. If you don’t have wooden numbers you can fill the numbers in with marker pens.

3. Identify the numbers and stack the corresponding number of blocks into a tower. Keep building until you have constructed your skyline.

Your finished skyline might look something like this:

Here’s a quick video of how to play!

And you can Pin this to save the link to the template too!

Thank you so much for reading! Feel free to leave any questions or comments below. I would love to hear from you. Jacinta Xx

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