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Must-Have Math Manipulatives

 

Math manipulatives are great for children to use for problem-solving and understanding basic math concepts.  They also encourage imaginative play and exploration.  Here are some popular math manipulatives to consider.

Pattern Blocks
Pattern Blocks Math Manipulatives
Unifix Cubes
Unifix Cubes Math Manipulatives
Counting Bears
Counting Bears Math Manipulatives
One Inch Cubes
One Inch Cubes Math Manipulatives
Attribute Blocks
Attribute Blocks Math Manipulatives
Geoboards
Geoboards Math Manipulatives
Base 10 Blocks
Base 10 Blocks
Double Sided Counters
Double Sided Counters
Links
Links
Dominos
Dominos
Dice
Dice
Big Buttons™
Big Buttons
Geometric Solids
Geometric Solids
Balance Scale
BalanceScale
Lacing Beads
LacingBeads

Importance of Hands-on Manipulatives in Math

(taken from article)

Math manipulatives range from simple counting blocks to geoboards and tangram puzzles. Manipulatives work well to solve problems, as a way to introduce new math skills and during free play to explore math concepts. The use of manipulatives varies based on the teacher’s philosophy of math instruction, but these math materials offer several benefits to students.

Concrete Representations
Manipulatives give the math student a concrete object to represent the concept he is learning. Instead of reading about a math concept or working out a problem on paper, he works with a physical object to better understand what he is learning. Diagrams in math textbooks often fall short because the student can’t physically interact with them. The concrete representation is useful at all levels of math, from a preschooler using blocks to strengthen counting skills to an older student using fraction models to understand equivalent fractions.

Engaged Sense
A worksheet or textbook assignment is limited in the senses it engages. The child only moves slightly to use his pencil. Manipulatives give him more freedom to move and get physically involved in solving the math problems. The manipulatives reach a wider range of learners, such as those who don’t perform well on paper-and-pencil tasks. The manipulatives engage the sense of sight and touch. Discussions about the manipulatives — either with the class or with a partner — builds communication skills. You can also use these math tools to write about the concepts. Students can draw pictures and describe what they did with the manipulatives in a math journal.

Problem Solving
Physical objects in front of the learner give him tools to solve problems that are complex of difficult to understand. Manipulating the objects can lead the child to the answer. For example, if he struggles to reduce a fraction to lowest terms, fraction strips can help him solve the problem. He sees that one-half matches up with three-sixths on the strips. A student learning division uses counters to solve the problem. For 42 divided by 7, he gathers 42 counters and divides them into 7 groups. Instead of staring at the paper trying to figure out the answer, he solves it with the counters. Learners also get confirmation on answers that they don’t get on paper. With a worksheet, he won’t know until the teacher checks the work if he was correct. With manipulatives, he can see right away that he is correct.

Enjoyment
Manipulatives make math more enjoyable for most students. Completing paper-and-pencil assignments is often boring and tedious. Students lose interest quickly or struggle to get through the assignment. Manipulatives feel more like playing than learning, particularly when the students are allowed to experiment and explore with the tools outside of assignments. Even when a worksheet or written assignment is required, the manipulatives can make the problems easier and more interesting to solve.

 

Snowmen Books for Children

Snowmen Books for Children

Snowmen Books for Children:  Winter time is a wonderful time to involve snowmen in your child care program.   Snowmen themes and activities are great fun for young children.  We found a collection of some of the best snowmen books for children.  These books are appropriate for children ages 1-6, and they can make a great addition to your classroom library.


Some additional snowmen resources include:


Facts About Snowmen (source):

Now that the snowy season is upon many parts of the world, it is likely that thousands of children will make an effort to build snowmen (and snowwomen) as soon as the first frost is on the ground.

Most snowmen consist of three balls of snow stacked up on top of each other—representing the feet, stomach and face of a snowperson. The face of a snowman is usually ornately decorated with coal or stones serving as a mouth and eyes and a carrot for a nose. Some people even go as far as to give a snowman additional accessories such as stick arms, buttons, gloves, a hat and a scarf, etc.

Although many people enjoy building snowmen, there are many little known facts about the history of these wintery creations.

The first documented snowman dates to the year 1380! That ancient snowman appears as a marginal illustration in the “Book of Hours,” a Christian devotional book that was discovered in the Netherlands. Since then snowmen have become iconic in societies that experience snowfalls. Snowmen are the center of numerous illustrations, fables and even songs. For example, “Frosty the Snowman” is a song that was recorded in 1950 and centers on the adventures of a snowman and the children who built him. Until this day, the song is hugely popular especially around Christmas.

Snowmen have also become the center of competitions such as those to see who can create the most unique snowperson (or snow creature). The world’s tallest snowman ever built was in Bethel, Maine, in 2008. She was named “Olympia” and she stood at 122 feet tall! This giant snowwoman had skis for eyelashes, tires for buttons, and arms made out of pine trees!

Sensory Table Fillers

Sensory-Table-Fillers

Sensory Tables are great fun for children and they get to learn through hands-on experimenting.  Changing the fillers in the sensory table every couple weeks will keep children’s attention and interest, plus it gives them something new to experiment with.  Here is a list of ideas for filling your sensory table:

Popcorn
Popcorn
Split Peas
SplitPeas
Colored Rice
Rice
Water Beads
Waterbeads
Buttons
Buttons
Beans
Beans
Pasta
Pasta
Pom Pom Balls
Pompoms
Aquarium Rocks
Aquariumrocks
Colored Craft Sand
Sand
Beads
Beads
Bird Seed
Birdseed
Packing Peanuts
Packingpeanuts
Marbles
Marbles
Cotton Balls
CottonBalls

A sensory table (or bin) gives children the opportunity to explore the world around them by experimenting, manipulating, observing and exploring.  Sensory tables provide children with fine and gross motor skill development, hand-eye coordination, math skills, science skills, and communication skills. Because sensory play is mostly self-directed, it also helps children develop self-esteem.

Here are 5 reasons why sensory play is beneficial (thank you Homeschoolin’ Mama):

  1. Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
  2. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
  3. This type of play aids in developing and enhancing memory
  4. Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child
  5. This helps children learn sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry)

More Sensory Table Resources:

Elephant Appreciation Day Preschool Activities

Did you know that September 22 is National Elephant Appreciation Day?  It is a good opportunity to introduce young children to the world’s land animal!

elephant appreciation

  • Elephant Weight – Tell children them how much a baby elephant weighs (200 pounds).  Weigh each child, record their weight, and see if  it would take the whole class to weigh as much as a baby elephant.

    Source: www.theanimalprintshop.com

  • Pass the Peanut – Tell the class that they are going to pretend to be elephants. Give each child a sock to put on his or her hand (this is their trunk).  Have children sit in a circle and give one child a peanut (a real peanut or a packing peanut if there are allergies). Have the children pass the peanut from person to person until it comes back to the start. Use a timer to see how long it takes and then do it a second time to see if they can beat their time.

    Source: www.daniellesplace.com

  • Paint like an Elephant – Elephants have been know to paint using their trunks, so challenge your kids to hold a paintbrush in their sock trunks (from activity above) and create a picture.
  • Paper Plate Elephant – Directions can be found here: http://www.busybeekidscrafts.com/Paper-Plate-Elephant.html

    Source: www.busybeekidscrafts.com


Elephant Facts (thanks to http://raisingcreativechildren.com/elephant):

  • Elephants are large animals.
  • There are two types of elephants – African and Indian.
  • African elephants are larger than Indian elephants, they have baggier skin and bigger ears, too.
  • Elephants live together in families. Several families living together form a herd.
  • The leader of the herd is usually the oldest female, called a matriarch.
  • Elephants eat plants. They eat a lot of plants!
  • They eat leaves, grass, hay, tree bark, and fruit
  • Elephants flap their ears to cool themselves.
  • Elephants spray water on their skin.
  • The wrinkles hold the water, which helps to cool them.
  • Elephants live for eighty years!
  • Elephants have four teeth and two tusks.

Elephant Books and Resources:

Preschool Mardi Gras

Preschool-Mardis-Gras

Mardi Gras can be fun to celebrate with preschoolers.  Typically thought of as an adult theme, there is a lot of history and culture that are the center of Mardi Gras festivities.  Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.   Festivities begin at the beginning of February, leading up to Mardi Gras day, and consist of parades, dancing in the street, costumes and masked balls.

Here are some preschool Mardi Gras activities to try:

  • Make Mardi Gras Sensory Bottles – Fill empty plastic bottles with 1/3 karo syrup, 1/3 water with green, yellow or purple food coloring, and 1/3 cooking oil.  Add beads, and allow kids to shake the bottle to try to move the beads into the middle section.
  • Paint with Mardi Gras Beads – Set out paper, paint and strings of Mardi Gras Beads.  Have children dip beads into the paint and dab on paper for a unique collage.
  • Play ‘What’s Missing?’ – place several colored beads in front of children.  Ask them to turn around, and remove one color.  See who can guess what color beads are missing.
  • Mardi Gras Masks – give each child a Mask to decorate.  Provide beads, feathers, sequins, paper scraps, etc.
  • Play Jazz music for the kids to dance to.
  • Use Fruit Loops to make patterned necklaces.
  • Give children beads and ask them to make different shapes using the beads.

 Amazon Picks and Resources: