Conker games

Whenever we go somewhere we MUST collect something. My pockets are full of stones, acorns, berries and conkers, just to mention a few. One day we visited Margaret-island (a small island on the River Danube, Budapest) and managed to collect tons of different fruit of various trees and bushes.

Rose hips, conkers, sycamore “rotors”, pine cones, acorns, London plane seed balls, wild pear, seed pods of China tree

So during E.’s nap time I put together this tray of all kinds of fruits and a magnifying glass. As soon as she discovered the tray she eagerly examined their texture, the surface and the inside of the fruit.

We collected a full bag of conkers and pine cones, half of which we took to E.’s kindergarten. The other half of cones we’ll use for decoration and Christmas ornaments (see a later post) and the conkers we’ve used to play games with.

Counting conkers
 
 

I put the conkers in a woven basket and placed the number cards on the table. E. needed to put the right number of conkers below the cards.

When we played this game we’d just returned home from the nursery and changed languages. You can hear in this video how she is mixing English and Hungarian, and also, me asking back “Sorry?” all the time in a silly way ūüėČ

I’ve found a super-cute squirrel grid game on prekinders.com and although we didn’t have enough acorns or walnuts that squirrels love eating, we used our conkers as manipulatives for this game.

How does the game go?

E., Daddy and myself played so I printed 3 copies of the squirrel grid (of 20 squirrel) and put LOADS of conkers in a bowl. You’ll need a game die. Of course, the youngest starts the game, throws the game die and identifies the number on it. The player then needs to place the same number of conkers on the grid. We take turns and the winner is who finishes the grid first. (You can play it as an addition game with 2 dice if your child is older. If he/she is younger, you can use a special die with only 1-2-3 on it)

I’ll be the winner, not you Daddy.
Mind you! Conkers are slightly toxic, so it’s better to know that just a very few animals can eat it (like deer), but people and squirrels never.

 Name written in conkers

I prepared my daughter’s name, each letter on a different piece of paper. First, she put the letters in the right order, then following the lines of the letters, she placed the conkers along the lines.

 Krokotak conker mushrooms

What you need:

  • conkers
  • acorns
  • play dough

Not as good-looking as the original idea, but they represent our family: E. mushroom, Daddy mushroom and Mommy mushroom. (from right to left)

Last year we did some conker threading after making a whole on the conkers with the help of a screwdriver. If you haven’t had enough of conkers, check it out.

What do you play with at autumn time? Share with me in the comments.

Painting leaves – four autumn activities with leaves

 

As autumn has arrived we started to collect leaves every time we went somewhere. We were talking about the gorgeous colours of autumn leaves like orange, yellow, brown or red. We also observe the different shapes like circular, heart-shaped, hand-shaped as well as their edges (smooth, wavy, toothed).

I checked this image from the net to make sure I do not say anything silly.

Leaf rubbing gave us the chance to have a look at the veins:

 

 

Leaf prints

Then we had painting fun. E. chose the colours (I tried to direct her to the autumn colours with little success) and we painted the backside of the leaves and made prints. At first, we used too much paint, but then we could observe the beautiful prints the veins and the edges gave out.

First try

 

Second try with less paint

Another painting activity: outline of leaves:

I pressed some leaves and stuck them on a white sheet of paper with the help of small pieces of Cello-tape. Then we painted the leaves over creating an outline. This was a hit with E.

 

And finally a counting game with leaves:

I drew these bare trees for E. It can serve as a simple counting activity. Your child needs to stick as many leaves on the tree as the number shows.

I’ve prepared printable trees you can download at the end of this post.

As simple counting is not a challenge for E. any more I thought skip counting would raise her interest much more. And I was right.

 

Although it was a little too long an activity, she managed to finish it after my encouragement and help with the gluing.

Gluing

 

Adding the leaves

 

creating a leaf face with the glue

 

Mommy, this leaf is ill

 

There are not enough branches for 8 leaves, Mommy

 

Placing the magnetic numbers – finished!

First, I pressed all the leaves. It’s easier to work with them. Then I presented, showed and explained what to do with instructions like these:

  • Hold your paper down with one hand and rub with the other hand.
  • Let’s mix 2 colours.
  • Paint the backside of the leaf, like this.
  • You can add more glue this time because this leaf is big.

 

Finally, we displayed everything on our living room doors. E. shows her pieces of artwork to whoever comes to us.

 

And here on this link you can download the bare trees with numbers:

 

 

An apple a day…

… keeps the doctor away.

Although we had a week having fun with all kinds of apple games and activities (including the study of an apple) we couldn’t avoid being ill again. Anyway, here is a collection of apple fun we’ve done lately.

I’ve found a great number of apple activities online but I fell in love with the¬†free printables by 3dinosaurs’ Apple Pack. This set contains 60 (!) pages of apple activities up to the age of 8-9. Wow! What a great collection! I’ve just selected a few games that would suit my 3-year old. Thank you,¬†3dinosaurs for this excellent Apple Pack.

Here is an insight what you could find in the pack:

  • What comes next? Patterning activity. I brushed it¬†up a little with Velcro

 

“The spotty apple is coming now”
  • ¬†Which one is different? Your child needs to find and circle (or put a manipulative on) the odd one out in the row

 

  • Pre-writing practice. We tried the easier sheet (laminated so we can reuse them).
Easy-peasy lemon squeezy

But the harder one seemed a little bit too challenging

  • Picture puzzles with numbers from 1-10 (We were talking about what she could see in the picture:¬† – How¬†many apples can you see? etc.) well, she’s always been into numbers, even when she was little¬†(click on the links for earlier posts)
And skip counting by 10s

 

  • Shape tracing and matching – a little bit of revision as we’ve already dealt with shapes a lot

 

After she’s placed all the shapes we practised the “there is…” structure. It didn’t appear to be a problem:
Mommy: – There is a red apple in the circle. And in the next?
E.: – In the square there’s a green apple. In the triangle there is a yellow one. In the rectangle there’s a checked apple and in the oval a spotty apple… or… what’s the other name, Mommy?
Mommy: – Do you remember?
E.: – No. You say it.
Mommy: – Polka dotted.
E.: – Haha, it’s funny. M., did you know polka dotted? (she turned to her favourite toy, the doggy you can see next to her on the table in the picture above)

Shape revision – tick.

  • Grouping. Apples and non-apples

 

She’s clearly enjoying it)
  • Roll and count apples. I guess she enjoyed this one the most. I couldn’t find red manipulatives, so we had “green apples” instead of red ones.
  • The Apple Pack has a die cut-out, but I used only the apples and after having laminated them I stuck them on the six sides of a big die I’d found ages before in a OneEuro shop. First, she guessed which apple will win (which apple will reach the top of the chart). Her guess was the spotty. Mine was the yellow and M., E.’s doggy’s guess was the stripy apple. Then we rolled the die. Everybody had a turn. Even the doggy ūüôā
M., it’s your turn to throw the dice.

Of course, M. won.

  • Apple memory game

This game involved a lot of fun and useful tasks: matching, memorising, counting. And at the end E. tested her toy dog whether he can name what’s on the cards ūüôā

E.: – What is it, M.?
Mommy (in M.’s voice): – Er… I think it’s a tree.
E.: – Good job, M.

– And this? Do you know?
Mommy (in M.’s voice): – I know, I know. It’s an apple pie. (and so on)

This was real cute.

We’ve played these games several times as she’s asked for them both in English and in Hungarian.

We also studied a real apple to see what parts it has. For this I printed the apple parts booklet by A Little Pinch of Perfect¬†and I highlighted the parts on each card. I didn’t put them together like a book, we just had a look at the cards and also the real apple.

She examined all the parts and match them with the cards.

We practised earlier vocabulary like cut it in half, slice it, peel it, sharp knife etc.

 

She was fascinated by the word “flesh” so she was more than happy to consume it ūüôā
I hope the weather and our health will let us go for an apple-picking adventure.

There are tons of apple games that you can check out on my Autumn ideas for kids pinterest board.

Number games

I’d like to show you some (4) number games E. likes playing any time, any place. These activities cover number recognition, counting, colour matching and fine motor skills as well up to number 10. A little bit of skip counting is also involved.

1. Counting Caterpillar

As we are great fan of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, when I found this Counting Caterpillar Busy Bag I was more than delighted. The printable is free.

I’ve changed the pom-poms into small coloured stones. The reason for this change was I found the pom-poms too slippery on the laminated sheets.

So what I did:

  • I printed the caterpillars from the site above

First, she put the cards in order from 1 to 10

  • I laminated the cards
  • I prepared the colourful stones in a little bowl

Then she started to put the little stones on the body of the caterpillars. She paid close attention to the right colours. Pinching up the little stones really helps the hand muscles to strengthen.

She was saying the numbers out loud while placing the counters

Sometimes she asked me to do it in turns.

I’ll put on the last one.

2. Apple counting

This activity is a part of the fruit unit among the various great free printables from Welcome to Mommyhood. (You can find the printables at the bottom of the blog post and the apple tree activity is on page 12. This printable is also free of charge)

3. Ice-cream counting fun

With the summertime here we just couldn’t avoid some ice-cream activities this summer either.

The FREE printable of this Ice-cream counting activity can be found on one of my favourite educational resource pages: The Measured Mom.

Just go to the page above and print the ice-cream and number cards (laminate them for durability – optional) and the counting can begin.

Counting the candies on the ice-cream

placing the right number on the cone

You can finish this activity with licking some ice-cream.

4. Count the coloured sticks

Colours have always been E.’s favourite. So we started matching colours quite early, when she was 13-14 months old. This activity involves colour sorting and counting as well. A year ago I made these coloured paper rolls for sorting colourful objects.

First, I put number 1, 2, 3 and 4 in front of each paper rolls and E. needed to put the exact number of coloured sticks in the right place. Then came the idea of skip counting:

If you liked these games, check out my earlier posts about numbers:

If you still want some more, have a look at my 123-number games collection on pinterest.

Rainbow, Pom-poms and shamrocks for St Patrick

More and more St. Patrick’s Day stuff. If you haven’t done anything that is colourful, shamrock-shaped or fluffy, then have a look at our collection.


Rainbow Name Puzzle (via Still Playing School)

What you need:

  • 7 coloured craft foam sheets (red, orange, yellow, pink, green, blue, purple)
  • printed rainbow template
  • 2 clips
  • 1 pin
  • scissors
  • marker

Still Playing School didn’t go into details how to cut the foam so they fit together nicely so I came up with my own idea.

I placed the printed rainbow template on the foam sheet and fixed it with 2 clips

Then I used the pin to pierce through the paper (and the foam sheet) along the line

You can see here that it is much easier to cut out the strips along the holes

 

It takes time but it’s worth it

Our foam rainbow with Patrick and rainbow on one side and my daughter’s full name on the other side.

When I first show her the strips she was puzzled and a little frightened as they were wriggling in my hand. But as soon as I put the colourful strips down on the table she loved them.

She needed to concentrate hard on putting them in the right order according to their size

 

In the end she spelled the letters then I read them out.

We’ll play more with it. Rainbow in the bathtub is on our list.

Pom-Pom Colour Selection with tongs

To extend our colour activity I gave E. some pom-poms of 3 colours (of the Irish flag): green, white and orange. With the tongs she separated them in 3 groups.
Easy to prepare and a popular activity with my daughter.

Number practice

I also wanted to do some tasks with numbers involved as my little one loves numbers. I was hesitating between these great number cards by Welcome to Mummyhood

and a number activity from Pinay Homeschooler’s St. Patrick’s Day Unit.

StPatrickDayTinyTots

As I couldn’t find nice and St. Patrick related (shamrock shaped or horseshoe) counters and I didn’t want to cut out numbers, I picked the latter.

From the unit above I printed the number cards and laminated them. From Christmas time I had some green counters.

E. did this activity with Daddy as we’d been having a bad cold. Although she’s better now I haven’t had time to relax a little and get my strength back. So I decided to take a little rest in the afternoon. I prepared everything for them in advance.

 

They named the object/things on the card. E. counted them and placed the counters on the right number. It took her 3 minutes to finish. She knows ¬†her numbers. They left the cards on the table for me to have a look at the great work they’d done. How cute!

Heart-shaped Shamrock Leaves

I cut out a lot of heart shapes and some triangles. I used green construction paper and presented them like this with an example she can follow.

Daddy supervised this activity, too, and they had lots of fun. And did a little drawing as well.

 

As they put the shamrocks under one another I placed them in our St Patrick’s Day corner as a banner.

We’ve been doing loads of activities lately. Not only these ones but other fun tasks concerning our National Holiday coming on 15 March. I’ll come back with some Hungarian Revolution related activities for the Hungarian Moms. Stay tuned!