## A simple Christian Easter idea

Usually we are well into our Jesus tree count-down in the lead-up to Easter, along with other special Easter traditions. This year, with the recent arrival of our precious twins, we have been somewhat disorganised and needed something quick and easy. I put together this discussion tray using a bunch of symbols representing parts of the Easter story and over a couple of meals we passed it around the table. The children took turns choosing one symbol and explaining to each other the bible events represented by each.

We usually read an Easter book each day, taking turns to unwrap one every evening after dinner. (We do the same at Christmas.) This year, the special Easter book collection is simply out in a box on the coffee table for the children to read through when we have a few spare moments.

We always try to have a bunny free Easter and this year is no exception, we have just scaled everything back and are keeping it very low key. Still fun and hopefully adding some more special family times to our children’s memories.

## Hands-on maths; multiplying, clocks & time, sequencing and skip counting.

Here are the last couple of tray activities for our hands-on maths this term. While I have changed the way we are using the trays (Yes – again!) it has worked well to have the concepts we are covering in our Math-u-see books available for hands-on practise using concrete materials. As the children work through their books they are able to stop and spend extra time on a new skill using the trays if it is not immediately grasped from the instruction DVD that goes with the written material.

Curtain rings and flat wooden beads work well to illustrate the concept of “lots of” or “groups of” as the children learn basic multiplication skills.

These clock and time cards printed out from the internet start with a set of just the hours, then minutes, then half hours and finally a mixture of all 3. I googled clock/time worksheets and printed them before cutting them up. There are lots of options available online.

Learning to sequence numerals is made easy with the use of a number strip to follow. Initially the children use only the numerals 1 to 5 then up to 10, then 30 and so on. Eventually the number strip is removed as well.

Skip-counting and money concepts can be learnt by marking each interval with paper triangles and laying out real coins. I happen to have a bunch of one and two cent coins stashed away so we use those as well, although I do make sure the children know they are no longer legal currency.

## Outdoor activities – Mud kitchens

Outdoor time has not being going as well as it could lately so it was time to spend a little bit of thought on setting up some structured play opportunities to help the children use their time wisely. Not wanting to spend a lot of money, I perused my Pinterest board for outdoor activities and decided that it was time we had a mud kitchen.

Despite the fact that we have a very good sandpit, the little boys are continuously drawn to digging in the dirt, so after our recent weeding spree which resulted in a veggie garden with no actual plants in it we decided to dedicate one shady corner to the project.

Everything we set out we have had for a long time. Simply moving it all to a new location and adding dirt and water resulted in a whole new activity which was received with great excitement. The plastic oven above hasn’t been touched for months but was immediately put to use. 10 minutes to set up, a zero dollar outlay and the mud kitchen was ready for action.

It would have been a good idea to get all the children to put on painting shirts (Dad’s old work shirts) before they had at it but I naively thought they wouldn’t get quite so dirty as they did! Much fun was had and some (mostly) harmonious play was a nice change to the recent conflict we have been experiencing.

Just don’t forget to set aside 20 minutes for the cleanup afterwards 🙂

## Hands-on maths; rounding numbers

Free printable number strips below.

While I have a moment I thought I’d continue to post about our maths activities with free printables for each activity.

Using a number line to teach children the concept of rounding to the nearest 10, 100 or 1000 helps to make the concept a little clearer. I printed out these number strips and used a hole punch to make holes above each number. The children select a number card, poke a golf tee into the hole closest to that number and then count the holes or hops it takes to reach the nearest 10/100/1000 in each direction. The smaller the number of hops, the closer the number and therefore they know which way to round; up or down.

This skill requires a firm grasp of number order and an understanding of place value in order for a child to be successful. The printable strips start with a blank space so that they overlap slightly and can be laid out in one long number line 0 to 100, 100 to 1000 and 1000 to 10000.

number-line-for-rounding-to-10s

number-line-for-rounding-to-100s

number-line-for-rounding-to-1000s

## The twins have arrived!

Our precious little twins arrived last Sunday at 33 weeks gestation. After a quick and safe double breach birth our little ladies are going well and will spend the next several weeks in hospital growing and learning to feed. We praise God for answered prayer and the amazing blessing of two new little girls to add to our family.

## Hands-on maths; ordinal number

(Free printable ordinal number cards below)

For a child who has a strong grasp of numbers and number order, ordinal number is a simple concept. Applying the labels of first, second, third etc. is something that children are exposed to in their everyday life. Every child is familiar with the phrase “Me first!”

This activity tray takes the concept of ordinal number and gives children practise in using it to label the order of runners in a race, months of the year and days of the week.

For your free printable ordinal number cards and awards click here: days of the week & months of the year and here: race track & position ribbons.

For more hands-on maths ideas see my free printables for addition, subtraction, and solving for the unknown.

## Hands-on maths; subtraction activity trays

(Free printable subtraction cards below)

Today I am continuing with my hands-on maths series (addition here, solving for the unknown here) with subtraction activities for hands-on learning. This (above) is what the “activity centre” looks like on my shelves. I would love to have it all spread out on individual trays but there is just not enough room. A simple plastic box and re-purposed desk organiser do the job and the children take out the materials they wish to use for the day.

You can use any materials you like but it is helpful if there is some way to clearly show that they have been subtracted or taken away. I have out wooden craft pictures that are turned over as they are subtracted, miniature fruit erasers that stand up and are then laid down as they are taken away, double sided 2-colour counters, Duplo blocks and some random plastic connecting pieces that clearly have 2 different sides. You can have the children physically move the pieces or put them in a separate container or some other method of showing that they are subtracted but I think it is good to be able to still see how many have been taken away as it helps with self-correction of errors.

The children choose one set of subtraction cards at a time to work on, beginning with the easier subtract 1 or 2 cards and then moving on to the more difficult combinations once they are able to do these without needing manipulatives. The aim is to have these basic maths facts committed to memory or so quickly worked out mentally that higher level mathematical skills based on them are not slowed down by having to work out the simpler steps. For your copy of my free printable subtraction cards click here: vertical-subtraction.)