Math

Patterns

You will need: several small objects of two or more colors

Instructions:
1. Make a simple pattern such as red blue red blue red blue
2. Point to objects one at a time while naming them, speaking clearly and slowly
3. Ask children, one at a time, to use small objects and extend the pattern
4. As children get good at this, you can make more complicated patterns with more colors/objects

Alternative:
Clap your hands in a rhythm 1 2 1 2 1 2
Ask children to clap along
Once children have mastered a rhythm, switch to a more complicated rhythm and see if they can keep up

Dice Game

You will need:
2 empty milk cartons
construction paper
masking tape
scotch tape
permanent marker

Instructions:
Clean milk cartons and allow to dry completely
Use bottom of milk cartons as a base for 5 sides of 6-sided dice and cut one remaining side of milk carton to be the top of the dice. 
Use masking tape to secure top of dice to base of dice
Wrap dice in construction paper, using scotch tape to secure
On one, use a permanent marker to make dots on each side 1-6
On the other, write simple actions such as spin, hop (one foot) jump (two feet) etc
Have children roll both dice and do the action the appropriate number of times

Grouping

This activity is a laying the foundation for mathematical concepts like multiplication and division.

Materials
Small toy animals
Small objects like beads, cheerios, buttons, etc

Instructions
Set out a few small animals, say 3
Give the child a handful of small objects that is divisible by the number of small animals, say 9
Tell the child to pass out the objects to the animals so that each animals gets the same
Ask the child to tell you how many objects each animal has

Charts

You can make a chart about almost anything. One of my favorite charts to make with children is who likes what food. I bring in several varieties of a food, such as several types of spring greens and vegetables for a salad.

Draw a chart with a column for each item and rows from 1-10 (or however many people are participating in the activity). Have everyone try each item, one at a time. As everyone tries one item, ask how many people like it and fill it in on the chart. When you fill in the second item, ask children to compare the two columns. Is the second column more or less than the first column? Continue until every item has been tried.

 10     
 9     
 8             
 7                       
 6                                  
 5                                         
 4                                                  
 3                                                  
 2                                                  
 1                                                  
  spinachkale romaine carrot tomato 

Other tasting activities:
  • different varieties of apples (especially good in the fall)
  • different kinds of cheese (such as cheddar, jack, swiss, brie, etc)
  • and of course, everyone's favorite - tasting different kinds of chocolate including white, milk, semi-sweet, dark and unsweetened baking chocolate - just 1-2 chips per person of each kind is all you need

Other favorite charts:
  • How tall are you?
  • How much do you weigh?
  • What colors do you like?