Number Pin-Up | Preschool Math and Fine Motor Control




Is it just me? Or do games that your children have a hand in creating give your kids a little more interest? This is a game that the red head and I worked on a few weeks ago. To create this game, we cut cardstock into fourths and then placed stickers corresponding to each numeral I had written on the clothes pins. The redhead chose all princess stickers of course. I had to help her with placement and counting, but that is all part of the learning process.



The object of this game is to place the right clothespin on the card. Sounds easy enough huh? Not when you are just learning to count! I mixed up the cards and had her pick one from my hand just for fun. You could lay them face down or even face up. It really doesn’t matter. The objectives of this game are the counting, identifying the numbers, and manipulating the clothes pins. Just don’t let the dog eat them!



Once she picked a card, I helped her count by placing her finger on each princess (see video). One of the things that really surprised me when I first started teaching my kids was that they didn’t automatically go from right to left and from top to bottom. Learning this order is important in math and in most languages. Once you’ve done it with them several times, they will catch on. Be persistent, but not insistent about this if your child doesn’t want to cooperate. If your little one gets frustrated and starts crying, just put it up and come back to it later, but guide her hand until she gets it.




Once you’ve determined the number of stickers on the card, the next step is to choose the corresponding clothespin. I put them all in order and counted until I got to 3. Then I removed that clothespin and left the space empty. With subsequent cards, I counted the clothespins again and talked about how we had already found the “3” as I touched the empty space. Later on, she will be able to pick out the number with the clothespins randomly placed on the table, but for now, we are working on associating the written number with the numeral.

The redhead found putting the pins on the cards difficult at first so I helped a little. She was a pro by the time she got all the cards done! At the end, we placed all the cards in order and counted them again.

Do you make up games for your kids?

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue



Back in the Saddle

Over the summer, I’ve only been unschooling myself because my son moved to Keokuk and I haven’t had any kids. This week his wife went back to school and Grama gets to babysit and teach!

So what does an almost unschooling day look like for The Brown One and me? He’s only 3 1/2, so it looks pretty much like any stay at home preschooler’s day. We have a check off list so I keep on track that includes sorting, letter and number ID, shapes, phonics, counting and writing, but these things can look different from day to day and even from hour to hour.

For instance, this morning we read a book about trains. We counted the number of cars and animals and we looked for the numeral we had counted on that page. We looked for the letter t. We talked about how the letter t sounds like “t” in train and tried to think of other words that started with the letter t.

Then The Brown One asked if we could play domino math. Domino math is a game I made up that can be quite complicated for older kids, but our objective right now is counting and matching. We put the dominoes down face down and take turns drawing them out. After we draw, we count each side and then look to see if we can match them to a domino that is already on the table. The dots on the dominoes I have are colored. That makes it easier to match, but tricky too since 4s and 11s are both brown, just different shades 😉 There is no “winner” at this age. We just play until he gets bored with it and then of course we have to set as many as we can up on their edges until they all fall down!


We took break from “doing school”, had a snack, did dishes and watched “Team Umizoomi” Then The Brown One wanted to “do school” again so I helped him with some dot-to-dots I had printed off the internet. Then he wanted to paint so I set him up with that while I cooked lunch.

After lunch we went for a long walk outside for PE. He would run with the dog, while I pushed his little sister in the stroller. Then he’d sit on the stroller for all of 30 seconds to “rest” and then off to run with the dog again. When we got back we worked outside until quiet time. I think I wore the little guy out! If he wakes up, there’s some other activities we might get too, but if we don’t it’s OK. There’s always tomorrow!



Reading Readiness and More


This is one of  The Brown One’s favorite books. It’s called WORDS: My First Words Book by Playmore Inc. I picked it up at a thrift store for a buck sometime back.

The Brown One is still a little too busy most of the time to sit still and listen to a whole book being read to him, but with this book it doesn’t matter. We flip from page to page as he pleases and “read” the words. I put my finger on the word he want’s to read and sound it out slowly before putting the whole word together. I talk about the different letters and the sounds they make and if there is a letter combination in the word that makes a different sound like “ch” or “er” I point that out too.  At first, he paid no attention to me, but now he is starting to repeat what I say.

We  identify colors; discuss living and non living things, where food comes from; explore celebrations; consider dressing for the weather; and count things in this book! Just from this one little toddler board book we’re covering language arts, art, science, social studies, health and math! You can do this too. Take any activity that your child enjoys and find creative ways to cover 2 or more subjects.