As it is nearly Halloween we have been enjoying lots of activities together this half term. Last year my Halloween blog focused on phonics and rhyming words and so this year I thought it would be good to have a maths focus.
The following games are ones that we have had a lot of fun with, and enjoyed the Maths element that comes with them.
Game 1: Potion Making
Resources: 1 jug of blackcurrant squash, 1 jug of orange squash, 2 cauldrons (trick or treat collection tubs from Morrisons at 80p each), 1 pack of halloween themed plastic toys (£2 from Wilko), range of spoons, medicine syringes, cups, paper and writing pencil.
First ask the children to write down their recipe for their spell or potion. Older children can write their own, for younger children they can look at the ingredients and say what they would like and how many and adult can write it down for them. Encourage the children to follow the recipe as they make their potion. Megan was able to read the numbers and I told her the object to find. She was then able to count the correct number into the cauldron. For older children I made some ‘making 10’ recipe cards for Isabel to follow and find out how many. The game then took on its own mathematical discoveries as Isabel started to say she needed 10cms of squash. I gave her a measuring jug to read the amount and explained that we count liquid in mls. She then started to use the syringes and count into the potion, “I need 5mls of squash” Megan was starting to use language such as “it’s full” and “it’s all gone.” The girls played with this activity for over an hour and thirty minutes, they only stopped because we needed to have lunch otherwise I think they would have happily continued for another hour or so.
Game 2: Play dough spiders and monsters
Resources: Play dough (any colour you have is fine), some chopped up paper straws, buttons or google eyes, pipe cleaners, lolly sticks, feathers, bits of paper. (I just went through our arts and crafts box and picked out bits that would work to make different types of spider or monster.
We had a chat before we started about spiders and how many legs they have. We counted to 8 using our fingers. Then I asked Isabel how many different ways we could add the legs to make 8. She thought for a while and said well you could put 6 legs on one side and then 2 on the other side. I challenged her to find some other ways to make 8. As Megan played I encouraged her to count how many straws or eyes she was using. Charlie enjoyed exploring the dough and adding bits to his monster. He even started to join in with the counting saying “2,2,2!” They enjoyed making lots of different spiders and monsters and again played with this activity for over an hour.
Game 3: Spiders web
Resources: Masking tape, tray, plastic spiders (and/or halloween bits from Wilko as before), numbered cups 1-10, tweezers
I have seen this activity on a couple of sites I am on, and thought I could add a mathematical element to it by adding the numbered cups. We didn’t have any paper cups in the cupboard so I decided to use Charlie’s stacking cups and numbered those instead. Pull the tape around the tray forwards and backwards so there are holes left in the tape mimicking a spiders web. Place the spiders inside the web. The children need to catch the spiders using the tweezers and put the correct number of spiders into each cup. This activity is great for developing those finger muscles as well as mathematical ability.
Game 4: Spaghetti brains
Resources: Coloured long cooked spaghetti or noodles (I just cook the pasta, then mix in some food colouring while it is still hot, then leave it to cool and dry) numbers to 10 (I used the foam ones we have in the bath, magnetic or plastic ones would work just as well), scissors, tongs, pots and pans, scoops
Mix the numbers up in the pasta, as the children are playing and exploring they will find the numbers. Encourage them to say the numbers they find. Can they put them in order? Can older children make teens or tens numbers with them e.g. 18, 45, 68? They all enjoyed this activity and having the scissors, tongs and scoops meant they were working their finger muscles at the same time. They were not as interested in the numbers in this activity preferring to cut and scoop the pasta into bowls, but the numbers were there as a resource if they wanted them. I think it is important to note here that while I am encouraging number play with these activities, they also lend themselves to other areas of development as well and it is fine for children to go with their interests on that day rather than try to force the learning, it should come naturally.
Game 5: Sorting
Resources: pots, spoons, halloween pasta from Lidl, other pasta shapes, tray
I was cooking dinner and the children were all being quite high maintenance. I remembered I had some halloween pasta in the back of the cupboard from last year that they didn’t like to eat, so I put it in the tray along with cups and spoons hoping it would keep them all occupied long enough for me to cook dinner. Luckily they loved it and started scooping and filling pots, then they started sorting the shapes into colours and pictures. Isabel was a great role model for the younger ones and they followed her lead trying to match the colours. Megan got very excited when she found two orange pumpkins shouting “look they match!”
As always I hope you enjoy these games and Happy Halloween!!