Counting the Sunshines

If you’ve read my introductory posts, you know I have just recently made the decision to stay home and homeschool my children. This is a whole new world! I am now solely responsible for everything my four year old and two year old do and don’t know how to do! Talk about scary!

I know it’s summer and everyone is supposed to be taking a break (including this tired teacher) but my mind is whirling with plans for how to go about educating my babies without making them hate me or completely screwing them up.

We just happened to be at my parents’ house Saturday afternoon and I thought, “Let’s get started!” My inner teacher wanted a teaching craft-activity to go with the season, started mentally scanning Pinterest, and tabulating available supplies. Luckily I reigned myself in before it got too crazy and I decided on something easy.

Punky, 4, had so much fun! She usually balks when I try to get her to do something that feels like the q & a type learning and teaching. You know, “how many bears do you see?” “what color is the square?” Who can blame her? That type of teaching/assessing sucks all the fun out of learning! Kids are built to learn through play, so I knew it had to feel like she was playing and being silly and it would stick.

The only image that popped in my head for this season was sunshine, perfect for a little lesson on numbers and counting. Punky is pretty good at counting. She has mostly grasped the idea of one to one correspondence of numbers to items and can generally recite her numbers in order up to 20 without much help. To build on these skills and tack on some number recognition as well as fine motor skills and comparison skills I called on scissors, glue, and yellow construction paper!

For the sake of time (we were still at Nana’s house and it was almost dinner time) I cut out 6 yellow circles of about the same size and used the scraps to cut out a stack of 3/4″ x 5″ or so rectangles. If you planned ahead or has more time, you could draw the circles and lines and have your kiddos practice their cutting skills l, which by the way is one of the skills most kindergarten teachers really hope kids have when they start to school. I told Punky we were going to make some sunshines. She was so excited to use the glue herself. I wrote a 1 in a light color on the first circle and had her trace over it with a darker color. Then she placed a dot glob of glue at the edge and stuck on a ray.

Rinse and repeat, figuratively, with the next numbers until you run out of circles. We paused at 5 then I asked if that many rays showed how sunny it was outside. Unsurprisingly, she said no, it would need a lot more! She decided the last sun needed 8 rays, so 8 we did.

It took all of maybe 12 minutes including the prep, which I thought was just right for her little attention span. We’ll work up to longer time commitments as we go. It would take a bit longer if you let your little do the cutting, but would add to the skill building so definitely not time lost. The glue washes easily and the scraps go right in the scrap pile, if they’re large enough, or the trash. Easy peasy, and super cheapy!

Check out the pics below of Punky’s final products. Leave me a comment if you try it out. I’d love to see what your littles can do and hear what y’all think! Have fun!

Not sunshiney enough…

That’s more like it!

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