As you begin conjuring up your home's holiday decorations, remember that you have your very own live-in artist! Here’s a hands-on math activity that will also result in a charming Christmas decoration! These Christmas tree mats and the accompanying Play-Doh math game are a great activity to improve your child's basic counting skills, while embellishing your home for the holidays.
What You Need:
- Green and yellow construction paper
- Glue stick
- Play dough
- String (or thin wire)
What You Do:
- Ask your child to draw a Christmas tree on the green construction paper.
- Cut this tree and use the original tree as a stencil to cut nine more trees.
- Help your child draw a small star on the yellow construction paper.
- Cut out ten stars and write numbers 1 through 10 on each star.
- Encourage your child to glue a yellow star to the top of each tree. This tree will be your child’s Play-Doh counting mat.
- Have your child read the numbers on each tree. Show her how to make a small ball using Play-Doh. Ask her to make the amount of balls that is written on each star and press them on (they should naturally stick). If you want them to permanently stick, you can glue the Play-Doh balls on.
- After she has finished pressing on the balls, ask her to count them out loud while touching each ball. Listen carefully and make any necessary corrections.
- To hang the trees for decoration, you’ll need to make a small hole punch in the top of each tree. Then cut a string or thin wire and weave it through each tree so that they hang in a long row.
Tina Cho has been an elementary teacher for 11 years, mainly in the kindergarten classroom. She is currently a freelance writer.