Ten Terrible Dinosaurs by Paul Stickland, paperback picture book, first published by Ragged Bear Publishing Ltd. in 1997, this edition published by Picture Corgi in 2014.
This is a cute count-down book perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. It uses simple language and large text, making it easy for young children to follow the words. The illustrations are bright and colourful. The story is funny, it rhymes, and most importantly there are dinosaurs!
My toddlers have been asking me to read Ten Terrible Dinosaurs a lot lately. They like to make roaring sounds throughout as they pretend to be the dinosaurs in the story. The repetition of the numbers has been helping them to learn the numbers, and we like to count the dinosaurs together. Knowing that the number will rhyme with the previous line has encouraged them to try to predict the next number. They also laugh every time we get to the dinosaur whose silly trick goes wrong, and when one of the dinosaurs gets stuck in a tree!
To practice using rulers and tape measures (and reading them accurately!) we spent an hour or so measuring different parts of our bodies.
L marking out her foot to measure it.
Measuring A’s hand with the ruler.
Both L and A stood on a sheet of paper and placed a mark along the back of their heel, and at the top of their big toes. They then used a ruler to measure how long their feet are. Both of them found their left feet to be slightly longer than the right. They also used the rulers to measure the length of their hands, from the circlet of wrinkles at the wrist to the end of the middle finger. L drew around her hand carefully and then measured the length of each of her fingers.
L tracing around her hand.
L measuring around her waist.
Measuring my ankle.
L used a tape measure to measure around her waist, but the first few times she read off the inches side, and had to try again to get centimetres. They also used the tape measure to measure around our ankles, wrists, upper arms and heads. They compared all of the measurements. They were quite amazed that the left side of the body can be different to the right side. They also discovered that my head isn’t that much bigger than L’s!
Even the bunny got in on it!
This was a simple activity that needed no preparation to organise, but it gave the kids plenty of practice measuring things. Being able to measure accurately and consistently is an important skill, and we will be practicing it more in the future.
Basher Basics: Maths by Dan Green, paperback non-fiction, published by Kingsfisher in 2010.
Covering the basics of maths in an amusing and informative way, this book is a good read for younger learners. It is divided into four sections, one introducing numbers, one for shapes, one for operations and one for data. Within each section, the different aspects of maths, such as Add, Fraction and Average, have been personified with imaginative drawings, and a brief overview of what each one is. There are also some examples to help reinforce the information. At the end of the book there is a glossary of maths terms for quick reference.
This book contained simple language and easy to understand explanations of math basics. All of the information is presented in an appealing way suitable for children. The colour illustrations are well designed and fun. I think this book would be most helpful for students in lower to middle primary school. It is a good addition to our home library for both our second grader and our preschooler.
I wrote numbers in the inside base of twelve muffin cases (numbers 1 to 12), and placed the muffin cases into our muffin trays. Then I asked A to place the correct number of pom poms into each muffin case. She used some big plastic tweezers and some scoop tweezers to pick up the pom poms and transfer them to the muffin cases.
The muffin cases numbered and set out.
The plastic tweezers.
For each muffin case I would ask A how many she needed to put in, and she would read the number out loud. She counted each pom pom as she went, and then re-counted them at the end to make sure she had them all right. As she went, I asked her to do some basic subtraction and addition to work out how many pom poms she had to get to reach the right number.
Scooping up some pom poms.
A liked practicing her numbers and it was fun using the tweezers. Some of the little pom poms were hard to pick up, and this was a good chance for her to practice her fine motor skills.
Placing a pom pom into the muffin case.
Using the tweezers to grab a pom pom.
During a recent trip to Bunnings I picked up some paint sample cards. Once we’d chosen the colours we wanted, it seemed a bit wasteful to toss the cards out, so we made a matching and memory game with them.
Ordering the numbers.
Each card had three shades of colour on it, so we separated each card into three. I wrote the words zero to ten on these cards, and L wrote the numbers 0 to 10 on more of the cards. We spread all these cards out on the floor, and A matched the numerals to the words. This was a great activity for learning to associate the numeral form with the word form of these numbers.
A placed the numbers in numerical order, and then matched the words to them.
Playing memory with the number cards.
We set the cards out right side down in a grid to play memory. The kids took turns turning over two cards at a time trying to make matches of the numbers to their names. We really enjoy playing memory, and we have several sets of picture memory cards that we often play with. Memory is a simple game for improving concentration, logic and memory and it helps kids learn about taking turns.
Matching ‘friends of ten’.
L used the cards to match the ‘friends of ten’. These are two numbers that add together to give ten, such as 4 and 6, 3 and 7, 10 and 0, etc. Knowing the ‘friends of ten’ is important for quick calculations and improving maths confidence.
We had enough paint colour cards left over to make a shapes version too, with the shape names on some of the cards, and the matching shapes drawn (imperfectly by me) on others. A named all of the shapes for me, and then I helped her match the words to the shapes. She was less familiar with the shape name words, so this was a harder task than matching the numbers to their names.
Putting holes into paper with a hole-punch is almost as much fun as cutting paper into tiny pieces with the scissors… At least according to A. Both are good for her fine motor skills and coordination. Both have the potential for a huge amount of mess, which is very appealing to her , yet not quite so appealing for me! Using the hole-punch makes less mess as long as she doesn’t open the part where the little punched out circles collect… And we can use it for a simple counting activity.
We used a single hole-punch as it is easier for A to use. I cut up some paper and wrote numbers on each piece, then asked her to punch that amount of holes into the paper. Initially I left the sections together, but quickly realised she would need the sections separated to make it easier to punch the holes around the edges of the paper. So I cut the paper into separate pieces for each number. She really liked doing this activity. She carefully counted each hole to make sure she got the right number on each section of paper.
Once A had finished with the hole-punch, L used it to make lots of holes in a piece of scrap paper, just because it is fun 🙂
A big pile of plastic beads and we were set for an hour of fun! A separated all these beads into different coloured piles. She was particularly excited about the four shades of pink she found. She also liked the fluoro yellow and fluoro green beads, though she called them “blue-ray” colours 🙂
The sorted piles.
Once she had sorted all the colours out we compared the size of each pile. She showed me the biggest piles and the smallest piles. She also counted the number of beads in the smaller piles. We talked about some of the shapes she could see too. Some of the beads were round, some heart shaped, some looked like flowers, and she even found a red butterfly.
We used the beads to practice making patterns. I set out some simple two and three colour patterns and asked A to place the next bead. She liked doing that, and then she made up some of her own patterns with the beads.
Placing the next bead in the pattern.