Teaching Counting Skills with Pennies



Several months ago my daughter decided to empty her piggy bank, all over the floor.  Somehow the pennies got put into a bucket instead of back in the pig, and they’ve been dumped a number of times since.  I decided this week it was a good time to wrap up those pennies.  And it just seemed natural to work on counting skills with the pennies, too!


Working on Counting Skills with Pennies

I started off by showing her the penny wrappers.  I explained that we were going to put 50 pennies into each one.

Because she learned to count by 10′s in kindergarten, I decided to have her first count out the pennies into groups of 10.

She counted most of the pennies out one at a time, but I did show her how we could count them out by 2′s as well.  (That’s a skill we will work on this year in first grade!)


Practicing Counting Skills with Pennies


Once we had our groups of 10, I asked her to count to 50 by 10′s, moving our piles in a line as she counted.

I started the roll off for her.  Those things can be tricky!

And then she placed the rest of the pennies, one at a time, into the roll.  (Great practice for fine motor coordination!)


improving counting skills using pennies



Once we had several penny rolls filled, I showed her how many rolls made 100 pennies.  Then we talked about the fact that there are 100 pennies in a dollar.

I love that she thought she was rich when she saw she had two dollars worth of pennies!


Counting skills with pennies



We counted out five dollars worth of pennies before she lost interest.

That’s a lot of counting!


using pennies to work on counting skills

I did try counting pennies out with the 5 year-old, but he wasn’t quite as interested.  He did count out one roll’s worth, though, with some help.

It was great practice for one to one correspondence when it comes to counting.  (Which he needs to work on!)


Keep in mind if you choose to count with pennies that they can be a choking hazard for little ones that still put small objects in their mouths!  From what I observed with my own children, it may work best for those who are in kindergarten or are older.


When counting you could try counting by ones (working on that one to one correspondence), or you could count by 2′s.  Then use your piles of 10 to count by 10′s.  You could even count by 10′s to 100 and divide the piles in half to fill the rolls!

Feel like doing extra math?  Take a couple piles and add them together!  What’s 10+10?

Keep it fun and they won’t even know you’re sneaking in some math practice!


Happy counting!



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15 Outdoor Water Play Ideas



It’s half way through the summer, time to pull out some new ideas for the kids!

If your kids are already tired of the same old water balloons, squirt guns, and sprinklers when it comes to outdoor water play, here are a few new ways to play with water to keep you going these next few weeks!


15 fun outdoor water play ideas to keep kids busy this summer



Instead of water balloons, have a Sponge Ball Water Fight like Create.Craft.Love.

Don’t just make a sprinkler, make a Glow in the Dark Sprinkler like this one at The Pink Lab.

Create a Water Obstacle Course like this one from Meaningful Mama.

Chill out on your very own Water Blob like this one from There’s Just One Mommy.

Explore these Water Math and Science Activities from The Measured Mom.

Get artistic with Water Balloon Color Mixing from No Time for Flash Cards.

Or Paint with Colored Ice like There’s Just One Mommy.

Make washing dishes fun with an Outdoor Dishwashing Station from Mama. Papa. Bubba.

Float boats down your own Foil River like this one from I Can Teach My Child.

Or create a Rain Gutter River like the one from Squashed Tomatoes.

Work together to build your own Water Wall like this one from recyclables at There’s Just One Mommy.

Make Rainbow Bubble Snakes like these super cool ones at Housing a Forest.

Or just have fun making a ton of Rainbow Bubbles like these from Gift of Curiosity.

Let the kids experiment with mixing colors with this Colored Water Play from There’s Just One Mommy.

Mix two loves:  Legos and Water with these ideas from Fun at Home with Kids.


Whatever you do, have fun and stay cool these next few weeks!

Remember, there are only 18 summers in their childhood; make this one memorable!


Activities for the Letter Y



If you are a regular reader here, you know we’ve been doing a vehicle alphabet series.

We have just two letters left!   Today it’s time for activities for the letter Y!

preschool activities for letter Y


The day we did our letter Y activities I used sidewalk chalk to write the letter Y, along with a few other random letters, around the outside of the house.

After breakfast the kids went on a “Y” hunt!

letter y activity -- letter scavenger hunt



To make it more challenging for my 6 year-old I wrote several words that use the letter “Y” and asked her to read them when we found them.   (I used the words “you,” “yes,” “yellow,” “by,” and “why” which are all words she learned this year in kindergarten.

As she read the words we talked about the sounds the letter “Y” makes.  The 5 year-old had fun practicing the “Y” sounds.

We had one other activity to get us moving and learning outside… a letter “Y” hopscotch!

letter Y activity -- letter hopscotch



The idea was to only jump on the letter Y, avoiding any other letters.  I quickly found that they are really good at this!


When we went inside the 5 year-old worked on writing capital and lower-case “Y” with this letter Y worksheet.  

letter y activities


They both colored  some yacht coloring sheets I found online.  (After all, sticking with the vehicle-theme, “Y is for yacht!”)

And then it was time to build our own yachts!

y activities -- simple yacht craft for the letter Y



We used a block of styrofoam that I cut ahead of time to make the boat’s hull.  (If you have to cut it, i suggest doing it outside!)

For the masts we used drinking straws.  Use a pencil tip to poke a hole in the styrofoam; it makes it easier to push the straw into place!

Then we added colorful paper sails and our yachts were ready to sail!

letter y activity -- floating yachts




Verbal Memory Game




Sometimes when we are driving in the car the kids start to pick on each other.  (Shocking, I know!)  The other day, as they continued to torment each other, I decided to try something new, a simple verbal memory game that quickly became a hit.

verbal memory game:  improve listening skills


I told them both we were going to play a listening game, so they had to be quiet so they could hear.

Then I listed three animals (cow, dog, horse) and asked the 5 year-old to repeat them to me in the same order.

I made a HUGE deal when he got them right, and then I gave the 6 year-old a turn, naming off three different animals (cat, pig, chicken).

Pretty soon they were hooked!

To make it more interesting I varied the lists, giving them lists of animals, numbers, shapes, colors, letters, vehicles…whatever came to mind as I drove.

After a few rounds I increased the list to include four items.  The 5 year-old was super proud of himself each time he got them right.


And the best part?  They were no longer fighting!  In fact, they were helping each other!


This game is easily modified for kids of different ages and abilities.

For younger children you may want to start off by just listing two animals.  For older children you could make lists of five or more items.  You could also ask them to give each other a list to repeat!

For a few rounds I had my 5 year-old repeat the numbers of our street address.  (You could also use parts of your phone number to help little ones start to learn it!)


Have a game you do to help keep the peace in the car?  I’d love to hear about it!  After all, we could all use a new trick!