Fun Stuff for Kids

123 – Read

We all know the benefits of reading with children.  Why not use your reading time to explore math as well?  In fact, books are frequently used as a way to introduce/reinforce mathematical concepts with children.   Books explore endless math concepts like Counting,Division and fractions, Geometry, Multiplication, Ordinal numbers, Size, Addition,Subtraction, Time, and more.

There are numerous children’s books with math-related themes and content.  Pick a topic – most likely there is a math related book to go with it.  There are even books that you can use crayons, dominoes, jelly beans, M&M’s©, candy bars, Cheerios®, and other items to play (and learn) right along with the story.  So next time you are at the library or book store, look to see what math you can read!

For some inspiration, here are my kids’ top 12 favorites (a dozen favorites to read) – so far.

Have a Great Week!




  • Duck & Goose 123 By Tad Hill
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle
  • Hoot: A Hide-and-Seek Book of Counting (My Little World) By Jonathan Litton
  • John Deere Farm 123 By Parachute Press
  • Five Tumbling Tigers By Debbie Tarbett
  • 10 Trick or Treaters By Janet Schulman (also 10 Valentine Friends, 10 Easter Egg Hunters, & Trim-The-Tree’ers)
  • Five Little Monkeys Sitting In A Tree (A Five Little Monkeys Story) By Eileen Christelow (many more books in this series)
  • Who Sank the Boat By Pamela Allen
  • I’m Dirty By Kate McMullan
  • 1-2-3 Va-Va-Vroom! A Counting Book By Sarah Lynn
  • 100 Animals on Parade By Masayuki Sebe
  • 1-2-3 Peas (The Peas Series) By Keith Baker



Want to extend your story time even further?  Here is a great resource for Math Activities inspired by books from Inspiration Laboratories.


Incorporating School Age Fun!

School age programs provide activities that encourage independence, social skills and cooperation.  It is also important to offer a variety of activities to choose from in a safe structured environment, allowing fun independent learning.

ECA’s school age specialist, Karin Gilbert, suggested you might want to create a Y.O.T Box, (pronounced “yacht” and stands for “Your Own Time”) for each child. This is where kids can store and work on individual hobbies and projects – such as collections, scrap books, journals, sketch books, craft projects, etc.  Although the intent is for individual work, one child’s interest often sparks a similar interest in others, and they then become co-creators of special projects together.

Karin also emphasized that even if you create a Y.O.T. Box, it is important to remember that in quality school-age child care, many activities are happening at the same time in an organized way so that kids with different interests, abilities, needs can choose different ways to use their time. School-agers who help to shape their out-of-school time experiences will stay engaged, longer; so give them a say on what they do, when they do it, and with whom. Choice, flexibility, and wide-variety are key. Find out what they’re interested in by observing and asking them.  You can ask them through child interest surveys, point out ideas in magazines and books, or make a trip to the local hobby store. Or, just ask them!

  • What are your favorite things to do?
  • What do you want to know more about?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What have you always wanted to try?
  • What are you really good at? What would you like to be better at?
  • What do you want to do when you grow up?

She encourages you have a variety of areas and materials that promote exploring, learning, and creating. Your areas might include: creative art; blocks and building; dramatic play; cooking; games; music and movement; sensory play; quiet social area; media and technology, math, literacy and science; and homework assistance.

Materials for these areas might include;

  • Variety of art materials that school-agers can choose between, get out and put away on their own
  • Variety of blocks and boxes of all kinds and sizes
  • Legos, Lincoln Logs, K’Nex
  • Vehicles: cars, boats, planes, trucks and trains
  • Animals and dinosaurs
  • Variety of dramatic play themes, such as: camping, castle, pet shop, veterinarian’s clinic, restaurant, mall, grocery store, flower shop, etc.
  • Variety of dramatic play materials, such as: aprons, computer keyboards, costumes, dress up clothes and uniforms, mirror, etc.
  • Cooking tools and utensils, for supervised cooking projects
  • Board games, card games, dice games and game tables (air-hockey, pool, fooseball, and table tennis)  Here are some sample resources:
  • CD Player, MP3 player, headphones, karaoke machine, and musical instruments
  • Playdough, sand, weaving loom, fuzebeads, jewelry-making, bubble liquid and bubble wands, etc.
  • Age-appropriate books, magazines, journals and writing tools
  • Computer, iPads, camera, printer, scanner, video camera, tripod, etc.
  • Magnets, magnifying glasses, microscope and slides, tangrams, compass, protractor, ruler, measuring tape, play money, prisms, etc.

Karin also recommended the book, Great Afterschool Programs and Spaces That Wow! by Linda J. Armstrong and Christine A. Schmidt – a great resource for quality school-age spaces and materials that includes child-interest surveys.

If you have questions about setting up a great learning environment to include school age children, contact Karin at or call her at 574-360-3070.

Have a Great Week!