March of the Stuffed Animals: Activities for a Fun Family Night!
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Children will have fun counting, marching, and thinking about numbers—with the help of their favorite stuffed animals! These are great activities for a family math night or visiting grandparents day.
What do children learn? Children will work on some simple math skills: counting, comparing sizes, and sorting items into groups.
Prepare for the Activities
Send a note home asking families to send their children to the program wearing their pajamas and bringing along their favorite stuffed animal.
Crazy Creature Census
Children practice the basics of counting and grouping using their stuffed animals.
To introduce Crazy Creature Census, say, “Look at all these wonderful, furry friends! Let’s see how many we have. We can all count together!”
- Have the children introduce their stuffed animals, one at a time.
- Lead the children in counting the stuffed animals to see how many there are altogether.
- Next, have children count the animals’ legs. Say, “These stuffed animals have a lot of legs! Let’s count them.”
- Ask children,
“How many legs does your animal have?”
“Who has more legs, you or your animal?”
“How many more legs does a four-legged animal have than a two-legged one?”
Click here to understand early steps to counting!
After counting the animals, move on to grouping them:
- Look around the room and see what types of stuffed animals the children have brought. Say, “We brought in many different kinds of animals. Let’s see what kind of animal we have the most of.” You might have a lot of bears, a few rabbits, a turtle, a moose, and a dragonfly.
- Ask all the children with the same type of animal to stand together in a group. Children with one-of-a-kind animals can stand together in a special group, so no one feels left out.
- Once all the children and their animals are sorted into groups, help them count how many animals are in each group. Which group has the most animals? Which has the fewest? Record their answers in a tally chart.
- If time (and children’s attention) allows, sort new groups based on color, and count again!
Stuffed Animal Parade
“Now it’s time for the Stuffed Animal Parade! Let’s put on some marching music and count as we march.”
Line the children up based on the size of their stuffed animals, smallest to largest. Ask, “Who has the smallest animal? Why don’t you go first, so your furry friend can see what’s going on!” Then, “Who has the next smallest animal? You’re next!” And so on, until everyone is in line.
“Now it’s time for the parade! Let’s count as we march!” Put on some marching music, and demonstrate marching while counting: “One, two, one, two . . .”. Lead the children in a parade!
To print out Super Bedtime Math Marcher certificates and present them to the children at the end of the activities, visit http://bedtimemath.org/stuffed-animals-certificate.
More math fun
Follow up on the stuffed animal activities by reading a Bedtime Math problem and solving a fun math riddle together.
You can fit this into the schedule whenever it works best for you—right after marching, at snack time, or during outdoor play. Read the story out loud, and then talk together to solve the problem.
Today’s math fun: Larger than life
Do you like stuffed animals? What kinds do you have—maybe a teddy bear, a furry dog, or a cute bunny? Toy stuffed animals are fun because they can be any color we want: orange birds, blue turtles, whatever. But have you ever wondered what it would be like if your stuffed animals all suddenly became those animals for real? How much bigger would they be, and would they all fit in the room? Let’s run the numbers and see how tough it might be to stuff everyone onto your bed . . . never mind feeding them all.
Gather the class together with their stuffed animals. Pick a volunteer to hold up a stuffed animal to show the group. “Let’s look. What animal is it? How big do you think a real one would be? Hold out your arms to show us! Would it be bigger or smaller than you?”
ENGAGE FAMILIES IN MATH!
Bedtime Math helps parents talk to kids about math in a fun and engaging way. Visit www.bedtimemath.org to learn more about the free app for families, nightly emails, and best-selling books. Parent fliers are available to download in English or Spanish at http://bedtimemath.org/pre-school-family-flyer.
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