Here's an idea for making a super-fun, super-easy Halloween counting book.
I got the idea last year when my daughter and I made a similar one last Halloween in a class we were taking. At the time she was only 2 so I did most of the work. Now that she's 3 year old she insisted on doing practically the entire thing herself---what a difference a year makes!
This book requires minimal materials and hits heavy with oodles of delicious learning opportunities like:
*Number words recognition
*Practice fine motor skills through cutting, stamping, lacing and writing
*Develop reading self-esteem and risk-taking through practicing a familiar text
*Opportunity to extend the challenge by using advanced counting skills (If there are 8 legs on a spider how many legs on 4 spiders? etc...etc..)
*Practice letter and number writing skills
*A mini-lesson in recycling
Step 1: Gather Necessary Materials
Most of the materials you probably have around the house already..awesome...and if not it's easy to adjust so you don't have to make an extra trip to the store.
For the spider book you will need:
white paper (we used 9x12)
a few thumbs
Step 2: Cut It and Punch It
Cut 5 pieces of 9x12 white paper in half to make 10 rectangle sheets of paper (size doesn't matter--this is just what we used).
Use one of the pieces as a template to cut out two more rectangles from the cereal box. Insert mini-lesson on recycling at this point. Never to young to learn how to conserve! These two pieces of cardboard will be your cover and back to your awesome spidey book.
Decide which way you want your book to open and punch holes along the "spine" of all the pages in the same places for lacing up later in the project.
We decided to punch our holes along the top so we could stamp our spiders crawling down the page. It really doesn't matter where you decide to punch.
Step 3: Write It Out
Using a pencil lightly write out the pages later to be traced by your tot. I wrote the number with the number word underneath so my daughter could begin to develop some number word recognition. I wrote at the bottom of each page in the same spot so the writing would be easy to identify for my daughter.
Again, completely up to you where you choose to write on the page. However, keep in mind the goal of this book...besides being extra fun to make and read...is to encourage your wee one to start practicing simple reading and counting skills using predictable, familiar text.
Step 4: Tracing Over the Details
Demonstrate for your toddler how to trace over the words and numbers. Then with a few guidelines established..don't write on the walls, table, chairs, floor, cat...anywhere that isn't what I already wrote on the paper...arm your toddler with some markers and let'er rip!
And don't forget to remind your tiny writer to recap those markers when finished!
Step 5: Stamp It Out
Using a basic ink pad and your child's best thumb help her make thumbprints on each number page to match the numbers on the page. For example if the page has a six on it she'll need to make 6 thumbprints. Try to space out the prints so there's room to later draw legs on the spiders.
We used a very well loved pad we had on hand so our prints weren't the best but all in all the book still came out really cute.
Step 6: Add Some Character
Again arm your child with a marker
Pat yourself on the back for teaching your daughter proper marker handling, counting to eight, equally dividing eight and that spiders have eight legs. BAM!
Step 7: A Little Help Please
After a while drawing 8 legs, 2 eyes and 1 smile on each and every spider will get tiresome for your tot. A task that tries her patience might end up looking like my picture if you don't offer to help out a little bit here and there. It's ok to tackle a few creepy-crawlies in the spirit of keeping your kid calm--trust me!
We call our page nine the daddy longlegs page.
Step 8: Putting Things in Order
Now put your book together in numerical order. This is a good time to practice some ordering/sorting skills with your tot. According to my daughter we were playing a "seeking game."
Step 9: Cover It Up
Make an eye-catching cover for your masterpiece. My daughter wanted to call ours "10 Creepy Spiders" even though her spiders were so cute they looked like they couldn't even hurt a fly.
Step 10: Tying Things Up
Using a piece of ribbon (twine and yarn would also work equally well) show your child how to lace up the spine of the book. Tie the ribbon at each end of the the spine to keep it from unlacing. Work those fine motor skills--work it good!
Hint: Wrap a small piece of tape around the end of the ribbon to make it easier for your child to lace the ribbon through each hole.
Step 11: Ready to Read
Practice reading and counting the spiders with your toddler a couple times. Then, gather a small audience of important "friends" for her big reading debut.
Step 12: We've Only Just Begun
This might be the end of our Instructable but really we've only just begun. We're planing on modifying and reworking this activity in the future.
Perhaps a few stamp book follow-ups are in order like "10 Creepy Jack O'Lanters," "10 Creepy Bats" or "10 Creepy Cats?"
We might even try a simple addition book with riddles like "There are 3 pumpkins and 4 spiders in a field. How many spiders and pumpkins in all?"
Work our way up to some subtraction..."Nine black cats are sitting on a fence. Three walk off into the night. How many black cats are left?"
My 10 year old son saw us making it and wants in on some of the stamp pad action. He's planning on making a Halloween multiplication book filled with tricky math riddles like "There are 5 spiders. Each spider has 8 legs. How many spider legs in altogether?"
And if he does that then he's going to have to make a division book as well. "There are 12 rubber spiders. I share them equally with my friends Soren, Astrid and myself. How many rubber spiders do we each get?"