It is quickly becoming apparent to me that my preschooler, Strawberry needs far more action and activity than my older child needed at this age. She does not rest, but bounces around the room constantly, thinking of things to share and sing, new ways to move, and creative ways to express herself. When it comes to learning letters and numbers, she is not going to thrive on worksheets or even creative desk work or board games. She needs to move.
In pondering ways to make learning kinetic for her, I decided to use the idea of a Christmas tree number hop, with a Christmas tree outlined on the floor. Our simple Christmas tree only needed ornaments with the numbers on them. I made our number recognition practice into a Christmas dance party. When the music stops, it is not “musical chairs” but rather a number hop!
If I had wanted to, I may have outlined the ornaments in a masking tape triangle tree, but Strawberry wanted to move things around, so we kept the tree a more loose shape by placing the ornaments on the floor in a triangle pattern.
As it was, Strawberry loved dancing to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” While numbers are always tricky to recognize, she thrived on this new version of number recognition. I could prompt her, when needed, by hinting at the color of the correct numbered ornament.
After we tried the number recognition game a few times, I added in another surprise: underneath each ornament was an action card! These action cards included simple gross motor activity directions, like “spin” and “balance.” My daughter especially loved the one labeled jump, because she took it as an excuse to jump from the second stair to the floor!
I have not always enjoyed active games like this. It is exhausting for me to twirl along with my crazy girl. But jumping into our Christmas tree numbers hop (pun intended!) provided that rare glimpse into my daughter’s crazy zest for learning and for life!
Download the Ornament Number Cards (1-10) and the Action Cards from my Shop.
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