Teaching preschoolers to count can be a monotonous job. How many times can children count blocks or marbles before it gets old? But practice makes perfect, right? So teachers and parents alike plod on, repeating ourselves over and over again as we help our kiddos learn to count. Well, as I always say, there is nothing like immersing themselves in a hands-on kids craft and learning by doing to make a lesson stick. So instead of just counting apples, let your kids make their own apple project felt craft and then count the apples in this fun math game for kids as they pick them off the tree.
Felt crafts are one of my favorite kids crafts. Excuse the pun, but we have “countless” felt boards in my classroom and at home. My kids are always coming up with ideas that they want to see executed in felt. I like to do this apple project in the autumn, when apples, apple picking, and apple cider are on our minds. It’s especially perfect after a field trip to the cider mill. When the project is finished, it becomes a fun math game for kids!
Start with a brown strip of felt for the tree trunk and have kids glue a green felt treetop onto their trunks. Glue the whole felt craft to a big 12″x18″ piece of felt (blue for the sky works well), or tagboard for sturdiness. Each child gets ten red felt circles, or however many you want them to get, depending on what number you are teaching them to count up to. They can glue brown felt stems and green felt leaves to each apple. If you’re concentrating on number recognition you can number each apple, or to make them extra special, kids can sprinkle red glitter on some apples, red gravel on some, and stick one big red button or lots of red sequins on others. Green sequins make great leaves on this kids craft (and less felt cutting for teacher)! When all the apples are ready, have kids stick felt board hooks on the back of each apple. Now they are ready to use their brand new apple project to play a great math game for kids.
These apple projects can be used in so many ways. You can announce to the whole class, “everybody put Apple Number One on their tree….. Now everybody put Apple Number Two on their tree….” for a number recognition game . You can put a few apples on a tree and ask the kids to count how many there are. You can even use this kids craft to play simple math games for kids: “If I have ten apples on my tree and Marni picks two of them, how many apples do I have left?” “If Alex has five apples in his basket and then he picks four more, how many apples does he have in his basket?” A craft or activity that ties in to the lesson is so much more engaging and fun. I have to admit, playing with our apple-picking felt crafts is an activity that even I look forward to!