Math – Made Fun with Food Pouch Lids!

steam activities headerWelcome to another STEAM Thursday!  Not sure what STEAM is?  Check out my STEAM page here, and peruse through all of my previous STEAM posts!  Today’s topic is Math – specifically adding, subtracting, counting by 2s and 10s, geometry, and patterning.  But, as usual, we have also squeezed some engineering in too… we seem to find a way to do that with everything these days!

food pouch lids

Last fall, I shared some ideas for what to do with all those extra food pouch lids you might have sitting around your house… and today I wanted to expound on those ideas a bit.  I briefly mentioned making patterns in my previous post, but Becca has been interested in making more complex patterns, so today we tried a really hard one – peach, pink, pink, pink, peach, peach, pink, pink, pink, peach.  She continued the pattern correctly – pink, pink, pink, peach, peach, pink, pink, pink, pink, peach.  (I didn’t get a picture).

In the process of stacking them up to make the pattern, we ended up building pyramids and cubes as well.  Then we discovered that simply stacking them on top of each other makes a cylinder!

Our main focus, however, was adding and subtracting.  Just like you might use a ten grid to add and subtract with counters, I simply took some scrap paper from our recycle pile and drew ten rectangles on it that we used for our pouch lids.  We started out with basic equations to remind her how the ten grid works (it’s been a while since she’s seen one), but then we got more complex by adding her ten grid to mine to see how many pouch lids we both had combined, or subtracting hers from mine to see how many more I had, or reverse.

I was able to show her the physical ability of the pouch lids to cancel each other out to subtract and find the difference more quickly.

We practiced counting by twos to put the lids into groups of tens, and then counted by tens to see how many lids we have.  We compared the groups to see which color we had more of, and which color had less.  Then we subtracted by canceling out the groups of ten to find out how many more pinks we had than the peaches.

If you saw my post on Monday, you know that Becca considers math “kind of schoolish” and not really “summer fun…” however, she stayed so engaged with this activity that when I said, “So, did you enjoy doing math today?”  She said, “If all math was like that, I’d love it every day!”  HA!  So, now I’m on a mission to make math much more hands on and fun for her!  And you can bet that we’ll be doing a lot more with these food pouch lids in the future!!!

If you have kids who like applesauce (or anything else) in a pouch, SAVE THE LIDS!!!  There are just so many fabulous things you can do with them.  The possibilities are endless!  Please share – what are some ways you reuse your food pouch lids?


Sticky Football Field

As you know, I’m always looking for ways to make Sunday afternoon football games more interactive for Becca – since she’s not as interested in staring at the screen as we are!  So, in my ever-continuing love of all things contact paper, and knowing how much she loves putting her hands on the sticky tree we made, I thought – why not let her walk on it?

Here’s what I did – I printed off two end zone signs for our favorite team (#WEARETEXANS), and printed off the sideline numbers (you could easily print them for both sides – I just did one).  I laid out the contact paper on the floor, and taped it down with painter’s tape (don’t use masking or you’ll leave residue on your floor!).  Then I laid down one end zone sign, and Becca placed the other.  I put down the 10 and 30, she put down the 20.  I put down the 50, she put down the 40.  Until all the numbers were down.  Then we counted them by 10s.  Then, we ripped green paper for grass, and sprinkled them all over the “field”, and she began to walk on it.  She LOVES the stickiness on her feet!  She says it feels cool.  It’s also super fun to run cars on because they make a great sound, and she loves to roll the football across it because that makes yet another cool sound!

You could also extend this by cutting yard lines, and putting a center logo on the field.  We just didn’t do that this time.  🙂

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Total Prep Time for Mommy: About 10 minutes – since I had to type up the yard line numbers, and print out end zone logos.

Total Play Time for Becca: About 20 minutes at a time every day, all week.  Very worthwhile activity!  She has been recognizing the numbers and counting all week, too. 🙂  Sneaky mommy.