Skip counting can be a tricky skill for kids to pick up. Like anything, the more we practice the easier it gets. For my wee ones this Christmas season I thought we would make up some skip counting games. Christmas skip counting games for kids play on children’s natural excitement for the holidays making it fun and meaningful.
In addition to skip counting, these Christmas games practice: fine motor skills, patterning, and problem solving too.
My wee ones love counting down to Christmas. Chocolate advent calendars are a MUST in our house. We also like to find other ways to count down – the more the better! I wanted to keep it simple for Sammy (3) but make it a bit of a challenge for Madeline (11). Since Madeline is still working on skip counting we thought of these 3 ways to do our Christmas countdown.
1. Pipe cleaner candy canes. This craft was super simple, but excellent for developing fine motor skills and patterning. We took half of a red pipe cleaner and bent it to look like a candy cane. We decided to do a 20 day countdown, so we made 20 red pipe cleaner candy canes. Next we took piece of green and white pipe cleaner and put them on the red ‘candy cane’. The first red pipe cleaner candy cane had one stripe (green), the second had two stripes (green, white), the third had three strips (green, white, green) and so on. These candy canes were our regular ‘counting by ones’ count down. Sammy has been practicing counting by 1’s a lot – like with this monster number activity.
2. Q-tip Snowflakes. This craft was a bit trickier and took some problem solving at times – a perfect challenge for Madeline. Since each q-tip has 2 ends, we used this as our ‘counting by 2’s’ countdown. We needed 10 snowflakes for our 20 day countdown. We simply took the q-tips and hot glued them together. Using 1 q-tip to represent the number 2 (because it had 2 cotton tips), 2 q-tips to represent the number 4, and so on. This was nice and simple until we were trying to glue 5 q-tips together – definitely took some thinking! We ended up laying some q-tips flat and criss crossing other q-tips over top. A great learning experience. Once we were done we painted the cotton tips with glue and added some silver glitter. (This was why the glitter was left out and ended up on Sammy’s Christmas tree name puzzle you see).
3. Mini marshmallow Snowmen. We made these little snowmen, but decided not to hang them on our Christmas countdown line. We have two little marshmallow monsters in the house, and hanging marshmallows over head and out of reach for 20 days would just be cruel. But they turned out super cute and were a great way to practice counting by 3’s! Madeline simply stuck 3 mini marshmallows onto a toothpick and added eyes and a nose so it looked like a snowman. Since we were skip counting by 3’s, the number 3 had one snowman, the number 6 had 2 snowmen stuck together with toothpicks, and so on.
Not only were these cute Christmas crafts to make in the moment – they are also great learning tools we can use again and again through to Christmas morning. Some of the ways we will use these Christmas skip counting games are:
- counting how many days left until Christmas (by 1s, 2s, and 3s)
- counting and skip counting backwards
- practicing number relationships – ‘Day 6 has a candy cane, snowflake, and snowmen – we can count by 1s, 2s, and 3s to get to 6′
These games are great for any age, at home, or in the classroom! I love meaningful learning that is perfect for all of my wee ones.
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Keep those Wee Ones Learning!