This simple card game is an awesome way to help with addition! The goal of this game is to get as close to or even with the number 21 without going over. Start by dealing two cards to each player. Have each player add up how many points they have between the two cards and then ask if they want another card. The cards two through ten have their own face value. Jacks, Queens and King are each worth ten points and the Ace is worth either one or eleven points (the player's choice). Keep adding cards to your pile until you reach twenty-one or come as close as you can to it. If you go over twenty-one, you are out of that round and are bust. Play as many rounds as you want and see who can reach twenty-one the most!
Have a fireworks show right in your own kitchen! You will need a water or soda bottle of any size, a funnel, some vegetable oil, water, food coloring and Alka-Seltzer tablets. Start by placing the bottle on a table with a paper towel underneath, in case anything spills. Fill the bottle about 1/3 of the way with water and then add oil until the bottle is almost full. Once this is done, add drops of food coloring and see how the coloring reacts with the water and the oil. Finally, break the Alka-Seltzer tablets into smaller pieces so they can fit into the bottle. Make sure you don't shake the bottle once everything has been added. Add the tablets and then close the lid to the bottle and watch what happens! If you want to add something more to this experiment, add some glitter to water and oil.
Help mother natures get rid of some of that pesky snow! Go outside and collect a tub or bucket of snow and bring it back inside. Brainstorm with your children on how they think snow melts and then give it a try! Some ideas for this activity are if you use a hair dryer, what will happen? What will happen if we put some snow in a pan on the stove? What will happen if we just leave the snow out on the table? Once you have made predictions give it a try and see what happens! You can also do the reverse of this activity and take water and place it outside and see what happens!
Make a Paper Chain Calendar! Pick a date that is about a month away and has meaning for your child (like the first day of school). With a calendar, count the number of days until the event. Give your child construction paper strips and explain that each strip stands for one day. Count out the correct number of strips. Then make the chain by gluing the ends of each strip together to form a link, and adding links to form a "chain". Hang it up and have your child remove one link each day. This provides an image of the passing of time and practice counting backwards!
Play Paper Plate Ring Toss! Cut out the center of paper plates to make the rings, and decorate them. As they dry, fill plastic bottles with sand, water or pebbles to weigh them down. Then write one of the following sets of numbers on the bottles: 1, 2, 3 or 5, 10, 15 or 10, 50, 100 (smaller numbers for younger kids, bigger numbers for older ones). Give each player the same number of rings (between 2 and 4 to start). Set down the bottles and have the first player toss the rings from a few feet away. Ask them to describe where the rings land. When a ring lands around a bottle, the player earns the number of points that is written on the bottle. (Older kids should try to add all points earned, and little ones should focus on describing where the rings land.) Invite the next player to go, keeping track of their points until all rings have been tossed. The person with the most points wins!
Investigate how objects react to light with Sun Prints! Ask your child what they think will happen if they cover part of a piece of paper with an object, and leave it in the sun? Will it stay the same or change? Make guesses and jot them down. Look for objects of different shapes or cut templates out of dark construction paper or cardboard. Place the shapes onto construction paper, making sure they don't fill the entire piece of paper. Set the paper, with the shapes on it, in the sunlight. This can be done outside, or on a windowsill or table near a sunny window depending on the weather. Periodically have your child lift the corner of a shape to see if it's creating a print. Take the shapes off of the paper to reveal a pretty sun print!