Kids love going on walks and picking up things from nature. But what do you with your “nature pile” (as Big Sis calls it)? On our most recent outing, the girls got obsessed with collecting acorns. Choose one or two activities to make acorn collecting a teachable moment!
(Common Core Standards appear in italics. They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels. These standards are used in almost every school in the country. Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)
Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Count the acorns. (kindergarten- Count to tell the number of objects)
- Cut the acorn open and see what is inside. Science!
- Glue acorns on paper and make some art with crayons or markers.
- Try using chopsticks to pick up acorns and put them in a bowl. Tie the chopsticks together with a rubber band at one end to make it easier. This improves fine motor skills for writing because holding chopsticks takes the same grip as holding a pencil.
- Compare numbers by making two groups of acorns. Have your child guess which one has more acorns. Then count to see if he was right.
- Write numbers on the flat surface of acorns without hats. You do this, not the kids…well unless you have preschoolers with very advanced fine motor skills! 🙂 Mix up the acorns and have your kiddo line up the numbers in order. (kindergarten- Know the number names and count sequence)
- Play a game with the number acorns. Put them in a container. Take turns drawing one out, reading the number, and making up a movement to do that number of times. For example: Clap five times. Jump eight times.
- Write the letters of your child’s name on acorns without hats. See if she can put the letters in order to spell her name.
- Make a letter with acorns. Write a large block letter on a piece of paper. Then ask your kiddo to line up acorns to fill in the letter. (kindergarten- Recognize and name all upper and lower case letters of the alphabet)
- Paint with the acorn. Dip it in paint and make some dots. Bonus points if you show them pictures of Aboriginal dot paintings for inspiration.
- Make acorn art by gluing it on a paper. Fold the paper in half and make a symmetrical design.
- Put the acorns into equal groups and skip count by twos, fives, or tens. (second grade- Work with equal groups to gain foundations for multiplication)
- Tell some math story problems using acorns. Kids learn best when they are able to see and count the objects. For example, “You picked up 8 acorns and I picked up 6 acorns. How many do we have in all?” (first and second grade- Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction)
- Use acorns as a unit of measurement. How many acorns will fit across a paper? How many acorns long is a pencil? (first grade- Measure lengths indirectly and by iterating length units)
- Take a large group of acorns (maybe 40?) and have your child divide it into two equal groups, then three, four, and so on. Talk about when you can’t make equal groups. (third grade- Represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division)
- Make words with acorns. Have your child write a sight word so large it fits across a paper. Then cover the lines with acorns.
- Spell with acorns. Write letters on the flat surface of acorns without hats. Kids might be able to do this by themselves. Then arrange acorns to practice spelling words or other sight words.