My kids have way too many stuffed animals. It seems like those fuzzy critters multiply overnight. Admittedly, I have a hard time turning away new little friends as most of them come with a special memory. Sometimes I practically get misty looking at my boys’ collection, but an instant later I snap out of it and see a pile of animals just sitting there and collecting dust. Can you relate? Don’t despair, put those cuddly creatures to work with a stuffed animal party at your house.
Get your cuddle on
A plush friend party is perfect for a cold, snowy day when you’re in the house together. First, choose a location. Perhaps the best place is in your play room. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, maybe open it up to your family room and couch.
You may be asking what stuffed animals and parties have to do with math. Kids will never know that you are practicing their counting skills, working on estimating, measuring, and even tossing in some physics to the mix as you play.
When it is time to move your stuffed friends, begin with a little challenge. Ask each child to see how many critters they can carry at one time. Have them guess which family member will be able to take the most to your party location. Allow the kids to be creative and figure ways to maximize their haul-stuff their shirts or maybe create a sled blanket to transport many at a time. Have them guess a number first and then allow someone to be the official counter to check. Older children may realize that they can optimize their carrying capacity by transporting smaller critters.
Once you have your friends to their new destination, look around for games to play with them. How about making a slide for the cuddly critters? The kids can do time trials to see who can glide down the quickest. They can also experiment with different materials they find around the house to make the slide–do they stuffed friends slide faster on a piece of cardboard than they do on a stretched out bed sheet?
Kids adore Angry Birds, so why not try a little stuffed animal version of something similar? Set up a few plastic cups, or other animals onto an area and get ready to have fur fly. Yes, go with the flow and allow the kids to throw stuffed animals in this controlled setting. Allow them to measure off a good place to throw the friends. Keep track of your scores from each round using tallies and have someone be the number tracker. There are no winners or losers, but someone can have bragging rights for the day. Older children may notice that certain stuffed friends do better flying through the air than others. Does their weight or length matter? Casually talk about these factors and test them out.
Remember that this is all in the name of a stuffed animal party, the learning is just a bonus. Look around your house and get inspired by other items you may use. Math fun truly is just lying around the house waiting for you to play.