Christmas lights are awe inspiring for children and adults! For most families, taking walks or driving around the city to look at light displays has become a cherished Christmas tradition. This week the #playfulpreschool team is offering activities centered around LIGHTS for playful learning at home or in the classroom!
Background information: In 1882, Edward H. Johnson (vice president of Thomas Edison’s electric company) decorated his evergreen with 80 red, white, and blue light bulbs. The tree then rotated on an electric crank. In 1901, pre-lit trees were advertised, but they were too expensive for the average household to afford. From those humble beginnings to present day, strings of Christmas lights are now readily available, affordable, and have become symbolic of the holiday season!
Christmas Lights Pony Bead Counting Sticks for Preschool – Christmas Lights Math and Colors Activity for Preschool
Objective: To encourage practice with 1-to-1 Correspondence through the use of seasonal activities for playful participation.
Materials needed: Various colors of pony beads that correspond to the colors on the free printable (linked above), scissors, and 10 Wikki Stix. PLEASE NOTE: pony beads are a choking hazard and should not be used with children who still mouth objects or children under 3. As an alternative, larger pompoms can be used with younger children. Please supervise all children closely.
Prior to the activity: Print the Christmas Lights file (linked above) and label each colored bulb with one number that the children are working on or have had introduced. For durability, laminate the bulbs before cutting each colored light out. Each of the bulbs will adhere to the top of Wikki Stix strands without the need for glue or tape.
Set out the colors of pony beads and invite the children to count out the quantity of pony beads that correspond to the number on each of the colored bulbs from the printable. Pony beads fit perfectly on Wikki Stix and it is great fine motor work for growing fingers, too!
Additional Activities to Extend Learning:
1) Label 10 Christmas lights with the numbers 1-10. Invite the children work as a group to place their bulbs in the correct order – 1-10. Variation: Label the bulbs with the numbers 5-15 and have the children work to place the lights in the correct number order (starting at a number OTHER than 1).
2) Label 10 bulbs with the number 10. Have the children place 10 pony beads on each of the Wikki Stix strands. The strands make great “10 bars” for counting to 100 by 10’s. For younger children, label the individual bulbs with various numbers for practice with skip counting by 2’s and 5’s.
3) Write number WORDS on the bulbs. Have the children place the corresponding number of beads on the Wikki Stix. This activity will help the children understand that the number name refers to a specific quantity of beads.
4) Write any basic pattern on the bulbs (ex: AB, ABC, AABB, AABBCC). Invite the children create those patterns with various colors of pony beads. For older children: use a wider assortment of colors for more complex patterning.
5) Print two copies of the Christmas lights file and cut the individual colored bulbs out. Lay the bulbs face down in rows on a table or the floor. Invite the children to turn over two cards at a time to locate the color matches. If no match is found, both cards are turned face down again and play continues until all color matches have been located.
6) Print the colored bulbs or invite the children to color the blank bulbs (page 2 of the file). The children can then cut out the number of bulbs that correspond to the number of letters in their names. Have the children stamp or write each letter on the individual bulbs and then string their NAME IN LIGHTS from Wikki Stix strands.
See the Gingerbread or Christmas Themes for Playful Learning all season through!
For Additional Pony Bead and Wikki Stix Math Activities, see the DIY Rekenreks!
For MORE Hands-on Light Theme Play and Learn Activities:
Matching ABCs Lights Activity by Mom Inspired Life
abc Christmas Lights by Powerful Mothering
Making Books: Colored Lights by Growing Book by Book
5+ Christmas Lights Math Activities for Preschoolers by LIfe Over C’s
Lights on the Tree Sensory Play by Fun-A-Day!
Scented Fingerprint Christmas Lights by Learning 2 Walk
Make a Light Bulb Model by Capri + 3
How to Make Shadow Puppets: Play and Learn with Lights by The Educators’ Spin On It