Books for Kids Who Love Numbers & Math

By on Thursday, October 08, 2015 Be the first to comment!
Math isn't necessarily a topic most kids enjoy reading about, but then there's my son who has hypernumeracy and hyperlexia and loves everything and anything to do with numbers and math. However, I encountered a problem finding math related books at his skill level. Everything written for his developmental age focused on counting up to five or ten, which he was well beyond, especially when he was a toddler. Thankfully, I have found some wonderful books over the past four years that really make learning math and numbers interesting. Or for those kids who crave something beyond the typical counting book, here is a list of books that explore really big numbers, concepts like tally marks and fractions, and/or use math and numbers to teach other topics. 

Books for kids who love big numbers & math - not your typical counting books - from And Next Comes L

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So, are you reading for my list of books for kids who love numbers and math? Enjoy!


Countablock by Christopher Fanceschelli 

This board book was so well loved in the first 24 hours that it requires taping. Counting books for kids always seem to focus on numbers 1-10, which is fine, but when your son is hypernumerate, he craves more and more numbers. So it was a relief to finally stumble upon a beautiful counting book that went beyond 10. In fact, it goes all the way up to 100.

The Wacky & Wonderful World Through Numbers

The Wacky & Wonderful World Through Numbers by Steve Martin, Clive Gifford, & Marianne Taylor 

I bought this book for my son's 6th birthday after stumbling upon it in a book store. I have never seen my son so interested in learning about things beyond numbers and math until this book came along. Sure, now he quizzes me about the facts that he's learned, but I'm just thrilled to have a book that meets his love of numbers and meets my need to push him outside his comfort zone.

Bugs by the Numbers

Bugs by the Numbers by Sharon Werner 

I found this book in our library many years ago and regularly check it out. What's really cool is that every single bug picture in this book is made out of numbers. Alongside the number bugs are interesting facts about bugs and flaps to lift open and explore.

How Many Jelly Beans?

How Many Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti 

This book is a fantastic way to explore the concept of how much visually. For instance, there is a giant fold out at the end of the book that shows a million jelly beans. Of course, my oldest son has loved it for a long time simply because it explores big numbers.

Millions, Billions, & Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers

Speaking of big numbers...this book definitely does the trick. I don't really like the end of the book, but my son loved it. This book was responsible for him declaring that he would like number shaped pancakes for breakfast, specifically a pancake shaped like sextillion, which as he reminded us, "Has 18 zeroes." I laughed so hard that morning.

Other books by this same author include the following, although I haven't checked these ones out yet myself.
The Action of Subtraction

The Action of Subtraction by Brian P. Cleary

This book is a lot of fun and my son really enjoys it. It's been awhile since we've borrowed it from the library to read, but I remember him reading this book a lot.

How Long or How Wide? A Measuring Guide

How Long or How Wide? A Measuring Guide by Brian P. Cleary

Seriously, this series of books by Brain P. Cleary are a lot of fun. Just like The Action of Subtraction, my son has spent a lot of time with this book. There are many more books in this Math is CATegorical series to check out.

The Numberlys

The Numberlys by William Joyce & Christina Ellis

Another book that we check out from the library often is The Numberlys. I love the artwork in this book, as does my son. He loves searching for all of the numbers on the pages.

Tally O'Malley

Tally O'Malley by Stuart J. Murphy

There are lots of other fabulous books in the MathStart series that are worth checking out, but Tally O'Malley was the first book that we read from this series. We instantly fell in love with these books. Pretty sure this book was the whole reason my son got into tally marks in the first place. Now if only I could figure out where his love for Roman Numerals came from...


Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

The main character in this book is the number zero, but I personally love the messages behind the books in this particular series.


Two by Kathryn Otoshi

My son brought this book home from school while in Kindergarten and I adored it instantly! I love the entire design of the book, while he loved the number content. Again, this book has a wonderful message behind it.

A Math Journey Through the Animal Kingdom

When my husband and I take the kids to the library, we always have a competition to see who can pick the best books for the books: the ones that the boys will read over and over every week. Well, one week, my husband picked this book. I promptly requested all the other books in this series from the library so that we could check them out. I really like these books for older children, or children with advanced math knowledge like my son, because they give practical applications for math.

Other books in this series include:

123 versus ABC

123 versus ABC by Mike Boldt

This book was meant for a child with hyperlexia and hypernumeracy. I mean it combines his two favorite things: letters and numbers. The book is extremeley adorable and the illustrations are bright and fun. There's so much to love about this book!

Books for kids who love big numbers & math - not your typical counting books - from And Next Comes L
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Pumpkin Addition on the Light Table {Light & Reflections Series}

By on Monday, October 05, 2015 2 Comments so far
Looking for an easy and inviting way to practice basic addition with your kids? This fall-inspired math light table activity is a great way to explore addition in a hands-on way. Kids will love counting the pumpkins, dumping them onto the sum place, and adding them up!

Pumpkin addition on the light table - a simple math activity for kids from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

For this math light table activity, we used:

Label the clear cups with numbers using the permanent marker (you can see them here). We had cups from 1 to 20. Then place two cups on the light table. Count the corresponding number of pumpkins into the cups. Then dump both cups onto the plate at the end of the math problem. Then count up all the pumpkins on the plate to find out the answer! Smaller kids will enjoy the scooping and dumping part of this activity, which is great for working on fine motor skills.

Join us in November for some engineering and science light play ideas. Until then, check out these other pumpkin ideas:

Pumpkin Patch Small World on the Light Table from Where Imagination Grows

Find all the previous posts in this series on the Light & Reflections Pinterest board.

Light & Reflections Series 2015 lineup at And Next Comes L

Pumpkin addition on the light table - a simple math activity for kids from And Next Comes L
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Kinetic Sand Spiders {Fine Motor Sensory Activity}

By on Friday, October 02, 2015 Be the first to comment!
Kinetic sand is a great material to use to work on fine motor skills. It also works great for building with like these kinetic sand potato heads or this kinetic sand rainbow. But you can also use kinetic sand to build spiders! These kinetic sand spiders make a great fine motor sensory activity for toddlers and preschoolers and uses materials that you likely already have on hand, making this activity a great no-prep boredom buster. They would also be a great Halloween activity for kids!

Building spiders out of kinetic sand - a simple fine motor sensory activity for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

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To make kinetic sand spiders, we used:

Roll the kinetic sand into a large ball. Then simply let the kids decorate with pipe cleaner legs and googly eyes. Press too hard and the ball of kinetic sand may break apart so remind your kids to press the materials in gently.

Building spiders out of kinetic sand - a simple fine motor sensory activity for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Building spiders out of kinetic sand - a simple fine motor sensory activity for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Building spiders out of kinetic sand - a simple fine motor sensory activity for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Don't forget to check out my kinetic sand book for more great ideas!
35 Awesome Kinetic Sand Activities for Kids by Dyan Robson {available now!} from And Next Comes L
{available now in print, kindle, and eBook versions}

Kinetic sand spiders fine motor sensory activity for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L
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31 Fall & Halloween Activities for Kids {Free October Activity Calendar}

By on Sunday, September 27, 2015 4 Comments so far
Do you find it challenging to find activities and crafts to keep your kids busy every single day? Do you wish you could just have an organized list of activities and crafts to keep your kids busy for an entire month? I know I do (yes, even kid bloggers get into ruts)! Well, here are 31 fall and Halloween inspired activities and crafts for kids that will get you inspired and playing every day in the month of October. I've even included a free activity calendar. That means I've done all the hard work for you. All you need to do is check out the daily activity, set it up, and play with your kids. No need to plan or pin a billion more things on Pinterest, just download this activity calendar and you're good to go!

31 crafts and activities to keep kids busy for the month of October! Includes a free downloadable activity calendar from And Next Comes L

As I mentioned, I've put together a wonderful list of 31 fall and Halloween activities and crafts for you. That's one activity per day for the entire month of October. Here are the activities that you will find on the free activity calendar for October.

2. Pumpkin Washing Station from Where Imagination Grows
3. Pinecone Pumpkins from Crayon Box Chronicles
4. Fall Easy No Cook Play Dough from Wildflower Ramblings
6. Five Little Pumpkins Fine Motor Activity from Still Playing School
7. Candy Corn Sensory Dig from House of Burke
10. Fall Tree Art from Happily Ever Mom
11. Fine Motor Pumpkin Patch from House of Burke
12. Simple Bat Craft from Fun-A-Day!
14. Pumpkin Spice Clean Mud from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail
15. Stamped Acorn Craft from Still Playing School
16. Spider Web Blow Painting from Mamas Like Me
17. Pumpkin Spice Latte Play Dough from Fireflies & Mudpies
18. Ghost Volcanoes Halloween Science from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail
19. Sparkly Spider Craft from Happily Ever Mom
21. Hanging Ghost Craft from Sugar Aunts
22. Spider & Spaghetti Sensory Bin from Mamas Like Me
24. Pinecone Bats from Fireflies & Mudpies
25. Glowing Spider Webs from Still Playing School
26. Frankenstein Footprint Art from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail
28. Counting Ghosts Halloween Math from Where Imagination Grows
29. Jack O'Lantern Nightlight Jars from Fireflies & Mudpies
30. DIY Halloween Storytelling Silhouettes from Happily Ever Mom
31. Halloween I Spy Game from Sugar Aunts

These 31 fall and Halloween crafts and activities can be found on this free activity calendar for kids. Download your copy below and keep it handy on your phone or computer. Then every morning, simply open the calendar, find the current date, and click on the corresponding photo. You will be taken to the activity's or craft's instructions. No need to plan activities for your kids as this calendar has it all: math, science, crafts, fine motor activities, and more! To download the calendar, either click on the image below or click the link below the image.
October Activity Calendar for Kids with 31 cute crafts and activities to try from And Next Comes L

31 fall & Halloween crafts and activities for kids with free downloadable activity calendar from And Next Comes L
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8 Tips for Using Food for Sensory Play That Aren't Wasteful

By on Friday, September 18, 2015 Be the first to comment!
We like to use food items for sensory play in our house. There are lots of non-food sensory bin fillers that you can use (see 50 here and 50 more here), but sometimes nothing beats the sensory exploration of rice, oats, or beans. However, we try to use food items in such a way that it is not wasteful and will reuse the same sensory bin fillers over and over. So here are my 8 tips for using food for sensory play that aren't wasteful.

Sensory play tips for kids: ways to use food for sensory play that aren't wasteful from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Sensory Play Tip #1: Use expired food items

Raid your pantry to see if you have any food items that have expired. They're no longer good to eat and you're liking considering tossing them out for good anyway, but wait! Those expired food items are the perfect items to use for sensory play.

Have a bag of expired oats? Dye them! Have a bag of expired rice? Dye that too! Those dried chickpeas that are a few months old? Dye them too!

By repurposing expired food items for sensory play, you are saving yourself from purchasing a bag of rice solely for the purpose of sensory play. You are also avoiding wasting food by simply tossing it out because it has passed its expiry date.

Examples: Rainbow Dyed Puffed Wheat was made with cereal that was over two years old or this tape resist mirror play used expired Cool Whip.

Sensory Play Tip #2: Use peels and inedible portions of food items

Apple peels, potato peels, carrot peels, egg shells, carrot tops, or even melon rinds are all wonderful items for sensory play. You're likely going to toss or compost these items, but before you do, let the kids feel them, smell them, look at them, lick them (if appropriate), etc.

Examples: Carrot Shavings Sensory Play (from House of Burke)

Sensory Play Tip #3: Involve them in the grocery shopping or gardening

The grocery store itself is a perfect way to use food for sensory play. Buying a watermelon? Have them use their nose, hands, and eyes to pick the perfect watermelon. Need a jug of milk? Let them open up the cooler section to feel the cold air in this section. You can even give the kids some proprioceptive sensory input by having them lift heavy objects or bringing the bags of groceries into the house. Or if you are at a store that does taste tests (like Costco, for example), then let them sample the food items to engage their sense of taste.

Gardening is also a great way to encourage sensory play, so be sure to let them dig in the dirt alongside you.

Sensory Play Tip #4: Let them play with their food at mealtimes

We all know that saying, "Don't play with your food," but I don't really pay attention to it most of the time. Why? Because I frankly don't care how the kids get the food into their mouth (hands vs. utensils) as long as they're eventually eating it. So try skipping the utensils at mealtimes and letting them use their hands to explore the different textures and smells while eating. Offer them a variety of finger foods with a variety of textures like dry crackers, slimy kiwi slices, mushy banana slices, or sticks of spicy pepperoni. Encourage them to smell the different food items before tasting them too.

Sensory Play Tip #5: Reuse sensory bin fillers over and over

We use the same sensory bin fillers over and over, sometimes over the course of months or even years. So those dyed chickpeas we made? We still play with that exact same batch over a year later. And that dyed coconut? Again, over a year old.

To reuse sensory bin fillers, we simply store the materials in an airtight container or in a zipper seal bag. Then we store in a dry, cool place until the next time we want to use it.

Sensory Play Tip #6: Share your sensory bin stash after your children outgrow it

When your children outgrow the sensory materials that you have collected and stored (or perhaps they don't even like the texture of a particular material), then consider donating and sharing it with others. Donate your unused sensory bin fillers to a preschool, a daycare, a friend, or any other early childhood facility to reuse. Recycle that sensory collection!

Sensory Play Tip #7: Incorporate sensory play into cooking, baking, and meal prep times

There's no need to create a sensory stash of dyed oats and chickpeas, etc. because you can easily incorporate sensory into cooking, baking, and meal prep times. For example, your children could knead pizza or bread dough. Or they could lick the spoon after making chocolate cake. Let them smell spice containers as you cook. Or they can scoop and measure the flour for a recipe. You likely know how messy scooping flour can be with little kids and they will inevitably get some flour on their hands or arms. That right there is sensory play.

Sensory Play Tip #8: Use a splat mat to reduce waste

When we play with sensory bins, I always use a shower curtain as a splat mat on the floor. It not only helps to protect the floor or carpet if we are using something really messy and colorful, but it also catches and contains any sensory bin fillers that may spill out during sensory play. When the kids are done playing, I simply pick up the shower curtain and shake the items back into the sensory bin before putting the materials away for storage.

Examples: See our splat mat in action here. I simply just picked up the mat, shook the coconut back into the bin, and then reused it. In contrast, you can see how not using a splat mat creates more waste here.

Want to learn more about sensory processing? Then you'll want to check out the book Sensory Processing 101! There's a great deal on the eBook version until September 22, 2015 (see image below) or you can purchase a print copy on Amazon.

Save on the brand new book Sensory Processing 101! Get extra freebies and save $5! (valid until September 22, 2015)
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Fall Leaves Soap Foam Sensory Play

By on Monday, September 14, 2015 Be the first to comment!
Have the leaves started changing colors where you live? Ours definitely have! We don't quite have red and orange colored leaves yet, but soon we will. To capture the lovely fall leaf colors, I put together this simple messy sensory activity using soap foam. But really, it's just an activity I did to trick my youngest into doing something he often resists. Find out what it is!

Fall leaves sensory play - digging for autumn leaves in soap foam from And Next Comes L
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Fine Motor Mix & Match Animals Busy Bag

By on Saturday, September 12, 2015 4 Comments so far
We have loved busy bags at our house for years now, but I think this mix and match animals busy bag may be the cutest one that I've ever made. My boys have created many animal hybrids with this busy bag and the animals have sparked hours of creativity and imaginative play. But what I love, is that these mix and match animals are a great way to work on fine motor skills.

Mix & Match foam animals: fine motor busy bag idea for kids from And Next Comes L

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To make these mix and match foam animals, I used:

To make these animals, I cut out a body for the animal using the craft foam. I then added details like eyes, nose, stripes, etc. with permanent markers. For each animal, I made four clothespin legs and one clothespin tail. I made three different animals: pig, giraffe, and zebra. You could easily make any creature you wanted, not necessarily just animals. Think dinosaurs for example. Here's the complete set:

Mix & Match foam animals: fine motor busy bag idea for kids from And Next Comes L

When the animal's legs are clipped on, it can stand up on its own.

Fine motor mix & match animals busy bag idea for kids from And Next Comes L

And you can even clip different legs onto different animals. How about that zebra pig? Or the zebra with giraffe legs and a pig tail? Cute, right?

Fine motor mix & match animals busy bag idea for kids from And Next Comes L

Meanwhile, the kids are getting important fine motor practice in.

Fine motor mix & match animals busy bag idea for kids from And Next Comes L

Fine motor mix & match animals busy bag idea for kids from And Next Comes L

Other cool ways to play and learn with clothespins:

Mix & Match foam animals: fine motor busy bag idea for kids from And Next Comes L
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