I read the email again. Preschool just closed for the next two weeks. We were back to school after Christmas break for one day. ONE. Sigh. I’ve been longing to get back into a normal routine, and that will be put off for two more weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, I love having my son home with me. He has so much energy, it’s hard for me to keep up with him!
Not to mention it’s the middle of winter and pretty cold outside. I try to get outside when we can but with a baby, we don’t stay out long.
What I needed was a plan and plenty of simple indoor activities. I knew it would be difficult to plan elaborate activities, and with a baby at home, I don’t have time to create anything fancy.
I’ve seen Moms make an apple tree to tape to the wall for one activity. There are moms who have activity after activity carefully created and laid out ready to go. They spend all of their free time drawing, cutting, gluing, and creating exciting activities to do the next day. I don’t have that kind of time…or energy. If that’s you, way to go! I admire you. I wish I could keep up.
Flying by the seat of my pants and finding learning opportunities in what we’re doing is more my style, but sometimes I need some simple ideas to buy me a few spare minutes.
I love science experiments and board games, but that’s about the extent of my “planned” activities. I’m not one to search for hours on Pinterest, and spend even more time preparing those activities.
Dot stickers to the rescue. I started my mental list of all of the skills I wanted to practice while he was out of school for two more weeks.
- Name Recognition
- Number Recognition
- Letter Identification
- Fine Motor Skills
All things I could easily accomplish with dot stickers, and all were activities that would excite my son.
Where to buy dot stickers:
¾” are my favorite size if you are going to write on the stickers. Drawing shapes, labeling with letters or numbers all need to be at least ¾” big. For matching color activities, smaller stickers are ok.
I’ve also found it’s helpful with some of these activities if all the colors are on the same page. I like to mix up the colors we use for each activity, and that would be difficult to do if each sticker sheet was only one color.
These stickers are great, include all of the colors, easy to write on, and are easily removable if you want to use your activity again.
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Endless Ways to Learn with Dot Stickers
Kids love peeling and sticking stickers, with a little guidance this obsession with stickers turns into amazing learning opportunities.
Dot stickers are so wonderful because they are quick and simple to turn into any educational activity. Name recognition, letter recognition, shapes, colors, number recognition, counting, subitizing, patterns, and even creativity are all fantastic ways to use dot stickers and practice fine motor skills at the same time.
The activity ideas below can be used for many different skills. For activities that take some time to draw the template, draw the object and copy the template before you label it. If you are using a train, draw the train without labeling each cargo car. Make 3 copies of your picture and then label one copy for letters, one copy for counting, and one copy for name recognition. If you don’t want to make copies, you can always peel off the stickers and use the template again.
Name Recognition with Dot Stickers
Before working on spelling their name, recognizing their written name is the first step. If your child can’t recognize their written name, they will have difficulty learning to spell it.
- Flower: Draw the stem, leaves, and center of a flower for each letter in your child’s name. On the dot sticker page, write the letters in your child’s name all mixed up. Your kiddo will match the letters on the stickers to the flower they belong to.
- Train: Draw a train with a cargo car for each letter in your child’s name. On the dot sticker page, write the letters in your child’s name out of order. Your kiddo will match the letters on the stickers to the cargo car they belong to.
- Name Cover Up: Write your child’s name in large letters and invite your kiddo to cover the letters in dot stickers.
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Letter Recognition with Dot Stickers
Before doing these letter recognition activities, make sure your child can identify the letters you will be working with. If they can’t, you’ll have a frustrated preschooler on your hands.
When teaching letters, only work on 5 unknown letters at a time. Any more than that is overwhelming to these little learners.
Always write the letters out of order on the stickers. This way, your kiddo won’t be able to guess what letter is on the next sticker. If it helps, have an alphabet chart handy for your kiddo to reference. Here’s our favorite free printable alphabet chart.
- Uppercase/Lowercase Match: Write the uppercase letters mixed up on a piece of paper, and write the lowercase letters mixed up on the stickers. If you have enough room, your kiddo can put each lowercase letter next to the uppercase letter. If not, cover up those uppercase letters!
- Letter Tube: Write capital around a paper towel tube. Write lowercase letters out of order on your dot stickers. Have your child cover the capital letters on the tube with the lowercase letter stickers.
- Butterfly: Draw a butterfly for each letter in your child’s name, or each letter of the alphabet. Add the uppercase letter to one wing of the butterfly, and have your child match the lowercase letter to the other side.
Number Recognition/Counting with Dot Stickers
Before doing these number recognition activities, your child should be able to recognize the numbers you’ll be working with.
In most of these activities, you will be drawing the number in different forms. Using tally marks, the written numeral, dots, dice patterns, shapes, etc. This is important because it helps with subitizing, an important skill that strengthens number sense.
Just like the alphabet, always draw the numbers out of order on the stickers so your kiddo doesn’t automatically know what number is on the next sticker.
- Ice Cream Cones: Draw an ice cream cone and label it with a number. On your dot stickers, write the number in several different forms. Tallys, dots, shapes, lines, etc. Have your child add the scoops of ice cream to each cone.
- Flower: Draw a stem, leaves, and center of the flower for each number you’re working on. Label each flower with one number. On your dot stickers, write the number in several different forms. Tallys, dots, shapes, lines, etc. Your kiddo will match each sticker to the correct flower.
- Caterpillar: Draw the caterpillar’s head and write the numbers your child can recognize mixed up on the dot sticker page. Have them build their caterpillar by putting the numbers in order.
- Fill the Number: Draw the outline for the numbers you are working on. On your dot stickers, write the number in several different forms. Dots, lines, shapes, tallies, etc. Have your child sort the stickers for each number.
- Number Tube: Write numbers around a paper towel tube. On your dot stickers, write the number in several different forms. Dots, lines, shapes, tallies, etc. Have your child cover the numbers on the tube with the number stickers.
Shapes with Dot Stickers
Before you start these activities, introduce your child to the shapes you will be working with. Read some shapes books, trace shapes, talk about what they look like, count the corners and sides, and go on a shape hunt around your house to find shapes around you.
For all of these activities, you will need to make shape stickers by drawing one shape on each of your dot stickers. You will need one set of stickers for each activity. (I used 12-15 dot stickers for each of our activities, but use as many as you’d like.)
When drawing shapes, make sure to draw them in different orientations. It’s important for kids to be able to recognize triangles “upside-down” or rectangles on their sides.
- Shape Match: For the shape matching game, draw the shapes you are learning on your paper. Kids sort the stickers in the matching shape.
- Shape Train: Trains are always a big hit! Draw a train, and label each cargo car with a shape. Kids have to put the shape stickers in the appropriate train car. To make this more difficult, you can have them sort by color and shape. (All pink triangles, all orange squares…)
- Shape Boats: Draw and label 4 boats with a shape. Kids sort shape stickers in the correct boat. Same as above, to make it more difficult, sort by color and shape.
- Shape Cover-Up: Draw large shapes on a piece of paper and put one dot on each shape (different colors). Your kiddo will have to cover the lines of each shape with stickers. To make this more interetsing, draw shapes on the dot stickers and they must only use the circle stickers to outline the circles.
- Shape Secret Message: Kids love secret messages. Draw the shapes you are learning on a piece of paper. Put a blank piece of paper over the one you drew on, and tape both to a window. Have your child cover the lines of the shape with stickers. When they are done, take the top page off and they have sticker shapes.
Colors with Dot Stickers
Before doing these colors stickers activities, introduce your child to colors and make sure they can identify the colors you will be working with.
The possibilities for color activities are endless, but here are our favorite color sticker ideas.
- Flower Match: Draw the stem, leaves, center of the flower, and add the first petal. Your child will match the other stickers to the correct color flower.
- Rainbow: Draw a line that matches the color of your dot stickers. Your kiddo will cover the line with the correct color of sticker.
Patterns Activities with Dot Stickers
- Line Patterns: Draw lines on a piece of paper. Start the pattern, and have your child finish the pattern you’ve started. Until your child is confident in patterns, start with either an AB pattern, or an ABC pattern. Once your child has mastered the simple patterns, you can move onto more complex ABB or ABBC patterns.
Imagination and Creativity with Dot Stickers
The wonderful thing about these stickers ideas is that the sky’s the limit! Give your kiddo a few sheets and watch their imagination run wild.
We did make it through two additional weeks at home. We had lots of fun playing in the basement, playing board games, and of course, Jacob completed all of our simple dot stickers ideas and loved every minute.
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How do you use dot stickers?