Jumping Chalk Numbers

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the product link I will receive a small commission from any purchase you make at no extra cost to you.

Bunny aged 40 months

Bunny learnt to jump a couple of days before her 3rd birthday, so she still has quite a bit to learn. This week she showed us that she could actually jump forward over a rope (with lots of excited giggling!) so I decided to harness that to help her learn some numbers. You could use this equally well to learn letters, shapes or just pictures if your child can jump before they are ready to learn the other things.

We went out to our driveway with some chalk (I would recommend pavement chalk affiliate or jumbo/thick chalks so it is easier to write big numbers/letters/shapes and they are a little stronger if dropped). We used IKEA MALA chalk which worked well, and is £1 for 10 (2 each of 5 colours).

Bunny already recognises the numbers up to 10 and counts almost to 20 so I started with drawing the numbers to 20 in a line along the ground and let her start at 0 and jump all the way to 20, calling out the numbers as she went. This is great for kinesthetic learners, visual learners and auditory learners!

As you can see, she had fun! I think it would have been more successful if she already knew more of the teen numbers. She was able to point to a couple of them when I asked where e.g. 16 was, but only a couple. I wrote the numbers close together on purpose, each one was about the size of her foot with a one-inch gap, but now I know she can jump further I would do bigger gaps.

Then I drew out the numbers 11-20 in a part of our brick drive which has a pattern, I used the pattern as a grid and when I asked her to jump to numbers when I called them out to her.

Teen numbers

This turned out to be too difficult for her so I dropped down to only the numbers 1-6. She thought this was great fun and loved using her new jumping skills. I added a 1 in front of the number 1 and called out 11 to her. She worked out that “11” must be eleven and jumped to it. After a few more calls I added a 1 in front of the 2 and we worked a bit on number 12 too.

Eleven and Twelve

After a bit Bunny decided to cross out the 11 and 12 (pink chalk)! We didn’t do much more number work after that!

Finally she started to do some bigger jumps, so we did a bit of long-jumping from a standing start. I marked where the back of her feet were (pink chalk) and she was able to do some improvements and was thrilled to see how much it changed (and I had some turns too!)

Since we did this activity she has been asking if it has rained yet, as she knows this will wash the chalk away, and she has also asked to go out and play on them again. It has been a great gross motor activity for her which we will definitely do again. I will use this for reviewing concepts she knows and extending slowly to a couple of new ideas, not too many at once. It was a great way to get outside and have some fun together too!

Linking up to Tot School at 1+1+1=1.


Sewing with Numbers – Circle Skirts

When I taught maths I would be asked the question: “how is this useful?” Or the student might say “I’m never going to need this in real life!”

First of all, you need it for your exams in 3 months time…

Anyway, one of my hobbies is sewing.

Interested Blog Reader: “Sewing and maths, you say? They don’t seem like they go together!”

NumberJacqui: “Oh, but they do! The mathematical and logical aspect of sewing is one of my favourite parts!”

Slightly Worried Blog Reader: “Err, ok then…”

NumberJacqui: “Here, let me show you!”

Let’s talk circle skirts. Cute on small girls and big girls alike, right? There are lots of circle skirt tutorials out there so if you want more detail on how to actually make one then look elsewhere (I recommend Made Everyday with Dana), I’m just all about the maths here! We’re going to work out the measurements for your skirt and how much fabric you need. I haven’t added in hem or seam allowances, however, so you may wish to add in an inch or so of length and seam allowances if you need to make a two-piece circle skirt.

Circle skirt measurements

So you need your/her waist measurement.  I’m going to use a fictitious 30″ (30 inches = 30 x 2.54 cm = 76.2 cm if you prefer to work in cm), and let’s not examine the reason behind that!

We know from our school days that the length around the edge or circumference of a circle, C, is: C = 2πr, where π (pi) is 3.14159265… and r is the radius of a circle, the distance from the centre to the edge or circumference.

I’m going to rearrange this formula for you (kind, huh?):

C =  2πr

C/2π = r

So to find the radius of the waist measurement, which will be the hole in our skirt, which we will call h, (assuming a circle – please don’t be offended!) we calculate:

h = 30/2π = 30/6.2831853…

But actually I’m just going to use 30/6.28, because basically my cutting and measuring skills (not to mention the circle assumption) aren’t accurate enough for the rest to matter… If I use the correct value for π I will get h = 4.774648292… and if I use 3.14 then h = 4.777070… So that’s pretty close, out of interest it is a percentage difference of 0.05%! And when I see I need to use 4.77″, I’m really going to cut 4 3/4 anyway. Always remember to go on the small side for this because you can always cut a bit bigger again, but you can’t put it back if you make the hole too big.

So now I know the radius for my waist hole is 4 3/4 inches. How long do I want my fictitious skirt to be? I’m going to say 25″ (63.5 cm). Let me clarify that I do not have a tape measure right now so I can’t say if this is actually a skirt length I would wear.

Length l = 25, so the radius of the whole skirt (let’s call this r) can be found by adding the two quantities together, f = l + r = 25 + 4 3/4 = 29 3/4 inches. Now you have enough information to start cutting out your skirt… Or do you?!

It depends on your personal fabric stash. How big a piece of fabric are you going to need? You need to know the diameter of your skirt. This is 2 x f = 59 1/2 ” in my example. So you will need fabric which is 60″ wide (150 cm) and you will want 60″ of it, which is 1 2/3 yards (1.5 m), so you might need to buy 2 yards to make this skirt.

If your chosen fabric doesn’t come in 60″ width, and instead comes in 44″ width, you will need to buy a lot more and cut two semicircles out to sew together. The maximum you will need is 2 times your diameter, or 120″ = 3 1/3 yards = 3 m. You should be able to squeeze it together a bit and not have to buy quite this much (3 yards for example) but please don’t just take my word for it! And pay attention to pattern direction etc.

I have worked out some maths for you if you really want to know how small a piece of fabric you should be able to fit your two-part circle skirt into.

Here is a picture of what your fabric cutting guide would look like. We need to find out the length of fabric we need. This will be (from the picture) r + x + r. The w is the width of the fabric.Circle skirt fabric cutting guide

To find out the length of x we need to use Pythagoras’ theorem on the triangle in the middle of the picture.

Circle skirt fabric quantity calculations

This shows us that the length of fabric needed for this skirt is 100.79″, which is 2.56 m, under 3 yards.

I’m going to give you the formulae you need to work all this stuff out for yourself!

Letters:  h = radius of hole; C = waist circumference; l = length of skirt; r = full radius of skirt; w = width of fabric; q = quantity (length) of fabric to buy; x = extra quantity of fabric needed when making a skirt in two parts, as described above. For r, you can use a value with seam and hem allowance added in too. Then you can use this value to find the quantity of fabric you require as I have calculated below.Circle skirt example

Radius of hole, h:

h = C/6.28

Full radius of skirt, r:

r = h + l

Now the fabric options:

If 2r < w (if the diameter, or two times full radius, of your skirt is less than the width of fabric), q = 2r and you can make your skirt in one piece.

Or if 2r > w, you need to make a skirt in two pieces, so you need to find x:

x2 = (2r)2 – w2

x = √( (2r)2 – w2)

q = 2r + x

So this can definitely save you money at the fabric shop!

Hence, erstwhile teenage student of mine, why you must pay attention in maths! 😉

Please don’t solely trust my calculations on this one, I would hate to be the cause of a sewing disaster. What I would do is give a little bit more wiggle room for cutting and for seam allowance, and draw a scale diagram. My fabric cutting guide picture was actually a scale diagram to check my maths. I used 2 mm = 1″ if that’s not too confusing! In other words instead of drawing semicircles with radius 30″ I used semicircles with radius 6 cm (60 mm); for fabric width 44″ I drew the rectangle 8.8cm (88 mm) wide, and it turned out close enough that I was happy I had done my calculations correctly.

I hope you have fun twirling in your circle skirts! Bunny and I do!


Menu Plan Monday 29/08/16 with my Toad in the Hole Recipe

My aim on NumberJacqui.com is to share my love of maths so that you might love it too. What does that have to do with menu planning?

Let me show you how menu planning is mathematically wonderful!

Starting with your weekly shopping trip: of 7 days in a week, let’s say you manage to buy enough for 4 meals, with some more food available for the other three days but you’ve forgotten a few ingredients. This could lead to an average of maybe two additional shopping trips for essentials. Unfortunately, by the time you notice you’re missing those essentials it is already 5pm, which some mums call the witching hour, when the hungry kiddies go crazy. If you happen to take one hungry kiddy or one hungry adult on your essentials shopping trip, one tin of tomatoes turns into £20 of things that looked so good at the time… That comes to £40 extra per week, which you could have saved most of, say £35, if you had menu-planned and written a shopping list before the week started. £35 per week is £1820. I don’t know about you, but I have better uses for £1820 per year than those sweets and biscuits!

Monday: Homemade burgers (I use 2lb/1kg minced beef, 1 egg, 1 onion, and Schwarz Season-All, then form into patties and freeze) with bread/coconut bread

Tuesday: Pizza (see bottom of post for recipe)

Wednesday: Bolognese with pasta/buckwheat pasta. This is my minced beef cooking day where I cook several kilograms in bulk and freeze it in correct portion sizes for our family, see Ground Beef Cooking at A Slob Comes Clean, so I’ll do that in the morning and then throw one portion into the slow cooker (we use about 400g raw/300g cooked minced beef between two adults and one bolognese-loving-3-year-old) with one carton of tomato passata (500ml), a shake (handful?) of chopped frozen onion (I do this in bulk and freeze it too because I never need a whole onion and I really don’t like chopping them, so I’d rather do it once a month), and a big shake each of salt, Schwarz Season-All, and oregano/Italian seasoning.

Thursday: Toad in the hole (recipes below, again with normal version and my allergy-friendly-for-my-allergies, paleo-ish version) with veggies

Friday: Pork loin steaks with potato/sweet potato chips, broccoli and carrots

Saturday: Eating with my parents

Sunday: Roast gammon in the slow cooker with potato/sweet potato chips, broccoli and carrots (we didn’t manage this last week so I’m going to try again)

Toad in the hole ingredients (Hubby’s normal version)


1 egg

40g plain flour

75ml milk

Ingredients (my version)


1 egg

15g ground almonds

25g buckwheat flour

75ml almond milk

Method (both versions)

Preheat oven to 220 C/430 F.

Cook sausages in pans (I use approx 8″ round cake tins) with enough oil to generously cover the base of the pan (probably a couple of tablespoons) for 10 minutes.

While they are cooking, mix up the batter from the other ingredients, whisking lots of air in.

The next step involves being speedy! Quickly take the pan out of the oven, pour in the batter and put it back in the oven. It is important to keep the oil hot (it should be bubbling when you take the sausages out of the oven) but be careful not to burn yourself. It should stay in for another 20-25 minutes. If you have trouble getting the sausages and hole to be done at the same time, try adjusting the timings of how long you cook the sausages before you add the batter.

My version doesn’t really rise, but it does taste quite like the normal version if you’ve forgotten what wheat tastes like…

Two tins of toads

I’ve found that my version takes a few minutes longer than the normal one (25-30 minutes), hence the slightly-overdone normal version in the picture! They were both yummy anyway, Bunny loves Toad in the Hole – and she only eats my version.

I am linking up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie. Be sure to check out her link to a grocery budget makeover course, that’s some more maths that can benefit you!

Menu Plan Monday


Pascal’s Triangle with Probability

Pascal's Triangle

Last week in this series we used a web or network of nodes and found our way to Pascal’s triangle.

Today we’re starting with the old coin-flipping experiment. You must have done one of those, where you flip coins 100 times and end up smelling of pennies? Well, we’re not going to do that! Not even with gloves on to avoid the smell.

Here’s a picture of what can happen if you flip one coin:

1 coin results

You can get a head with the first coin or a tail. (This is where the 1/2 probability of flipping a head or a tail on a coin come in – one chance out of two results, so 1/2.)

How about two coins?

2 coin results

Both heads (HH), a head and a tail (HT), a tail and a head (TH), or both tails (TT). Can you see how the middle two pictures are different? This means that you need to count them as different possibilities, there are four different results, one gives two heads, two give a head an a tail, one gives two tails. (Hence the probabilities: two heads has a probability of one out of four, 1/4; a head and a tail in any order has a probability of 2/4 = 1/2; two tails has a probability of 1/4.)

How about three?

All heads (red label), three different ways for two heads and one tail (orange writing), three different ways for one head and two tails (green label), or all tails (blue label.

Shall we write these options out in a table? I’m writing “the number of ways of getting an outcome”.

1 1
1 2 1
1 3 3 1

Looking familiar yet?

Possibilities for a set of four coins (I didn’t fancy making a picture of this one…) are:

There is 1 way of having four heads, 4 ways to have three heads and one tail, 6 ways to have two heads and two tails, 4 ways to have one head and three tails, and 1 way to have four tails. Next line of Pascal’s triangle: 1 4 6 4 1

Now 5 coins… Well, I’m not actually going to write out all of the options! If we take line 5 from Pascal’s triangle we see it says 1  5  10  10  5  1. This means that if we took 5 coins, there would be 1 way to have all 5 as heads, 5 ways to have four heads and one tail, 10 ways to have three heads and two tails, 10 ways to have two heads and three tails, 5 ways to have one head and four tails and 1 way to have all five coins turn up as tails.

So Pascal’s triangle gives us the number of ways of choosing a certain combination from a set of objects!

Why is this useful? In the coin-flipping experiment, we can find a probability of a certain result without having to lay out all the coins or write out all the options. Trust me, that is much easier! How do we actually do this? Let’s say your friend has challenged you to flip 5 £1 coins and get 3 heads. If you do, you get to keep the £5! (Are you paying attention yet?)

Now, before you get too excited, your friend has said you need to pay £2 for the chance to win his £5. Is it worth it? Well, how likely are you to win? Looking at the options we wrote out earlier, there are 10 ways to get 3 heads and 2 tails when you flip the coins. To find the total number of options, we add up the whole row of the triangle. 1 + 5 + 10 + 10 + 5 + 1 = 32. Your probability of winning your friend’s £5 is 10/32 = 5/16 = 31.25%. I wouldn’t bother if I were you, since your friend will keep his £5,  68.75% of the time.

Some more advanced probability stuff gives an expected value for your friend’s winnings. Whatever happens, he keeps your £2. Only 10/32 times will he lose his £5. Expected value per game is 2 + (10/32 x -5) = 2 – 1.5625 = 0.4375. In other words, every time he gets someone to play, he expects to be up nearly 44p. It is definitely not worth it to you! For your friend on the other hand…

So are you feeling the excitement yet? Pascal’s triangle isn’t just a pretty triangle with numbers, it is useful! We have linked networks and probability, two very different areas, with Pascal’s triangle.

Next week we will look at some of the patterns in Pascal’s triangle. Bonus marks if you can spot 3 or more before then!


Pascal’s Triangle series:

Pascal’s Triangle with Routes

Pascal’s Triangle with Probability

Pascal’s Triangle Sequences part 1

Pascal’s Triangle Sequences Part 2

Making and Using Glitter Numbers

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links I will receive a small commission from any purchase you make at no extra cost to you.

Bunny aged 39 1/2 months

Pom-poms on all Glitter Cards

For a long time I have loved the sandpaper letters and numbers (affiliate links) used in Montessori classes, but I do not love the price. I thought about cutting out letters from sandpaper, but it seemed like a lot of work! Then a little while ago Bunny and I wrote our names in glue on paper and sprinkled poured glitter on them and they came out so well I decided to do the same thing to make pseudo-sandpaper numbers. I used index cards I found when creating our school room out of our spare room junk room dumping ground over the summer.

Making Glitter Cards

I wrote the numbers onto the cards (including 10, because Bunny insisted – I’m not sure that there would be a 10 in a pack of sandpaper numbers) and then Bunny and I together squirted the glue around them. This was definitely something she needed help with. Then she chose a glitter colour and sprinkled poured it over the number. If it had been up to me I would have chosen a reason behind the glitter colours (e.g. odd vs even) but I decided to let her have ownership of the activity. Which was a bit tough for me, I’ll be honest!

Completed Glitter Number Cards

When the glue dried Bunny used do-a-dot markers (affiliate link, those are a cheaper version which we have and are brilliant) (her absolute favourite at the moment, especially in red “Because that’s my favourite colour!”) to do the correct number of dots on each card. Some of them she counted herself and some I had to help her with.

Pom-pom Activity

The next day our cards were all ready to use! This turned out to be a fine motor, number recognition, subitizing (recognizing that 3 dots is 3 without counting them), one-to-one correspondence and patterning activity. We used pom-poms, matching them to the dots on the cards and counting. I gave her the instruction to match the right number of pom-poms to the number of dots, and she decided that she would count out the right number of pom-poms and then transfer them from a pile on the floor over to the card. She asked questions of herself as she was working through the cards, which totally shocked me!

The activity was pretty good for her attention span, she was doing fine without my help until cards 9 and 10 when she started to lose focus, but with me joining in she was fine to continue. We actually added in some colour patterning on the 9 and 10 cards, one by accident and one on purpose, which Bunny loved (she has been really into patterning since we started watching Umizoomi (affiliate link) on Amazon Prime).

She then carried on shuffling through the cards and reading the numbers. Bunny likes these so much that I have decided that as we go through Raising Rock Stars Preschool we will make index cards for the letter of the week as flashcards so we can review them, and maybe for the higher numbers too.

Questions I asked or Bunny asked of herself:
How many dots/pom-poms does this card need?
How many do you have? How many more do you need?
Do you have enough yet? If you have one too many what do you need to do?

Linking up to Tot School at 1+1+1=1.



Goal Setting with Printable Worksheet

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on one of the product links I will receive a small commission from any purchase you make at no extra cost to you.

Happy new week everyone! Last week I talked about how I set goals for myself and our homeschool for a 6-week interval. I thought I would show you a bit more about how this actually works with my printable goal tracker worksheet.

Goal Tracker

I work out which areas of my life I feel need some work and write those categories into my sheet. At the moment, those are: House and Organisation; Budget; Personal; Blog; Reading; Hobbies. I write these as headers into my 6 small sticky note pictures. The big section is for homeschool.

Goals for Interval 1

For the homeschool section I write in the subjects I want to cover and which activities, book pages and curriculum sections I want to cover in the six weeks.

For the others I write in goals which align with my personal values and priorities for this phase of life. If you’ve never thought about this, Crystal Paine’s course, Make Over Your Mornings, has been a big help to me (I’m going through it again over the next two weeks, and last time I didn’t manage to finish it so this time I am going to make it a priority!). Her book, Say Goodbye To Survival Mode (affiliate link) goes through some of the same principle and is brilliant.

When I finish something I can look at my goal sheet and choose what I need to work towards next. In the reading section I write which books I definitely want to read (4 in this interval) then which ones I’d like to read next, but I put a little line on there so I won’t pressure myself with a goal I feel I can’t achieve.

Important!: Put your goal tracking worksheet somewhere where you can see it! Otherwise you will find it next year and think “hmm, that was a nice idea. Shame it didn’t work for me. I still haven’t done most of this…” So save yourself from yourself! If you have to look at it every day you can’t brush it under the carpet and you will be much more motivated to make progress in the things you have chosen to accomplish. I put mine with my calendar right by my seat in the living room.

Menu Plan Monday 22/8/16

Bunny lolly

We are coming to the end of our budget for August so I am raiding the freezer for meals this week.

Monday: Pizza (see below for my recipes for bases including my allergy-friendly, paleo-ish one, by which I mean it is friendly to my allergies and I apologise if it is not friendly to yours, and paleo-ish because it is apparently not hardcore paleo!)

Tuesday: BBQ with friends (bringing sausages and coconut bread)

Wednesday: Herb-roasted chicken with potato/sweet potato chips, broccoli and carrots

Thursday: Italian chicken in the slow cooker with rice/quinoa

Friday: Beef steaks with potato/sweet potato chips, broccoli and carrots

Saturday: Eating with my parents

Sunday: Roast gammon in the slow cooker with potato/sweet potato chips, broccoli and carrots


Pizza base recipes:

For Hubby and Bunny:

260g self-raising flour

120ml (ish) of almond milk

65ml olive oil

For me (allergy-friendly):

40g ground almonds

60g buckwheat flour

27ml almond milk

27ml olive oil


Method for both bases:

Mix all ingredients together.

Place on baking paper on a baking sheet into a preheated oven at 200 degrees C (390 F) for 12 minutes.

Turn regular pizzas over (mine isn’t really turnable) and add toppings.

Cook for another 12 minutes with toppings on, until toppings are at desired level of crispiness.


For tomato sauce I use tomato puree mixed with tomato ketchup or water to get to my desired consistency and add oregano or italian seasoning depending on what I have.

I will add pizza pictures to this post after we have dinner tonight.

Pizza bases

I forgot to take pictures with toppings until it was pretty much too late… yum 🙂

I am linking up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.


Pascal’s triangle with routes

Pascal's Triangle

Pascal’s triangle is one of my favourite mathematical concepts. It shows how lots of maths links together and that makes it exciting! Today I am starting a series on Pascal’s triangle to show you how great it is so you can be excited about maths too!

 Pascal's triangle spiderweb

We’re starting with a spider on a web. Can you see him? Sorry if he is creeping you out a bit. He is starting at the top of the web. He is only allowed to travel down the web, not back up again. We need to work out how many routes there are to each node (those are the circles where the lines meet) and we will write them on as we go. If you want to do this discovery activity with your child or students please feel free to print the picture and use it.

 Pascal's triangle spiderweb letter labelled

Let’s imagine that Fly lands on node a. There is only one route down from where Spider is to a, and it is the same if Fly lands on b, with only one route down to b. So write a 1 in both nodes a and b.

The next row has c, d and e on it. If Fly lands on c, Spider can only go there by going down to a, then to c, so we can write a 1 in there. If Fly lands on e, Spider can only get to e by going down to b then to e. It is a little different if Fly lands on d, Spider can get there from the start by going to a, then d, or from the start to b, then d. This has two routes, so we will write a 2 in there.

The next row has f, g, h and i on it. For Spider starting at the top, if Fly lands on f or i then there is only one possible route to f, and only one possible route to i. Now we can look at what happens if Fly lands on g.

Pascal's triangle spiderweb route to g

Spider could go from start to a, then c, then g. Or Spider could go from start to a, then d, then g. Or Spider could go from start to b, then d, then g. Three ways. There are three routes to h as well. If you carry it on, you get to see even more of Pascal’s triangle! Thanks to Spider 🙂

Stop by again next week to find out more about Pascal’s triangle, that’s where it starts to get exciting! And I promise no more spiders.


Pascal’s Triangle series:

Pascal’s Triangle with Routes

Pascal’s Triangle with Probability

Pascal’s Triangle Sequences part 1

Pascal’s Triangle Sequences Part 2

Year-Planning for Homeschool or Goal-Setting Intervals with printable year calendars

How do you plan your year?

I have two things to fit in to my year-plan, interval planning (as suggested by Mystie Winckler at Simplified Organization) and homeschool terms.  I’m using the idea of Sabbath rest, so 6 weeks on and one week off. Interval planning has the same time-frame. I plan which books I want to read, which hobby activities I would like to complete, budget and homemaking progress I want to make and more for the 6-week interval. After each interval I get a week of holiday and plan what I want to achieve next interval.

This method makes planning the year into a mathematical and logical “problem” to solve, which is right up my street! Here comes the maths…

YearPlanMaths6 weeks on and one week off add up to 7 weeks.

There are 52 weeks in the year so I could fit this in a maximum of 52/7 = 7 remainder 3, so 7 times.

This gives 6 school weeks x 7 terms = 42 school weeks, and 1 holiday week x 7 terms + 3 remainder = 10 holiday weeks.

This is slightly fewer than state schools have, but for me it means more potential grace days if one or both of us is ill, and it just really helps me to be intentional about how I spend my time in a school week and in a holiday week. I started my school year on 1st August, when schools here tend to start in the first week of September. It is so far quite encouraging and is creating a routine for me when normally the usual weekly activities stop for school holidays.

So now I have the start of a plan: 7 terms of 6 weeks each, with at least one week of break between them. There are three weeks of break which I need to split between the other holidays, so I chose to put an extra week (2 in total) at Easter and two extra weeks (3 in total) at Christmas. My next step is to look at the state school terms in my area. There are a few reasons behind this, one being I need to know when Easter will be… this seemed the fastest way to figure that out! Another reason is that the mums and tots group and bible study group I go to stop in the school holidays, so it is good to be around for most of those. Finally I want to have some holiday weeks outside of school term.

Now comes the pretty part with felt-tip pens and a customised printable calendar! You can download it in purple, blue or green and each file has the choice of school year from August 2016 – July 2017 or September 2016 – August 2017 within it.
Calendars to choose from
Fill in the calendar with the state school terms and any important dates you want to have off from school or from your interval (religious holidays, your birthday, any vacations you have booked from work). I used green for school holidays and put a key at the bottom of the calendar so I wouldn’t forget what green meant. I also used blue for bank holidays, pink for terms and orange for breaks once I was happy with my terms.

You know you will want some of the time around Christmas off, so start there and work backwards. I put the week beginning 12th December as week 6 of a break and worked backwards from there, writing 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, B (for break) in pencil until I got to August which gave me a start date for Term 1 of 1st August, 19th September for Term 2, and 7th November for Term 3. So far, so good. It also gave me a break in September and one in November.I started off with a two-week break at Christmas, and counted forward until I got to the Easter holiday. That made our Easter break align exactly with the school holidays, so I decided to put another week in the Christmas holiday. Now I have Term 4 starting on 9th January, Term 5 starting on 27th February, and two weeks break at Easter gives a start date of 24th April for Term 6. Counting forward, Term 7 starts on 12th June, and the final break week of our school year coincides with the start of school summer holidays and church holiday club. All done!

Next task: check these dates with my husband. He approved them and used them to plan out his holiday for the year (his work year happens to run August – July which was another reason to start school earlier than most people would), and now that has been approved by his work so our dates are set in stone!


1) Plan how many school weeks you want to have. You could use the 6-week interval/Sabbath plan and have either 6 or 7 terms/intervals to your year. If you chose 7 terms/intervals then you could make your summer (August) term a bit different from the others, more of a rest and including summer and outdoor activities.
2) Work out how you want your terms/intervals to match up with state school holidays, religious holidays, planned vacations and birthdays.
3) Start with the first holiday you know you want to include. Pick a week and count back from there (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Break) until you approximately reach your desired start date. If it isn’t quite right, add break weeks in to adjust the terms to align better with your start or holiday date.
4) After your first holiday start counting forwards. If dates aren’t quite working for you then add in break weeks in different places until they do.
5) When you’ve got your terms/intervals check them with any other important party in your household who might have valuable input.
6) You’ve finished!

Let me know how your interval or term plan is going!

One-to-One Correspondence with Counting Bears and Spielgaben

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Preschool onetoone correspondence 1

(Bunny aged 39 ½ months)

Bunny is pretty good at counting one-to-one (counting objects with meaning, not missing any out or counting them twice) up to 10 already, and I thought of another way to help her with one-to-one correspondence by matching objects today.

Counting bears onetoone correspondence

We used Counting Bears (affiliate link) and Spielgaben Set 7 (flat shapes like pattern blocks affiliate) and Set 10 (very small circles). The game was to match plates (large circles) one-to-one to bears.

We then chose some food for the bears, each bear got a pea, and I reinforced “How many peas do we need so each bear can have one pea?” and she was able to answer “6 peas” as there were 6 bears. After she gave out the peas she decided she wanted to give them ham sandwiches, which were made of two brown and one red circle. This is the point when it really turned into a fine motor skill as well! It was a little beyond her to put the “sandwich” on the plate but she was able to build it in her hand. If she were a little more advanced in number skills I would have asked how many bread and ham slices we needed for the 6 bears.

After the bears finished their sandwiches they all wanted ice cream, so each bear was given one dessert plate (semicircle) and one scoop of ice cream. We then repeated the activity, adding in some colour-matched plates and using 9 bears instead of 6.

Scoops according to size

Bunny loved this activity so much that she wanted to do some more, so I branched out a little. This time the bears got scoops of ice cream related to their size (this might not be a wise development if you are only just working on one-to-one correspondence, it would possibly have been better to stick with the one concept). Big “Daddy” bears got three scoops, middle-sized “Mummy” bears got two scoops and little “Baby” bears got one scoop. She was really happy to do this, and chose to start with one size of bear, then another, then the last. We finally counted how many scoops of ice cream we had given to the bears.

If you don’t have Counting Bears (affiliate link) or Spielgaben you could use anything else you have – cuddly toys and plates from a toy kitchen with toy food would work well for smaller children who are still putting things in their mouths. Pompoms could make a nice activity too.

Questions I asked:

How many ­­­___ are there?

How many ­­­___ do we need for ___ bears?

Do we have enough ___ yet? Count them. How many more do you need so each bear can have one? (She needed help with this)

Linking up to Tot School at 1+1+1=1.