Play-based & Singapore Math to learn numbers

Growing up math for us was more abstract and never concrete left alone fun. We daily deal with pairs of shoes, eyes and ears not abstract “twos.”  Then why learn math is such a notional way.

Little did W3 knew that baby begins learning math the moment she starts exploring the world. By the time a child is toddler they can begin reciting numbers, but skip some of them. They also start understanding the concept of “more”; very often I hear Siya saying “mooore,” or “daadum, (to give me loosely in sanskrit).” Children are using early math skills throughout their daily routines and activities. These skills come really handy in when they go to school and also in building the analytical side of their brains.

So I thought, why not make it fun if Math is such an important and everyday skill. As part of my love for Singapore Math (See my article on it – Singapore Math with Pattern Recognition to the Sunday-Funday rescue!!) and Siya’s love for her stacking toys/flash cards this weeks Sunday-Funday activity was counting numbers using concepts of singapore math in a play-based learning environment.

We did two activities that were focused on visual identification of number and counting using her favorite stackable toy.

Activity 1

picWe bought some simple number flashcards with picture, Amazon Number Flashcards, however you can make some at home too with your kids. We picked out flashcards from one through ten. We did both picture recognition including number counting. Siya knew some of these pictures so introducing numbers and counting out loud helped.

Activity 2

A famous quote by Zig Ziglar, “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment,” really fits well with toddler learning too including using various multisensory mediums. I incorporated stacking ring by Melissa & Doug (you can use other stacking toys too) in making Siya learn numbers.

Initially, I use to say all the numbers and then after few repeats I started asking Siya; 1 and then she would say 2 and then every other alternate number. Siya still is learning and says alternate numbers however, 6, 8, 9 and 10 are her favorite ones. As those are the ones she says in a sequence (See attached video).

We had a great weekend, learning numbers using different mediums. Leave your thoughts or comment below and let us know how you spent your weekend and how do you teach your kids Math.

Additional number activities you can do with your older kids

Explore home number

Teach them the address and key phone numbers starting with home and 911. Share with kids that every house has unique numbers and walk them through your neighborhood how numbers are in series.

Sort by sizes

Take different day-to-day objects such as cereals, different sizes of balls, marbles, etc. Then ask your child to sort it from large to small, ask him to see which ones can fit in a cup or not.

Make them chef

Children as young as 15 months can help out with cooking, have them help you measure, stir, mix while counting different ingredients.

Learn with technology

Youtube has over 50+ number songs and countless in different languages. Sing songs that have a ring or rhyme to it and have the kids point out to different numbers and make them count too.

“HONEY” come blow & taste your beebubbles!!

These days Siya has been learning about insects in her “Art and Farm” and offlate has been a huge fan of bubbles, keeps calling them “bu, bu.” Obviously, who does not like bubbles!! especially when summer is just round the corner and you see some amazing bubble shows in the park. However, as an environment conscious and safe product favoring parent, I am always worried about store bought bubbles as they are infused with chemicals and glycerin.

So for this Sunday-Funday activity we decided to make homemade bubbles with a twist; I wanted to continue her insect learning with bubbles making. Little did w3 knew that you can actually make homemade bubbles without glycerin. The receipe we came up was super simple and made with easy to find ingredients at home- Secret ingredient was HONEY.

Disclaimer – This article does not tell you to drink or taste your bubble solutions. However, if accidently a small quanity is tasted or applied to skin is not harmful. In no circumtances adults or children should try or taste the bubbles as it is not safe to do so.

Activity 1

We read the “Alphabets with Bumble Bee,” book by Kristina Corona. What I loved about it was it incorporated the life and different elements of Bee through Alphabets. Siya kept pointing at the Bee, when I was reading to her, while she was sitting in my lap, a huge accomplishment!! (you know what I mean when you are a parent of an active 16 month old child)

Activity 2

After spending some time learning our ABC in form of Bees, we started making our homemade beebubbles.

Ingredients you need

bee 3


8 cups filtered water

1 cup of Dr Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap (You can also use Dawn blue soap!!)

2/3 cup honey


Beebubble making

Siya loves to help around in the kitchen (I think I have next Rachele Ray in making!!), especially mixing things on the stove.

First, we took a big pan and added water and heated till it was lukewarm. Second, we got it off heat and then added the honey and stired it till it was completely dissolved (Siya, loved doing this part of the activity!!). Thirdly, very slowly, I added the dish soap so I didnt create too much foam (this is the key step to a good bubble solution,). Finally, I lightly stired it to make sure everything was mixed well, and VO LA!! the beebubble for ready. We let it still for a while (3-4 hrs) before we used the solution.

bee oneSiya, had a blast getting showered with bubbles with her friends and as a parent I was not worried about unnecessary chemicals touching her. This Sunday-Funday activity was a great start to the summer as we learnt about bees in a fun and interactive way.

Try this out with your kids!! and share your thoughts with us. Share with us, how your kids started their summer or or do you have your own homemade bubble receipe.

Learn Nature’s radical transformation through art!!

Wowow finally some warm weather is here, and we officially feel it is Spring. So this was our inspiration for Sunday Funday activity; where we created a hungry caterpillar with beads that transformed into a beautiful butterfly using our footprint art.

Little did W3 knew that for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly, it digests itself using enzymes triggered by hormones. Then, sleeping cells (similar to stem cells) grow into the body parts of the future butterfly. What a phenomenal act of nature!! I was always stun by the creation of a baby but this is equally fascinating. So to share this with my 16 month old and to keep her engaged we did 2 mini activities!!

Activity 1 – Reading Book

caterpillar storyWe read the “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” book by Marielle May. What I loved about it was it’s a quick read with lots of cute little pictures (this kept Siya engaged and she she saw some familiar pictures such as “Apple,” she said Ap Ap. Additionally, the author relates this amazing transformation from Caterpillar to Butterfly in a very simple and fun way.

Activity 2- Using art/craft to create the transformation

Supplies you will need

Caterpillar art Butterfly
1 pipe cleaner (we used green) Home-made paint – See “My paint is the yummiest!! ” for details
Few wooden beads of different size Craft paper
Blank Pen or marker

Activity A – Instructions to make Caterpillar art

  1. Take a green pipe cleaner, folding the last 1/2 inch over in a loop to stop the beads slipping off
  2. Push different color and size beads (get creative, you can use colors of caterpillar- red and green too) and get your little one put few of the beads.
  3. Once done close the other end of the loop and vola!! you have just made a hungry caterpillar!!(Siya was dangling it around showing her proud work :))

Activity B – Instructions to create magical Butterfly art with footprints

This activity is heaven for Siya as she loves her colors and enjoys getting messy with them.

  1. Mix some paint in a flat plate – Make sure the paint consistency is thick for better results.
  2. Put lots of newpaper or old rags before you place your child on a surface thats easy for them to stretch their feet.
  3. Dip their legs in the paint mix or you can also paint the sole of your child’s feet with the color. (This was definitely not a easy task with my little one :P)
  4. Pick up the craft paper and gently press each toe, middle and ball of each foot. Make sure you take the imprint of the left foot on the right side and vice-versa.
  5. Now, repeat the same exercise with the other foot. (our first attempt was not successful, so we tried it again)
  6. Now, use a marker to add antenna and the middle body of the butterfly.

Woow and you have created a beautiful very personal piece of art which you can also use as a Mother’s day present !!

P.S – If you have older kids then just let them paint their own feet with different colors or stand in the paint mix and make the imprint.


We also took pictures and made a card out of it using piccollage.





This activity was a lot of fun for us as we did 2 different types of activities using different mediums to learn a lot about caterpillar and its transformation into a butterfly. Now Siya points at her Caterpillar art work and the Butterfly picture when we say where is hungry caterpillar and beautiful butterfly respectively!!

What did you do with you kids this Sunday!! Do you have some fun art activities around this transformation please share them in the comments!!

My paint is the yummiest!!

featuredSiya loves to get messy and creative with her art, which kid does not? This week we continued with the theme from last couple of weeks; to utilize mother nature in our Sunday-Funday activities. We wanted to create art pieces using paint and different natural things such as potatoes, star shaped carrots, leaves and handprints.  As a result, we started looking for non-toxic and all natural paints.

However, Little did W3 knew that the so called “non-toxic” art and craft supplies were pretty much a hoax especially for kids under 6 years old as these products do have alcohol, pigments, etc that can in large quantities if consumed or applied can be poisonous. The article by states that over 70% of the calls that poison control receives is for kids younger than 6 that have used art and craft supplies labeled as “non-toxic.”

This was definitely frustrating because we want to provide a creative and developmentally stimulating artistic environment for Siya that is “non-toxic.” Growing up, we always used powdered herbs to paint pictures and make different artistic designs during festivals.; So I took this as an inspiration and started doing causal searching on how to make non-toxic all natural paint at home.

My “make at home paint” recipe below is inspired from my roots, easy to make at home and something that can last long.

Make @ Home Paint Recipe

Ingredients Needed

  • 4 air tight containers to store the colors
  • 1/4 cup of each of the Herbs – You can buy these from any local herb stores or from Amazon,  Mountain Rose Herbs or Herbs Affair
    • Yellow paint – Tumeric and Pumpkin powder
    • Green paint – Spirulina and Spinach powder
    • Red paint – Beetroot and hibiscus flower powder
    • Purple paint – Blueberry and Acai berry powder
  • 1/4 cup Rice flour and 1/4 cup arrowroot powder  for each paint- This is used as the thickener and it does not change the color of herb powders.

Mix & Storage

miz Take a large mixing bowl and start with one paint at a time. To make the “yellow paint,” mix 1/4 cup each of rice flour, arrowroot powder, turmeric and pumpkin powder. Mix it well and transfer it into airtight container. Vo La!! yellow paint is made 🙂 it is truly this simple.

piNow, similarly mix the other paint colors and put them in air tight containers. These paints will last you for a very long time.

If you don’t have time to make paint at home here is an alternative: Glob All Natural Paint Kits.

Create master pieces with no worries

mixWe took small quantities of the above paint powder and started adding spoonful of water at a time till we reached the consistency we wanted (if it became too runny we added a little more powder).

Now we were all set to get creative, and we experimented with different mediums such as leaves, potatoes, okra, but most importantly we used safe, healthy, homemade, non-toxic paints. We really enjoyed our Sunday as a family and had a great time not only creating some master pieces that will be treasured forever but also learnt a creative way to use herbs.

To make this activity more interesting you can get your kids involved in making the paint, mixing different colors, learning more about the herbs and its uses. The scope of this activity is endless, try it with you kids today!!

Do you make paint supplies for your kids? What all do you do? What all do you do to create a natural and creative environment for your kids?

Rendezvous with the ocean creatures

Keeping with the spirit of Earth day, we wanted to explore other living creatures that cohabitate with us and make this Earth so beautiful. My parents are visiting us, so I wanted our Sunday-Funday activity to  not only be  educational  but also be entertaining. Little did W3 knew that in the heart of Manhattan lies this revolutionary, immersive, and purpose-driven experience called National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey for not only your little ones but for the entire family.

Ocean Odyssey , an immersive walk-through adventure across the ocean from the South Pacific to the coast of California. It went beyond two-dimensional content especially when we were interacting with the playful sea lions, watching the massive whale, seeing the vicious squid fight in pitch dark; This experience transported us to the extraordinary deep-sea underwater destinations without leaving NYC or harming any animals. My parents had lot of fun with the interactive floor in the Solomon Islands; where they were tapping their legs and the fishes were reacting. What brought back some old childhood memories for Nikhil and me was a mirror maze, cleverly represented by a kelp forest.


The coolest part was Siya just kept saying “woow” and was in complete aww; her favorite was playing with the sea lions.


Encounter truly blends entertainment with science:  it’s was lot of fun, and we learnt a lot about conservation, sea animals, corals and how they die, food chain in the ocean and many more things about marine life. As a family we took a pledge at the Pledge Station to no longer use plastic and if we are using then use the ones made out of recycle plastic.

We came home and Siya grabbed her coloring tools so to always remind us of this amazing experience and the pledge we took; we created a whale sun catcher using some of her favorite colors and her creativity.

What did you do on Earth day!! Are there any Little did we knew things that you have discovered, feel free to share us and other readers!! Happy Earth Day from our family to yours.

Eggier Greenier Sunfunday

Earth day is just around the corner (I believe everyday should be an Earth day) and I wanted to do a Sunday-Funday activity inspired by the concept of “Happier Earth.” Mainly focused on having fun around this concept but also teaching Siya, the importance of preserving, reusing and respecting mother nature.

I definitely don’t have a green thumb (I have even killed a bamboo plant!!). So I knew potting and growing elaborate indoor garden was not on the cards. Moreover, I wanted to reuse something we trash away on a daily basis.

Couple days ago, I was researching about eating eggs and it’s benefit. Little did W3 knew that “egg shells” that we toss everyday in our kitchen waste bin is actually used in commercial world as a great fertilizer because egg shells have 96% of calcium and it decomposes very easily. Siya loves to eat her egg scramble everyday for breakfast, so I was like voila!! our Sunday-Funday activity will be potting plants in the egg shell then.

Step 1 – Material

  • Cracked shells and empty carton to hold the cracked shells
  • Assorted Seeds – We choose cucumber, tomato, basil and green beans
  • Potting soil
  • Gardening tool – only if your little one does not use her hands as her tool, like Siya did 🙂

Step 2 – Wash or boil you egg shell

We washed our egg shells with hot water to ensure if there was any strands of salmonelle on the egg shell then it was killed. Once the eggs were clean then we took a safety pin and created a small hole for drainage at the bottom.

Step 3 – Add soil and seed

This was the best part of the activity, Siya had a blast getting outright messy and exploring different textures. We then added tomato, green bean, basil and cucumber seeds, sprayed them with water and finally arranged them in the carton.

Siya then went with her grandparents to the garden in our building and saw our gardener pot some tulips. Siya loved it and kept saying “Woow” and playing with the potting soil.

What a fun day with family it was and regardless of age we all had a blast potting some seeds in egg shells, learning about new ways to reuse and saving the planet in a small way.

We can’t wait for our juicy tomatoes, healthy beans, aromatic basil and cool cucumber to grow!!

Other additional activities you can do is to go to New York Botanical Garden or to your local farmer’s market/garden/nursery stores or read your child planting books such as

  • Lola Plants a Garden; by Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw
  • National Geographic Kids Look and Learn: In My Garden (Look & Learn)
  • National Geographic Readers: Seed to Plan

Share below in comments your Earth Day activity with your little one!!

Learning Fundamentals With Flashcards!!

My spring cleaning activity this weekend turned out to be our Sunday-Funday activity theme; Learning fundamentals with flashcards. I came across a stack of flashcards that were a lifesaver! for me to pass my college physic exam; in some sense tougher than raising globally responsible kids 😉.

So I thought, why not bring flashcards to Siya’s learning tool kit to learn US history; foundation to understand human story, and a crude way to understand the sacrifices our ancestors have made for our life today. I started researching what different kind of flashcards are available in this study area.

Little did W3 knew that there are theories and camps around flashcard learning for toddlers; some say babies taught with flash cards develop their senses of sight and hearing faster than other children and others say it the worst learning method. However, for us it’s always been about trying different things and seeing what works and what does not with Siya. We always believe that parenting is like a fingerprint; so unique but still looks similar.

US president I bought an inexpensive US President pocket flash card, you can either download it or buy it from amazon. These flashcards have large pictures and on the back have information about each of the US presidents and bonus cards that talked about key US history events.

To ensure Siya was enthusiast throughout the activity; we started small. Initially we only showed her 2 cards and repeated atleast 4-5 times and shared with her the back of the card information too; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln two completely different looking US presidents. The number of times you repeat a set will of course depend on your child. Follow your child’s lead and retire any category that he/she is showing limited interest. We extended our Sunday-Funday activity into Monday and added 4 cards and did the same exercise.


Flashcards really worked for  Siya because she enjoys enjoys visual and interactive learning. It not only helped us to teach her some fundamentals of US history but also maximize the benefits of repetition to improve memorization using right-brain philosophy.

For older kids you can always modify this activity by adding words and encourage reading skills or even create the flash card. Flashcard creation can be a great activity for older children that helps them learn how to go about building their own learning tools later in live. It is also a first step towards learning the material that will be covered with the flashcards.

Tips of flashcard creation:

  • Get your child’s input on a subject to study or explore
  • You can now get creative in the actual card creation process; you can either print off from the internet, if your child loves to draw they can draw, you can even get crafty by using magazine or newspaper cutouts.
  • On the other side of the flashcard you could write the word out and a one-line description.

Let us know how you spent you Easter Sunday with your kids and what fun activities and ways to teach have you tried!!

Singapore Math with Pattern Recognition to the Sunday-Funday rescue!!

Couple months ago, I was invited to a Singapore Math session by “Dearest Community” to learn benefits of Singapore Math and Early Numeracy program. Furthermore, recently I read an article that the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos, one that has amassed his wealth by being creative and trying unorthodox ways of solving problems, uses the same approach for their children’s education. “We tried all sorts of things … Mandarin lessons, the Singapore math program, and lots of clubs and sports with other neighborhood kids,” MacKenzie Bezos told Vogue.

Singapore Math uses a three-step learning model, moving from the concrete: blocks, cards, buttons, whatever to the “pictorial” phase — a bridge between concrete and abstract, to the abstract equations: 2 + 3 = 5. To learn more about Singapore Math you can read following links:

Little did W3 knew that kids as young as 12 months can understand math and there are many visual, fun and engaging ways to teach them sometimes boring and dry concepts of math. This week our Sunday Funday activity was inspired by Singapore Math. We took her love for colors and combined it with pattern recognition & counting numbers using different shapes and textures.

Step 1 – We started with exploring different colors and crayon

Step 2 – We created a quick pattern using some pom pom and math blocks (easily available on Amazon). You can also use what you have at home such as LEGOs, stackable colorful blocks, etc (options are unlimited). We showed her the pattern and told her different colors and shape. She was all excited to pick them up and put it in her mouth 😊!!

Example of pattern

Step 3 – We then removed the pattern and placed the first yellow pom pom and said this is yellow, the next is orange and so we completed the pattern. Next, we started putting the math blocks in the same sequence and talked through the sequence with her. Finally, after couple rounds she pointed at the next sequence color and could recognize “Yellow” and “Orange”. If you have a grown up, you can ask your child how many yellow blocks do we have and how many orange and have him/her to add it (options are endless with the activity).

Step 4 – Next we created a quick pictorial image of what we were doing in Step 3 and showed that to Siya and repeated the step 3 activity.

Pattern admission

It was a Funday for us as we always look for some exciting and creative ways to teach Siya and this was on top of the list. Siya enjoyed the activity, and could recognize colors, understand some sequencing of items and predict “what comes next (she did it few times)?

Let us know what you think about Singapore Math/Pattern recognition and what did you do this weekend with your kids!!