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I’ve written about Don’t Eat Pete before (How to play,How to play/easy Valentine’s board and St. Patrick’s Day board), but I just love this game and it’s perfect for any holiday. Seriously, I played it at every single classroom party (as a kid since my mom was often the Room Mom and again as a teacher) because it just continues to be a kid favorite… the there’s hardly ANY prep involved!!
But if you’re that teacher who wants to make something once and never have to worry about it again, here’s a post for you. My mom made this style of Don’t Eat Pete board for each holiday and then all she ever had to do was buy the candy, cereal or snack she was going to use for the game.
Step 1 – choose 9 die cuts from your school’s Halloween collection. If your school doesn’t have die cuts and you don’t want to head down to the district office to do it, just wing it and cut some simple shapes yourself. Cut them out of colored construction paper (Be careful which construction paper pack you get! one I recently purchased from Amazon didn’t include purple! Here’s a small low-priced pack that has all the basic colors!)
Step 2 – Lay them out 3 across in 3 rows on big construction paper (here’s a low-priced pack) and place small strips of construction paper between them to form a grid. If you’re in a pinch, just draw in lines using a sharpie or other permanent marker (here are some awesome metallic ones that work great for writing on black!)
Step 3 – Write numbers on each shape. This just makes it easier to remember which one is “Pete” for that round. You can also silently remind your kids by holding up fingers.
I’m pretty fond of this new Don’t Eat Pete board (updating my collection here!). I think it turned out nicely, so I wanted to share with you! Perfect for any St. Patrick’s Day party, this would work perfect with Lucky Charm cereal or rainbow Skittles for the treats!
3 – 10 kids sit around the game board. The adult or moderator puts a small treat (M & M, chocolate chip, Cheerio, or whatever) on each number. The “guesser” leaves the area so they can’t see or hear what’s going on. Another person points to a number to choose “Pete”. The “guesser” comes back and starts taking the M & M’s (or whatever) off the board and gets to eat them. When the guesser touches “Pete”, everyone yells, “Don’t Eat Pete!!” and the guesser’s turn is over. The guesser eats the last one he got called out on to keep it sanitary!
This game has been a classic in my classroom, so it’s worth talking about again. I have used Don’t Eat Pete for holiday parties for years. I change the “game board” to fit the holiday with stickers or cutouts. It takes about 5 minutes to make. Get a colored piece of paper. Mentally divide the paper in 9 squares – 3 rows and 3 columns. Put a sticker or cutout in each “square”. Number the stickers or cutouts 1 to 9. Laminate it if you want it to last, or put it in a sheet protector. Now you are ready to play. 3 – 10 kids sit around the game board. The adult or moderator puts an M & M, chocolate chip, Cheerio, or whatever on each sticker. the “guesser” leaves the area. Another person points to a number. That number is “Pete”. The “guesser” comes back and starts taking the M & M’s (or Cheerios, or whatever) off the board and gets to eat them. When the guesser touches “Pete”, everyone yells, “Don’t Eat Pete” and the guesser’s turn is over. The guesser eats the last one he got called out on to keep it sanitary! My kids request this activity every party! My own kids at home have loved this too!
Here’s a photo of the Valentine’s Day one I have. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be crazy fancy or “Pinterest worthy” to be super fun.
Maybe I’ll try and make you some printable Don’t Eat Pete boards…
Kids crack me up. They say, write and do the silliest things! Here’s another opportunity to capture all that creativity. This writing activity asks kids to apply to be one of Santa’s elves. Be sure to give kids an opportunity to share their application with other students. Maybe have the kids collect “endorsements” from classmates (Have students write their name on the back of a classmate’s paper to indicate that the student shared it with them). Merry Christmas!
I forgot to tell you about my Fourth of July graphing page for 2nd – 3rd grades! I posted it over at We Are Teachers at the end of June. Just head on over there and download it so you’ll have it for future use! Click here to get to my We Are Teachers Post!
Here’s a fun list of ideas to encourage math during the Christmas or Summer Break:
Challenge others or challenge yourself. Online math strategy games at Calculation Nation provide a safe environment for elementary and middle school students to challenge themselves and challenge others. Games involve fractions, factoring, symmetry and comparing perimeter and area! Give your kids graph paper and tell them to create a dream house up to X square feet. To be extra challenging, limit the square footage of a single room.
Play strategy games with friends and family. A great way to spend quality time. Games such as Contig, and other free board games. Play as teams while learning so you can talk about strategy and then move playing individually. Try something like Scrabble, but skip the calculator when totaling each player’s score.
Talk to your children’s teachers before the break. Ask questions that show you are concerned about their development and maintenance of mathematics skills and fluency. For example, ask, “What do you see as my child’s strengths and weaknesses in math? What could we do while at home to develop or improve his/her weakest areas?” There are probably fun class activities or games that you could replicate a home.
Create a number book with your child. Use this template with your preschooler or kindergartner and have them decorate each page with pictures, stickers or stamps (or even glue beads or macaroni) that show the number on the page. For more advanced students, ask them to write expressions that equal the target number. For example, for the number 6, they could write 3X2, 10-4 and 2+2+1+1. Also consider having them write and illustrate a story that deals with math or numbers.
Do projects with your child. Bake cookies or work on a home improvement project. Real-world applications of mathematical ideas, especially measurement, are everywhere! If you are stringing up lights, work with them to estimate how many sets you will need and calculate the total number of lights used. If you are baking cookies, have them figure out what is needed to make a double batch. Asking your child what they’d like to cook or build; they’ll have more buy-in on the activity that way.
Exercise your body; MATHercise your mind! Take in a sporting event, even if it’s only on TV. Keep track of yards gained and lost from running versus passing plays of their favorite football team or the shooting percentage of their favorite basketball player. Work with them to make comparisons between two of their favorite players and display it graphically. Check out the lesson connecting rate of movement to football on Illuminations, appropriate for middle and high school students. If you’ve got kids playing on a sports team, consider having siblings keep the stats on their sibling or sibling’s team.
Have a problem of the day. Work through one new problem before or after dinner each night. Figure This! has an awesome assortment of interesting problems with hints and solutions, so you don’t have to be a math wizard to facilitate! Let older siblings write the problem of the day for younger siblings. Be sure to have them teach their younger siblings how to find the answer.
As a family, track your calorie intake or your finances. Are you consuming more food during the holiday season than you would otherwise? Are you spending money on gifts? Becoming aware is important in establishing control. You may also consider how much time each day you spend on each activity such as watching television, eating, sleeping. Ask your kids to predict how much time is spent on each activity. Make a graph. Ask neighbors or cousins to track their time on each activity as well. Then compare both family’s experiences. Finally, brainstorm how you can manage to fit in alternative activities to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Seek out a volunteer opportunity that appeals to both you and your child. From cooking for a shelter, to collecting food for a food drive, to collecting coats for the needy, there are lots of opportunities to estimate and use math to project how much your efforts mean to others. Ask your child to look for math in the activity. Write about it in a journal or draw a picture.
(Many ideas in this article from are from NCTM) Share your ideas by commenting below!
This is quick and easy paper Christmas/holiday craft was submitted by a lower grade teacher! She loves doing this with all ages. I love how simple it is. It would be perfect to do after you read Tomie dePaola’s book, The Legend of the Poinsettia The book tells a Mexican legend of how the poinsettia came to be, through a little girl’s unselfish gift to the Christ Child. It’s perfect for a Christmas around the world unit! Anyway, here are the directions for the paper poinsettia craft:
1 red square 9″ x 9″
1 yellow square 2″ x 2″
3 green strips 2″ x 9″
1. Fold red paper in half. Then open it open and fold it in half the other way.
2. Round corners of yellow square.
3. Glue yellow square in center of red square.
4. Cut along the fold line until you get to the yellow. Don’t cut into the yellow.
5. Curl the poinsettia ends with a pencil.
6. Cut the ends of the green strips into a point.
7. Glue the green strips to the back of the poinsettia.
What are your favorite Christmas crafts for kids? Let me know in the comments below! Merry Christmas!