Help your child understand how long a month is by making a paper chain with as many links as there are days in September. Just before your child goes to bed each night, ask him to remove one of the links and count the remaining links.
September is one of four months that has 30 days. Help your child remember with this classic rhyme: "30 days has September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31, except February alone, which has 28 clear and 29 in a leap year."
With the start of the school year it is important to get your child back on a schedule after a free and easy summer. Create a schedule in hour increments. Help your child fill it in with key daily activities such as when she gets up, eats breakfast, leaves for school, returns from school, etc.
Introduce your child to the concept of ordinal numbers by asking him to describe his morning routine on school days. When he gets up in the morning what is the first thing he does? What happens second? What about third?
Slicing up a pizza helps kids learn about fractions. Talk about the fractions you form as you cut the pizza, first into two halves and then into four quarters. Show your child that a half is made up of two quarters, and that four quarters make a whole. With older kids, take it one step further to discuss eighths.
Ask your child's teacher for a list of students in her class. Going over the list is a good way to familiarize your child with her new classmates. How many kids are in the class? How many are boys and how many are girls? Are there more girls or more boys? How many more or less? Who has the longest name? Who has the shortest name?
The number of dots on opposite sides of a die always add up to 7. You can use this fact to have some fun with your child. Tell her to roll the die. When it lands, subtract the number on top from 7 and the answer will be the number on the bottom. Your child will think you have x-ray vision!
Think of a number, and then make up a riddle to help your child guess the number. For example: "I am thinking of a number that is greater than 6. It is less than 9. It is not 7. What's my number?"
Encourage your child to think mathematically by taking turns making up teddy bear number stories. For example: Five teddy bears were playing on the playground. Two had to go home for lunch. How many teddy bears were still on the playground?
Ask your child to gather up all his teddy bears and/or other stuffed animals. Next, have her sort them into two piles, one with the small ones and the other with the big ones. Then re-sort them another way (e.g., by color, texture, type, etc.).
Draw two columns on a piece of paper. Label one column "Heads" and the other "Tails." Give your child a coin and ask her to toss it 10 times, each time putting a check in the appropriate column. How many times did the coin land on heads, and how many times on tails? Try it again. Was the result the same?
The teen numbers can be challenging for young kids. It helps if they understand that 10 is at the base of all the teen numbers. Ask your child to count out 10 pennies. Replace them with one dime. Then ask your child to count up from 10 by adding pennies to the dime, one at a time (e.g., a dime plus one penny is 11).
Get a bag of unshelled peanuts and a 12-ounce or 18-ounce container. Ask your child to estimate how many peanuts she thinks will fit into the container. Then tell her to fill up the container and count them to check her guess.
America's national anthem was written on this day in 1814. Find a picture of the American flag, and ask your child to look at it closely. How many stars are there? How many red stripes? How many white stripes? Are there more red stripes or white stripes? Invite your child to design his own flag with a repeating pattern.
Help your child learn to count in Spanish by checking out a Spanish counting book from the library, such as Uno, Dos, Tres: One, Two, Three, by Pat Mora. Use the PBS Parents Bookfinder to get other Spanish and bilingual book suggestions.
Show your child five coins or other small objects. Hide two of them while her eyes are closed. When she opens her eyes ask, "How many coins are hiding?"
On index cards, or other small pieces of paper, write the numbers 1 through 20, one number per card. Put the cards down on a table in sequence. While your child isn't looking, remove three of the numbers. Ask your child to name the missing numbers.
If you have loose change lying about the house, gather it together and give it to your child to sort. Once it is sorted, ask him to count the coins — counting pennies by ones, nickels by fives, and dimes by 10's. Include quarters for older children.
"Arrr, matey! Can you find the buried treasure?" Hide a "treasure" inside or outside and create a treasure map to lead your child to it. The map should include major landmarks such as pieces of furniture, if inside, or trees and bushes, if outside. Be sure to include an "X" to mark the spot where the treasure is "buried".
By now your child should know the names of all her classmates. Write them down on a piece of paper, in a column so the letters of each name are directly under the letters of the previous name. Ask your child to look at the names and compare their lengths. Who has the longest name? Who has the shortest name?
Cut 10 drinking straws into different lengths. Scramble them up, and then ask your child to put them in order from shortest to longest. Mix them up again and ask her to re-order them from longest to shortest.
Create a fall collage. Find pictures in magazines and newspapers that represent fall (e.g., colorful leaves, pumpkins, Halloween costumes, etc.). Glue them onto a sheet of paper. If your child enjoys this activity, he can make similar collages for the other seasons.
Pop a batch of popcorn. Give your child a pile, and ask her to divide it into groups of 10 pieces. Once she has 10 groups of 10 tell her to stop. Ask her, "Can you think of a quick way to figure out how many pieces of popcorn you have in your groups? (answer: count by 10's)
Dog Week is the last full week of September. Take turns making up dog word problems. For example: One dog went out for a walk. How many paws were walking? (4) Two dogs when for a walk. How many paws were walking? (8) Three dogs were walking, but one dog went home. How many paws kept walking (8)?
Get an egg carton and 12 coins (3 pennies, 3 nickels, 3 dimes, and 3 quarters). Give each cup in the carton a value by writing 1¢ , 5¢, 10¢, or 25¢ at the bottom of the cup. There should be three cups for each value. Ask your child to put each coin into a cup with its matching value.
There really was a Johnny Appleseed. His real name was John Chapman, and he was born on this day in 1774. Celebrate his birthday by cooking up a yummy, easy apple pie. Let your child help count out and measure the ingredients.
Check out an apple counting book from the library to read to your child. For example, Ten Red Apples, by Pat Hutchins. Then bring the book to life by inviting your child to act out the story with real apples.
Conduct a neighborhood cookie survey. Make a two column chart, with "chocolate chip" at the top of one column and "oatmeal raisin" at the top of the other . Tell your child to put a check mark in the appropriate column for each neighbor she asks. Add up the check marks to find out the most popular type of cookie.
Spread celery sticks with cream cheese for a healthy after-school snack. Turn snack making into a learning experience by letting your child decorate her snack with patterns made from toppings such as raisins, pretzel sticks, and peanuts. For example: raisin — pretzel — raisin — pretzel — raisin — pretzel, etc.
This is the last day of September. What day of the week is it? What day of the week was yesterday? What day of the week is tomorrow? What day of the week is the last day of October?