What do your kids do during arrival time? Transition times? Quiet times? These times in your day can so easily turn into wasted minutes. And, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never felt like I had one single minute to waste. One of my favorite ways to make use of all this down time is with task boxes! Task boxes are great for so many reasons!
- Everything they need to complete the activity is contained in the task box.
- They can complete the activities independently.
- The task boxes contain activities that are calm and quiet.
- The activities are easy to get out and clean up.
Today I’m sharing with you four of my task boxes that apple-themed and focus on preschool and pre-k math skills! You can easily make any of these activities yourself, but I’ve made it super easy for you. I’ve got all of these task boxes HERE in my store. They are ready to print, easy to prep, and SUPER fun to use!
Materials & Supplies
Whether you are going to DIY yours or print mine, you will need a few things. First you need containers for your task boxes. Here are some options that I like to use:
- pencil boxes (My favorite option!)
- Iris photo storage cases (I love these because they are super cute! But, the size can be challenging and they are pretty expensive.)
- pencil bags (These are a great option if you have limited space.)
You’ll also need to laminate the pieces if you want them to last longer than a millisecond! And the number tracing cards aren’t reusable if they’re not laminated. I personally love my Scotch laminator. And I buy Fellowes laminating sheets because they are VERY reasonably priced AND dry erase markers wipe right off of them.
For these four task boxes, you will also need to gather a few things to go along with the printables:
- apple mini erasers
- dry erase markers
- erasers (My favorite erasers for busy boxes are pom poms! Hop over to this blog post to see why!)
OK… now that you’re ready to go, let’s check out the task box activities!
Apples Number Tracing Task Box
This simple task box is always a favorite! My kids love to trace the numbers, erase, and trace again. They are working on fine motor skills, handwriting, and number recognition all at the same time. Plus, you can individualize this activity by controlling how many of the tracing cards you give to them. They may just need 0-5, or they may need to practice all the way to 20!
Apples Counting Task Box
Building consistent visual representations of quantities is so important! Ten frames are a great way to that, and they are the basis of this counting task box. You can use any manipulative with this activity: cubes, two-sided counters, beans, etc. But my favorite thing to use is mini erasers! (I have a slight addiction to these!) If your kids still have a hard time with one-to-one correspondence, you can give them ten frames that are programmed to show them exactly where to put the apples as a support. (Both versions are included if you purchase this resource!)
Apples Number Matching Task Box
Preschool and pre-k kids need lots of opportunities to count and match different representations of quantities so that they will develop the ability to look at a representation and tell you how many without having to count. (In teacher-speak this is called subitizing.) That’s what this activity is designed to do. They match each apple to the correct basket. They may have to count. They may not. Either way, they are practicing important math skills! Plus, this one is easy to differentiate. If your student is not able to subitize at all, start him with 1-3. If your student can subitize up to 5, give him 6-10. If you have kids who can subitize all the way to 10, pair them up and let them race to make that recognition even more automatic!
Apple Shapes Match & Clip
Fine motor skills are a big deal in preschool and pre-k. So this task box has an added bonus. While your kids are working on recognizing and matching shapes, they are also building those fine motor muscles when they squeeze the clothespins to make their match. Don’t have clothespins? No worries! They can simply set a cube on the matching shape. But using clothespins gets those little hand muscles working hard!
All of these apple-themed activities are available in my Apples Task Box Activities set. You can grab your copy in my store!
How do you use task boxes in your classroom? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!!