A Secret Message For Dad (Age 5)

The Activities

1. Topic: Counting, Base Ten. Book: The Blast Off Kid by Driscoll.  This is a nice book about a kid collecting 10000 wrappers to win a prize. It shows how to group wrappers into groups of 10, then 100, then 1000 to make counting easier. We used Base 10 Blocks to follow along with the book.

2. Topic: Codes, Reading. We printed out clip art pictures of things like dragons and pencils. Then I gave kids coded words, using a simple number-to-letter code. The kid decoded the message, then matched the word with one of the pictures. Here are the pictures, coded words, and key.


3. Topic: Codes. This time we used the reverse key to encode a secret Father’s Day message.  The message was “I LOV YOU DAD” (spelled out by the kids). Once the message was written, I gave the kids envelopes to put the key and message, and decorate.

4. Topic: Counting, Addition. We rolled various dice and then jumped or clapped that many times. This time each kid had a choice: roll a 20-sided die two times and add the result, or roll a die that had 00, 10, 20, 30, up to 90 one time.


My son, jumping for joy!

My son, jumping for joy!

How did it go?

The Blast Off Kid

The kids really enjoyed this book. They were excited by the big numbers, and the plot about a kid collecting wrappers to go to Space Camp. We used Base 10 blocks to count along.

Father’s Day Codes

All the kids liked decoding the words and matching them up with the pictures. Most of the kids needed help sounding out the words.  Two kids really work quickly on this, but the other two also participated.

When we started writing coded messages for the dads, two of the kids made progress on their own, though they needed help from me to keep track of which letter they were on.  My son started writing a coded message even before I wrote out “I LOV YOU DAD”.  It turned out he was writing random numbers down. When David decoded the message it said: “SRTN JTVA MBWD VIDY BPST”.  My son claimed this was what he had wanted to write.

Jumping for Joy

The kids were all very excited to play this again. The first couple kids chose to roll the 20-sided die and add the result.  After the roll, they got to decide whether we would clap or jump that many times. I always begged them to pick claps, and they enjoyed breaking my heart by making us jump.  My son saw big numbers on the other die, so he decided to roll it, and he got a 10.  He was very disappointed.

The next time a kid picked that die, he actually rolled 0.  I asked “Jumps or Claps?” He picked jumps.  We all stood up, and I pretended I was about to jump…and then I said “All done!” Everyone laughed.

Finally some rolled the big die again and got 70.  Luckily, she picked claps!  My son kept playing this game even after circle ended.


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