Ten Apples Up On Top Math Game | Mama Papa Bubba

Not going to lie, this week’s preschool book club was a bit of a tough one…  Tough because firstly, we couldn’t find the book anywhere.  We visited bookshops, we visited grocery stores with book sections, we visited our school’s library, and we asked pretty much all of our friends.  No book!  Brad eventually scrounged up a digital version for us to see on the iPad, but after a friend suggested it this morning, I’m guessing that one of Kuwait’s many Instagram shops would have had it!  I hadn’t thought of that.  {Is this an around the world thing, or a Kuwait specific thing?  Here you can order almost anything via Instagram and Whatsapp and have the items delivered to your door.}  The second thing that made this week’s PBC challenging was that without the book physically in my hands, I had no inspiration.  For the life of me, I couldn’t think of a fun activity to go with it.  It was frustrating.  Eventually though, I thought of something {a very simple math game focused on addition and subtraction} and it is pretty awesome.  Not awesome because it was crazy cool or unique, but awesome because Gracen did not want to stop playing.  In fact, we played from about 9:00 to 10:45 a.m. yesterday morning.  One round after the next – non-stop!  I love when something that was initially challenging turns out so well.

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The elusive book?  10 Apples Up On Top! by Dr. Seuss, the story of a lion, a dog, and a tiger who are competing with one another to see who can balance the most apples atop his head.  Of course throughout the process they both add and drop some, which makes for plenty of typical Dr. Seuss silliness.

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While I still have a thing for real books that allow you to turn the pages, Miss G didn’t mind reading a digital copy of this week’s book at all.  In fact, the moment we were done she asked, ‘Can we please read some more books on the iPad?!’  It’s not something we do often, so she found it pretty special.

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After reading the book a couple of times, we headed to the table wear I’d laid out the little apples I’d made for our 10 Apples Up On Top math game.  Gracen thought they were really cute and couldn’t wait to get her hands on them.

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My favourite part is that not only were they super quick and easy to make, but they saved all of these milk bottle tops from going into the trash.  To make them, I simply put a small drop of Tacky Glue {my favourite!} near the top of the lid, placed a tiny piece of brown embroidery floss in the glue, and then topped it with a tiny little leaf cut out of craft foam.  Then I let them dry overnight.

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With our apples already made, it was time for Miss G to help me with one of our other game pieces…  Our apple die.  To make it, we used one of the 2 inch wooden blocks I used to use for my Etsy shop projects, cut out the die templates I’d created the night before on the computer, and used a glue stick to adhere them straight onto the wood.  If my Mod Podge hadn’t have been dried up when we opened it, then we would have used that, but a glue stick worked just fine.

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The last part of our set-up process was the most hilarious.  While we could have used dollhouse dolls, DUPLO guys, or drawn pictures as our characters, Miss G and I opted for laminated photographs of ourselves.  Not only did this mean all kinds of silly poses, but it also meant that Grae had to take my photo – and get both my head and feet in the shot {no easy task when you’re a busy-bodied four year old}.  Once we’d captured usable shots, we printed them off, cut them out, laminated them, and cut them out again.

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Then we were ready to play.  Grae and I set ourselves up on opposite sides of the table with our apples and die in the middle.  The goal of the game was to be the first person to reach 10 ‘apples up on top’ and playing was simple.  You roll the die and add or subtract the number of apples determined by your roll {adding is shown by plain red apples and subtracting is shown by apples with x’s over them}.

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Gracen loved this part.  With each roll, she’d carefully add apples just above her head {you can tape the laminated photo down to the table if it’s easier} or take them away and place them back in the dish.  Of course, if you have nothing to take away and the die lands on one of the takeaway sides, well then you can’t do anything.  {I hadn’t thought of it initially, but our game actually reminds me quite a lot of Hi Ho Cherry-O, one of our favourite board games from when Miss G was 2 and 3 years old.}

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With each addition, we’d first count the apples as we added them to our stacks, and then we’d go back afterwards and count all of our apples to see how close we were to reaching 10.

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Eventually, someone would get lucky and make it to 10 {or higher} without dropping their stack!  This seemed to take the perfect amount of time…  Our game was never over too soon, and it never took SO long that we’d lose interest in playing.

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In this case, Bubba beat her Mama pretty well. ☺

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It’s such a simple little game, but our fun started around 9:00 in the morning and continued right up until 10:45 when I suggested we do something else.  If you ask me, nearly two hours of playing with a very simple homemade game is pretty good!

Currently, our 10 Apples Up On Top Math Game remains on a tray on our table to be played with again soon, but when we’re ready to put it away, we’ll simply tuck it into a bag and put it on our book / game shelf for when we’re ready to play again!


Ready to see the other awesome activities our preschool book club members came up with this time around?  Here they are:

 Apple Book Club

relay race    |    sensory bag    |    play dough activity    |    baked cotton balls


Want to try a little preschool book club of your own?  See the entire series here.



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Today was one of those days were you roll out of bed, do nothing all morning, and then when lunchtime rolls around, realize you’ve done nothing all morning and kick it into high gear for the rest of the day.  Despite a very emotional couple of hours in the afternoon, it was exactly what we needed.  Our morning was filled with books, cuddles, manicures, pretend play, and Miss G’s first ever taste of {dark} chocolate chip pancakes, while the afternoon took us into tear-apart-the-house-and-clean-and-reorganize-everything mode.  Gracen was the best little helper and kept saying, ‘Sure! Of course I’ll do that for you, Mama.  I’ll always help you.’  It pretty much melted my heart.  Then there were a couple very emotional hours that were soothed by a candlelit lavender bath, followed by a comfort food dinner and bedtime.  Ahhh…

Slow Saturday

manicure station // mama’s turn

surprise pancakes  //  chocolate chip!

organized  //  clean, finally

lavender bath  //  deconstructed lasagna



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This afternoon we headed down to Fahaheel for some fun around the fish market and fountains before sitting down to an outdoor dinner at Paul.  Just after we’d ordered our meals, Gracen looked around and announced with certainty…

‘I think it’s white day.  Almost everybody here is wearing white!   …Mama, don’t you think it’s white dress day?!  Everyone around us is wearing at least a little bit of white!’

I couldn’t help but giggle.  Yes, sweet girl.  Everyone around us is wearing white.  That’s because we live in Kuwait and are surrounded by men who are wearing dishdashas.  ‘White Day’ could totally be a thing, though.  ☺


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5 Cute Non Candy Halloween Treats | Mama Papa Bubba

With Halloween just a couple of weeks away, Miss G and I have been talking a lot about what kinds of treats she wants to handout to her friends this year…  Of course since she’s a sugar-free kid, we stick to sugar-free treats, which means we have to be a little more creative.  This week, we’ve been having fun coming up with all sorts of cute non-candy Halloween treats and we figure that these five snacks would be perfect to share with classmates or friends.  They’re all simple to make, they’re all healthy {or at least relatively healthy}, and in the words of Grae, they’re all ‘SOOO CUTE!’   {click to read more…}

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Today, we celebrated Thanksgiving with our Kuwait family.  We hosted a traditional turkey dinner for 30+ people which meant our apartment was loud and busting at the seams, but in the very best way possible.  I’m beyond grateful to have so many wonderful people in our lives.  People that make being away from home on a typically very family-filled weekend less hard and more fun.   I didn’t manage to take all that many photos throughout the day as I was kept fairly busy with my hosting duties, but here’s a little peek at what this year’s Thanksgiving in Kuwait looked like… (more…)

LEGO Patterns Busy Box | Mama Papa Bubba

Truth be told, I’ve never loved the name ‘busy box’.  Or ‘busy bag’ for that matter.  It’s ridiculous, I know, but I think I associate both with the term ‘busy work’ from my teaching days, which to me, is basically work {often of very little value} that keeps kids busy and out of the teacher’s hair.  Not my cup of tea.  I figure that if a teacher is going to expect her students to engage in some sort of activity or work, it shouldn’t simply keep them busy {that’s a waste of time} – it should engage them, challenge them, and teach them something worthwhile along the way – right??  Well, after looking at many, many activities labeled as busy boxes or bags, I learned that most of them do all of those things.  Most of them are fun, playful, and help little ones build on some sort of skill {or multiple skills at once}.  And yes, they are easy to pull out during times when you’d like your little one to play quietly and/or independently {while you shower, during restaurant and doctor’s office waits, during quiet time, etc.}, but that’s only because you’ve taken the time to prep the fun in advance – not because they’re anything like boring busy work.  And so, because I’ve finally made peace with the term, here’s our first busy box – a LEGO patterns busy box. ☺ (more…)

Garland of Thanks | Mama Papa Bubba

Last year Gracen and I created our first ever showcase of gratefulness with a giant thankful tree.  I loved having a visual representation of all of the things she felt thankful for and the process of creating the tree together provided the perfect opportunity for us to discuss just how much we have to be grateful for.  This year, we decided to switch things up a little bit.  We once again created fall leaves {but this time using real leaves as stamps} and then turned them into a beautiful garland of thanks. (more…)