Celebrate the 100th Day of the Year with Me

Every year, the teenagers and I volunteer with the Children's Museum of Indianapolis' 100 Days of School celebration. Area schools bring their kindergartners and first graders to the museum, and in between visiting the exhibits, the volunteers help the kids do fun activities relating to the number 100.

This year, my teenager and I had hoped to be assigned to the 100-bean maraca station again, but I actually loved the station we ended up at even more!

When kids came to our station, we helped them measure their height and their arm span, and helped them record the information in inches and centimeters:

If the kids had a little extra time because they were waiting on a few kids to finish up, I'd sometimes also have them stand on their tiptoes and then measure their height so we could compare how much taller they were on tiptoes (usually something like three inches!), or we'd see how long they could step or how high they could reach, etc. There's a lot you can do with a horizontal ruler and a vertical ruler!

It's always fun to me to see the range of kids we encounter, and the differences and similarities--we run through something like 250 kids in two hours, so those differences and similarities are really noticeable! Most of the kids, for instance, were around 143-147 centimeters tall, and their arm spans were always a little shorter. BUT they were all wearing shoes, so I told them that if they hadn't been, their arm span would be the same as their height! It was especially fun for kids to measure themselves against the horizontal ruler and then step back to visualize their arm span, so now I'm on a whole kick about how early ed classrooms ought to have those rulers set out the same way that most of them probably have height charts, so kids can visualize lengths in two planes. 

Many of the kids could not write numbers bigger than 100, but many could, and nearly all could write the numbers below 100. Several kids did a cute thing in which if I said, for instance, that they were 145 centimeters tall, they would write "100 45" on the line. I'd then show them what it looked like to combine it into 145, but I thought their solution was so clever, especially coming from different kids from different schools!

The 100th Day of School wasn't a thing when Matt or I were in school, so it wasn't on my radar when the kids were little enough to have fun with it, and I'm actually really sad about that, because we LOVED random little holidays and celebrations like that, and it would have been as super cute as our yearly celebration of Pi Day and everyone's half birthdays and May the Fourth. The celebration is a fun excuse for kids not just to practice the one-to-one correspondence of counting and the fine-motor skills of writing the numbers, but also to build context and meaning for the concept of 100, and explore the way that larger numbers work.

It turns out that this year, the 100th day of the year is Monday, April 10, which is quite a respectable homeschool day to celebrate a holiday! Here are some activities that I think would be fun--and educational!--to do with younger kids to celebrate the 100th day of the year:

paper chain. We made SO MANY paper chains when the kids were younger! Syd, especially was all in on paper chains, and we used them a lot to count down to various big events. Here's the paper chain birthday countdown that we made in anticipation of her fourth birthday, including the discovery that tearing a link off of a paper chain? OMG, such horror. Such despair.

That's why I actually think a paper chain counting UP to the 100th day of the year would be so great. Every day you don't tear a link off--you ADD one!!! Much less distressing to those tender, tiny hearts. 

For bonus points, make these laminated index cards with the numbers and number words on them for kids to match, trace, and add to their collection each day.

hundred grid fraction art. This reminds me a little of the mathematical map coloring that the kids loved just a few years ago! Kids color a pixel design onto a hundred grid, then can play with rearranging the colors and recording the fractional or decimal representation of each color.

roll to a hundred (or roll to zero). This is a fast-paced game that both of my kids loved long after they'd mastered their numbers, addition, and subtraction to 100. And it incorporates coloring, which is ALSO super fun (and utilizes those fine-motor skills, ahem):

This would make a fun "party game" for the hundredth day of the year, and you could even possibly convince a kid to fill out a blank 100 grid in preparation.

build with 100 things. This works well if you've got sets of more than 100 of various building toys, like LEGOs or blocks, but it would also probably be even more fun and creative if you chose seemingly random things. Can you build something or create a design using 100 pennies? Can you build a structure using 100 books? Who can build the biggest pyramid out of 100 rocks? Tiny little things in bulk also make fabulous math manipulatives, so it wouldn't be a terrible idea to splash out and buy your kid a 100-set of something small and cute as a 100th Day of the Year gift.

write a googol. That time that we read a book about googols, and then I asked each of my small children to write one, turned into a bit of a wacky adventure.

I scrolled Pinterest to look at other ideas, and while a lot of projects made me cringe or looked super corny, there was also tons of non-cringe, non-corny ideas to build a kid's numeracy and inspire them to love larger numbers and help them feel festive and celebratory. Many of the printables displayed would also work well for us homeschoolers to celebrate the 100th day of the year. I know that *I*, for one, will be coloring and wearing a giant cardboard 100-shaped hat on April 10!

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