Image by: dilettantiquity

The Great 8!

Age Range
3-7 yrs
Setup Time
5 minutes!
Setup Location

With encouragement from their teachers and parents, young children can develop the necessary skills for life-long success and confidence in math just by interacting with the world around them. In fact, there are many fun and easy ways to introduce important math skills to young children without using the drill-and-practice method. Developmentally, the best methods for encouraging young children to develop math skills include activities that do not feel like traditional math at all!

The math concepts important for young children to learn may seem simple, but they are the foundation for later understanding of mathematical relationships and processes and success in STEM studies.

Working with patterns allows children to begin to think about symmetry and multiplication, and meaningful counting teaches the importance of the number system and reinforces addition, subtraction, and multiplication skills.

This activity is a great way to introduce the concept of multiplication to your child!


  1. Draw an octopus for your kid on his favorite color paper (construction paper)

  2. Draw eight circles on each of the tentacles to represent suckers. (Note: there are actually two rows of suction cups on the underside of each arm, but we were focusing on the number '8' for this activity)

  3. Have your child place 8 Cheerios on the 8 suction cups on each arm of the octopus. For older/ more advanced kids, you can have them color the suckers or paste buttons onto them (each can be a different color)

  4. Encourage your child to count the total number of suckers on the Octopus. Introduce concepts of multiplication and addition for older/ more advanced children

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.