Sanity Savers: Octopus Counting

By: Will Kawalec
Lead Play to Learn Facilitator  


Construction paper, glue stick, scissors, marker.  For a modified version you can use string, and beads.  

Sanity Savers: Octopus Counting


Set up: 5 Minutes
Activity 15-30 Minutes  

Academic Subject(s):

Math, Art, Counting.   
This lesson supports the following NYS Curriculum Standards:PK.ARTS.16, PK.MATH.2, PK.MATH.3, PK.MATH.4b, PK.MATH.8, K.CC.A.3, K.CC.B.4, K.OA.A.1  

Have your child practice their counting skills while you count and complete the 2020 Census! This fun art project about an octopus will get your child practicing counting, number recognition and fine motor skills. You can also practice counting with your child when completing your 2020 Census online. Have your child help you count the number of people who live in your household. Are there any other numbers on the 2020 Census your child can help you count?  


Step 1: Cut a half circle out with construction paper, this will be the octopus head.
Step 2: Cut out 8 separate strips of paper, these will be the tentacles.
Step 3: Connect the 8 tentacles to the head with glue or tape.
Step 4: Place dots increasing from 1 to 8 on each tentacle.  You can use anything for the dots including making marks with crayons or makers. Add the numeric digit to the top of each tentacle to correspond with the number of dots below.  

This is a great opportunity for your child to practice both counting and fine motor skills. A great add on step is having the adult draw an outline of a circle representing the number on the tentacle then the child can use dabbers, stickers, cotton balls etc. to carefully place the material inside the outlined circle.  

Step 5: Decorate the octopus, you can also create a background for your octopus. I glued mine on a blue piece of paper to represent the ocean!   


Once your child has created their octopus you can easily use this craft as a tool to assist in counting and math.  For purposes of addition you can add the dots of selected legs (leg 2 plus leg 4 equals 6).  Subtraction can be done via the opposite (leg 3 minus leg 1 equals 2). 

Vocabulary Words

Tentacle: A limb from an animal, especially invertebrates. Octopus’ tentacles are what you might call arms or legs. 
Intelligent: Something or someone who shows that they have knowledge.  To be smart! Octopus are some of the most intelligent animals on the planet!  
Ink: A usually dark liquid that’s released by some animal species when they are threatened or in danger. An octopus uses ink to escape predators.

For more Sanity Savers projects click here!

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