Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Games and Math

A child playing with building blocks, is learning math. They are learning about planning, problem-solving, and classifying objects by size and shape.

A child playing hopscotch is learning about numbers all the while getting physical activity.

A child playing cards, chess or a board game like Chutes and Ladders is learning strategy, number recognition, matching, comparing numbers, sorting as well as counting when dealing the cards or moving their game piece from one spot to another.

As you can see traditional games such as Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, War, and Connect Four, give children "numerous" possibilties to develop and practice their math skills. Games are fun for children so why not have fun while learning math?

Below I have listed more "games" you can play with your children with materials you can find around your house.

Family Involvement Math Games/Activities:
  • Newspaper Search-search through a newspaper for numbers in the news. Look for numbers less than 10, a number more than 50, a graph, shapes, weather symbols, days of the week, date and year.  You can get more creative with this depending on your child's level.
  • Guess My Rule-sort items a certain way. You could do this when you are unloading your groceries or when organizing toys. Have your child guess your rule for sorting the items. Then, once your child guesses your rule, let them sort the items and you try to guess their rule.
  • Everyday Estimation-estimating is an important math skill to develop, especially for son to be Kindergarteners, and you can do this at home or on the go. At home, fill a  clear jar with certain items (make them different items every week, varying in size and shape) and ask your child to guess how many items are in there. If your child is learning about letters, it could be fun to put items in the jar that start with whatever letter they are learning. You could also use the jar to ask your child, how many scoops it would take to fill it with rice or beans. While driving from school, you could ask your child to guess how long it might take to get home. While crossing the street, ask your child to guess how many steps it might take to get across. Estimating opportunities are everywhere!
  • Money, money, money!  This activity is great for 5 and 6 year olds. All you need is 10 of each coin (penny, nickel, dime) 6 quarters and a die to roll.  The object of the game is to be the first player to earn a set amount (10 or 20 cents is a good amount). The first player rolls the die and gets the number of pennies shown on the die. Players take turns rolling the die to collect additional coins. As each player accumulates 5 pennies or more, the 5 pennies are traded for a nickel. The first player to reach the set amount wins. For your younger children, you could introduce a different coin every week. Talk about its characteristics, such as color and shape and then the value of the coin.
Parents, we hope you will keep practicing (or playing) with your children and enjoy being a part of their learning experience.

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