Everyday Math Games and Activites

Math Around the House Activities:
  • Cooking-If your children are like mine, they love to help in the kitchen, especially when you are baking something really sweet and yummy. Cooking is full of opportunities to practice math skills such as counting, measuring, estimating, adding, subtracting, temperature and time. For your younger ones, you could even talk about shapes or patterns. For example, different shape cookies or the shape of your pans.
  • Laundry-yes, even with the laundry you can incorporate math and get a little helper to help you sort the clothes. With laundry, you and your child can estimate how many clothes might fit into the washer, but will not overfill it. You could have your child set the wash and then once the laudry is washed and dried, match the socks (if they didn't get lost like ours do). Then, take even further...when folding you can talk about wholes and halves.
  • Collection of things-your child may have a collection of certain things like cars, trains or like my girls princesses and dress-up clothes. With their little collection, you can have your child organize and sort the items by size, shape, color, design or maybe their function. This way, they learn how to classify things.
  • Meal time or Snack Time- you may have a child that takes all day to eat or doesn't eat that well. I have both. So I had to get a little clever with the mealtimes and snack times just so I could get through it without losing my sanity. For example, for breakfast, my girls sometimes eat Nutrigrain waffles. I cut them in eight triangles. So already, I could talk about the shape of the waffle, fractions when cutting and then have them count the pieces of waffles. Once the pieces of waffle are counted, I say, "You have eight pieces of waffle to eat, and if you eat one, how many would you have left?" I keep going with this strategy until the waffle is gone and it will be because they will get so excited about counting and taking (eating) away the waffle. At snack or a treat time, you could have your child estimate how many M&Ms or fruit chews are in the bag, then have them count the pieces, and then sort them by color and type. You could go even further and ask them what type or color they had the most of and the least. This is a great way to reinforce, "more than" and "less than" concepts, which they will use a lot when reading graphs.
  • Money-your child may have piggybank in their room that they love adding coins or dollars to it anytime they can. This is a great time to not only talking about the importance of money and saving, but it is also a good time to simply introduce the name of the coins, their worth and how they are different from each other.

  • More Math Games and 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.
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