Math is not just about numbers. It is about noticing patterns, connecting the dots or finding the exception and making these things visible through numbers. This is why hands-on experiences that involve comparing, grouping or patterning become key to build a solid foundation for future math skills. They give children a feeling for what math is used for and help them visualize concepts without abstract symbols.
Children naturally engage in these types of experiences early on. We’ve seen both my daughters sort sticks from rocks or order them from small to big. However, if you want to further support your kids and help them develop these key early numeracy skills we got you! We have put together 7 simple ideas that you can do on a regular basis and even take outdoors!! You don’t always have to do them but they are a great toolkit to carry around in case the moment presents itself.
How To Develop Early Math Skills Outdoors
That’s it! Simple activities you can do on a regular basis with your kids to help them develop early math skills. And build a solid foundation for all the numbers to come.
If you are stuck at home and want to find fun and engaging ways to sneak in some math I have your back! I have gathered some fun home math games that you can do with your children (mostly toddler and preschooler level) that require minimum preparation and are fun for all. The idea behind this post is not to have an extensive list of activities but rather to collect just a few different games to sneak in some learning. The home math games I have selected get your kids moving and learning at the same time and require materials that you have at home or that can easily be replaced. I even hope that they might inspire you to create your own games with the materials you have at home. I have also added some observations and suggestions for each activity on how you can guide the learning and make it an educational experience. So keep reading and reconnect with your family through play.
A fun twist on Twister! This is a great opportunity to get your children moving a bit and sneaking in some adding practice. If your child is still too young for adding you can just do it with number recognition in the following way:
Each time you play you can let each color represent different numbers (for example, 1 to 4 the first time you play 5 to 8 the next time)
Cover the circles on the mat with the numbers and then start playing
Use the spinner or just call out numbers and body parts: this is a great way to be creative and mix it up especially if your kids don’t know right from left so just go with the flow and don’t be afraid to call out elbow to 3!
If you don’t have the game of Twister at home you can make it yourself! It is pretty simple to make but here are a few suggestions to include your kids. You can also just prepare everything yourself and have it as a surprise for them:
Collect colored paper (If you don’t have colored paper just plain paper and color it yourself): 6 red, 6 green, 6 blue and 6 yellow
Optional: Outline the number for each color on the paper and have your kids trace the numbers with whatever you have (colored pencils, paint, stickers). You can also do this yourself
Optional: Let your kids cut around the numbers
Tape the numbers to the floor and start the fun!
I plastified the numbers to be able to use more than once and for other games on this post (takes a bit longer but is worth the effort)
The good thing about making it yourself is you can use the numbers for the other games or find other ways to use them. You can also make it smaller for smaller kids! Also, if you are making this yourself you can create a “shapes twister”. Instead of having each color represent a number have each color be a shape! Square, circle, triangle and rectangle.
Fun and fast paced game that will help your children with number recognition! If you don’t have enough fly swatters at home you can just use your hands to slap the number. You can make your own number cards:
My suggestion would be to have the numeral (1,2,3…) on one side and dots on the other side so you can change it around.
Additionally it is best to color-code each different number. So for example, all ones are green and all twos are red and so on. Color coding will help your child learn and remember things easier.
If you don’t have dice, prepare additional number cards that you can flip
Great game to get your kids moving around and learning math! I love this one and it is very well explained and even offers cards to print. If you don’t have enough baskets or don’t have snowballs here are my suggestions:
If you don’t have baskets use shoe boxes, pots, empty some drawers… I’m sure you can find things around your house
If you don’t have snowballs the writer recommends using rolled up socks! Great idea!
4. Shape race from the web (I have not been able to find the original source)
The link for this game is just a photograph. I have not been able to find the original source but it is quite clear how you can prepare and play this game:
Collect 4 sets of colored paper or color your own paper
For each color, cut out a shape (square, circle, triangle, and rectangle)
Make a big dice: click here for a tutorial for making paper dice
You have four shapes and six sides on the dice so here are a few suggestions for what you could put on those extra sides:
All shapes on both extra
Two shapes on one side and the other two on the other one (for example, circle and square on one side and triangle and rectangle on the other)
Choose a shape and stand at the beginning
Roll the dice
First one to the end wins!
That’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed this round-up and that you have found some inspiration for some fun Stay At Home Math! Get your kids moving and learning and reconnect as a family.