Beginning math isn’t as simple as it seems. There’s much more to learn than 123. That said, with a little guidance, there is a LOT you can teach the little mathematicians at your house. Read on to get an idea of the basics you’ll want to lay in the early years. We’ll even share some fun, hands on ways to really drive the concepts home.
Sometimes math gets a bad reputation as “boring.” At Argo Prep we know that’s not true so the sooner we can help kids learn to love math, the better. What better way to make math fun than with games?! Read on for some super simple games you can play with your budding mathematicians from the comfort of your own home.
Math starts early! From as young as 2 or 3 years old children can develop a love of math. Even basic counting is math. There are TONS of math games you can play with your preschooler that are so fun they won’t even realize they’re learning.
Taking Turns Counting Game:
This game not only helps your little one practice counting, but also reinforces the idea of taking turns. You begin by saying 1, your child says 2 and you continue taking turns each counting one number at a time. See how high you can count together! Pro Tip: As your child advances you can play the same game counting by 2s, 5s and 10s!
Count the Beans:
After students develop basic counting skills they need to solidify the idea of one to one correspondence. Using concrete objects to play games helps them to understand that each number they say corresponds to exactly one object counted. Enter the “Count the Beans” game. Scoop some beans into a cup and let your little one “spill” them on the table (they love that part!). Now, it’s counting time. Encourage your child to move each bean to a new spot on the table as they count.
Finding and recognizing shapes is the beginning of geometry. Why not take a shape hunt with your preschooler! Take a walk together and find objects that are different shapes. There are shapes all around you just waiting to be found!
What Shape am I Thinking Of?:
What shape am I thinking of? is another great geometry game for little mathematicians. Describe a shape to your child, for example “This shape has 4 equal sides. It also has 4 pointy corners.” Then, let them guess what it is. (Did you guess square from my clues!?). Once they get guessing down, switch and have them describe the shape using it’s attributes so that you can guess!
Complete the Pattern:
Patterns are a fun part of early geometry that lends themselves to playful learning. Choose some objects from around your house, maybe coins or colorful buttons, even pasta or dried beans. Lay out a pattern on the table and let your child complete it. Take turns starting and completing the patterns.
Who’s the fastest?:
Who’s the fastest? Is a great way to help your child master their math facts. After all, what child doesn’t want to be faster than mom or dad!? Print out a page of math facts (you can start with 10 at a time and increase the amount as your child gets better and better). Start a stopwatch and go! You and your child each complete the page of facts as quickly as possible. Who will be the fastest!?
Addition or Multiplication Card Game:
Grab a deck of cards and get playing. Each player draws two cards. (Choose before you begin whether you’ll add or multiply.). Each player adds or multiplies the two cards and the player with the highest answer gets to add all four cards to their “pot.” The player with the largest pot at the end wins! You can even make a recording sheet like the one below to keep track of all the math you’ve done while having fun!
Lowest Difference Card Game:
Very similar to the addition/multiplication card game but this time your goal is to get the lowest answer possible! How will you organize the cards you draw to achieve your goal! Each player draws two cards and must subtract them to get the lowest answer possible (enter the negative number!). Whoever has the lowest answer wins the hand.
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Math Facts Bingo:
Create a bingo board filled with math facts. Whichever math facts your child is working to master will work! Do not include the answers on the game board. Now, call out numbers one at a time. If you call a number that is the answer to one of the facts on their board they get to cover it. For extra fun, cover the facts with chocolate chips or a favorite candy and when they get a bingo let them eat the candies as a reward!
Whichever games you choose it’s most important to show your child that learning math is fun! If your child doesn’t appear to be “into” a game on a certain day, move on and try another one. Kids will show you when they’re ready to learn and when they’re ready, these games make learning and practicing math a TON of fun!
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