Math for young kids

5 fun math games to play with your young child.

By GreatSchools Staff

To help your kindergartner improve math skills, here are some easy games to play:

Sorting beans
What this teaches: Sorting, counting, and patterns
What you need: A mixed cup of dried beans
Math activities: Have your child
1) sort the cup of mixed bean into piles by color,
2) count each pile of beans, and then
3) mix the piles together and make a row of patterns using the different colors (like: pinto, black, black, navy; pinto, black, black, navy).

Counting coins
What this teaches: Counting, coin values
What you need: A pile of mixed coins
Math activities: Have your child
1) separate pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters into separate piles,
2) tell you what each coin is worth (or listen while you explain),
3) add up the total value of pennies, nickels, and dimes, and then
3) count the pennies by ones (1, 2, 3 . . .), the nickels by fives (5, 10, 15 . . .), and the dimes by tens (10, 20, 30 . . .).

Shape walk
What this teaches: Counting, coin values
What you need: A sharp eye!
Math activities: Do a shape-hunting game in the house or outdoors, looking for squares (bathroom tiles, windowpanes, sidewalk squares), rectangles (doors, refrigerators, trucks), circles (round kitchen tables, door knobs, round traffic lights), octagons (stop signs).

Fruit fractions
What this teaches: Fractions
What you need: An apple
How it works: Your kindergartner won’t be learning about fractions in school yet, but you can give her a head start by helping her understand them now. In the kitchen, take an apple and show your child that it’s one apple. Then cut it in half. Show her that now you have two halves. Have your child put the two halves together to make a whole. Then have her take it apart again for the two halves. This shows your child that two halves make a whole. Once she gets that concept, you can cut each half in two, and talk about quarters.

Make kitchen music
What this teaches: Counting and patterns
What you need: Kitchen “instruments” like pots, pans, and spoons
How it works: Beat and rhythm teach about counting and patterns, so put together a kitchen band with your child. Put on some music with a strong, steady beat and play with your child to find the beat.