In first-grade math, your child will be learning shapes and patterns, how numbers work, and the language of math — like “addition” and “subtraction.”

### Pattern game

What you need: A pen and paper or a pile of coins.
What your child learns: How to understand and make patterns.
How to do it: Start by drawing a simple pattern with basic shapes, such as a star, a circle, and a square. Now ask your child to continue the pattern. Once she does, it’s her turn to start a pattern that you continue. If she needs more of a challenge, do a three- or four-part pattern, such as a star, a circle, a square, and a diamond.

You can also play this game with a pile of coins. Lay them out in a pattern, such as: two nickels, one penny, one dime. Ask your child to repeat the pattern and then start her own.

### Shape hunt

What you need: A pen and paper.
What your child learns: How to recognize and name different shapes.
How to do it: In the house or outside, go on a shape hunt and make it into a game by seeing who can point out the most shapes along the way. Or pick a shape (to make it more challenging, pick a shape like a diamond or octagon) and see who can find the most. Write down how many of each shape you both found. The winner is the one who finds the most shapes.

### Count the money

What you need: A pile of spare change (with pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters) and a pair of dice.
What your child learns: To understand the value of coins and learn how to count them.
How to do it: Have your child roll the dice. She wins the same number of pennies as the number of dots showing on the dice — make sure she counts the dots for practice. When she has five pennies, she turns them in for one nickel. Two nickels turn into a dime, and so on. Whoever hits one dollar first (another chance to practice counting to 100!) wins.

### Counting competition

What you need: Nothing but your voices!
What your child learns: To count to 100, forwards and backwards. This is a helpful game for first-graders, who should be able to count up to 100 by the end of the year.
How to do it: Count together in the car, waiting for the bus, or standing in line at the store. Time it and see how fast your child can get to 100 . If your child is up for the challenge, count backwards as fast as possible.