Math doesn’t have to be and, frankly, shouldn’t be limited to problems in a workbook. In fact, you can find examples of math in the real world all around us. To keep math fun, try these 12 easy ways to do everyday math with your young child.
1. Play board games or card games together that involve counting, moving a certain number of spaces, or matching numbers.
2. Go on a number hunt. Pick a number 0-9 and have your child practice locating it around the house. Cereal boxes and other food packages have lots of numbers.
3. Have your child practice counting out loud as high as he or she can go. For a kindergarten student, a good goal is to learn to count to 100. If you’re looking for a challenge for your young child, practice skip-counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s.
4. Count as you do daily activities with your child. For example, count the number of steps to the basement laundry, the number of letters or catalogs that come in the mail, or how many plates or bowls you need for setting the table for a family meal.
5. Play counting games in the car or as you walk down the street. “Let’s count how many dogs we see on our walk” or “Let’s count how many trucks we can see on the way to the store.”
6. Collect objects in nature like leaves or rocks. When you get home, sort them by color, size, or type. How many different categories can you find? How many objects work in more than one category? Try making a pattern with the objects.
7. Give your child a handful of change. Count how many you have of each type, while practicing the names and values of each coin.
8. Go on a scavenger hunt for shapes. For example, ask your child to find triangles, circles, and other shapes at home, on car rides, or at the store. For a challenge, look for cylinders, cones, spheres, and cubes.
9. Help your child practice learning important numbers, such as his or her birthday, your phone numbers, and home address.
10. Use household objects to practice doing simple addition and subtraction problems.
11. Have your child practice making the numbers 0-31 out of yarn or pipe cleaners or trace the numbers in sand, sugar, salt, or whipped cream.
12. Practice using words like yesterday, today, and tomorrow, as well as describing where things are using positional words like left, right, above, below, top, middle, or bottom.