Here are some games and activities that can be done at home – when they fit into the family’s schedule.
1. Counting identical items (the glass stones used in flower vases are perfect).
2. Count along a counting string. This builds one-to-one correspondence.
3. Play Number Line Game – a printable counting game.
4. Playing cards – sorting them into suits or numbers.
5. When your child knows some of the numbers, play Concentration. Set out 4 of each of the cards (use only the ones your child knows) face down in a random pattern and turn two over at a time to try and find a match. This activity builds working memory.
6. When the child has learned the numbers on the cards, play the game War. You each start with half the cards. You each flip one over and the largest number wins. If the child only knows the numbers 1-6, then just use those cards from the deck and set the rest aside.
7. Play these printable games: The Number Line Game or Race to 100. A great store-bought game is Snakes & Ladders.
1. Play games involving rolling dice. Snakes and Ladders is a perfect game for beginners. Once your child can subitize (recognize that the 5 dots makes 5, etc.), you can play with two dice. Trouble and Sorry! are also great.
2. Number Line Game using +/- cards instead of dice. This builds understanding of addition and subtraction.
3. Play card games – War, Kings in the Corner, Crazy 8s.
4. Play more complex board games: Rack-O, Set, Backgammon, Yahtzee.
5. Your child counts money, you play banker. Have your child count a pile of change, trading in pennies for nickels, etc, to come up with the total. Learning to count using quarters comes in very handy with math questions later on…
6. Math quiz site: this is great for practice!
Ages 7 and up:
At this point, your child will be expected to be able to add numbers and will be introduced to multiplication at school.
1. The best math game – hands down – for kids this age is Yahtzee. It builds understanding of probability, facility with calculations, familiarity with multiplication, and involves strategy.
2. Practice skip counting (counting by 2s, 10s, etc.) is the best way to learn multiplication. Learning through practice is NOT the same as rote learning. Understanding what multiplication is comes first, then being able to figure out the answer. Recalling the answer comes third and is not useful without the first two steps! To develop facility with multiplication, have your child fill out the skip counting page. Let your child figure out the patterns – it is an interesting discovery to make.
3. Nines trick. There are several ways to use the patterns in the 9 times tables. Here is the best one for figuring out the 9 times tables.
Place both hands face down on the table in front of you. The far left pinky finger represents 1, ring finger is 2, etc. To figure out 9 x 3, count along fingers from left to right, then tuck your third finger under. The fingers to the left of the tucked in finger are the tens (2) and the fingers to the right are the units (7). Answer is 27. Do the same for 9 x 6, tucking under the 6th finger (thumb of your right hand). Answer is 54.
4. Math quiz site: content includes multiplication, division, algebra and more