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Interactive, hands on games and activities are the best way to introduce math skills to children in preschool. Here are some interactive subtraction games for Pre-Kindergarten that you can use in your classroom, or even at home. These games are all designer for larger groups of children.
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Crossing the River:
In this game, draw a large circle or rectangle around the room. Designate one part of the circle to be the river. Color it with a different colored chalk, or place chairs at the beginning and the end to show where it is. For this game, you will play some music and the children will walk around on the circle. At any point you will stop the music. The children who are caught in the” river” will be out of the game. When this happens get the group to count the total number of children in the group. Next get them to count the number of children who are out. On a whiteboard/blackboard write down this calculation and help the children find out how many children are left in the game. Once they find out, confirm the right answer by counting the rest of the children. Then you can do another round the same way.
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Floods in the City:
This game is conducted like the game above. Here, make a large rectangle on the floor and divide it into 4 to make 4 smaller rectangles inside the big one. Name each rectangle with the name of a city. In a small bag or basket, write these names on 4 cards and put them inside. The children run around the large rectangle at the beginning of each round. When the music stops, they all choose any one rectangle to stand in. The teacher then picks out the name of any one city from the basket without looking. That city is said to be flooded, and all the children in it are out of the game. Help the children go through the subtraction calculations like explained in the game above. Once the answer is confirmed, you can go into the next round.
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You will need a large space for this game. Place two baskets with 20 potatoes inside them on a line. About 10 feet away, draw a parallel line, and place two empty baskets there. Divide the children into two teams. The children have two minutes to take as many potatoes from one side to the other within these two minutes. The only rule is that they only allowed to walk, not run. At the end count the number of potatoes in both baskets and help children to a subtraction calculation on a whiteboard. The team with the least potatoes left in their first basket wins.