Kindergarten brings many new things; tying shoes, learning to read, and yes, even math! Math skills at this age are basic, yet if the student does not understand the basic concepts of counting, money, time, estimation, and reasoning skills, he or she could struggle with them in higher grades. Give your Kindergartener plenty of opportunity to interact with numbers on a daily basis to foster a lifetime love of math!
First Things First
Think of daily ways to use numbers in everyday life. Paying bills, shopping, using stamps, measuring, table setting, making lists, using proportions, sorting objects and telling time, are all a function of math.
Kindergarten is the beginning of learning basic math skills and mathematical functions will become increasingly more abstract as the grades progress; therefore, giving students the opportunity to have a practical understanding of numbers is important. Remember though to find a practical use for any math query to assist at home. Most importantly, teach your young Kindergartener to have an inquisitive mind by asking thought-provoking questions.
Math Activities and Games
- Counting objects: Have your child count the number of doors, windows, people, clocks, pets, and even keys. For writing practice have her write, “There are ___ doors in my house,” and so on. Have your Kindergartener count the number of place settings needed and assist with table setting.
- Counting coins: Always have coins available for counting. This could be having extra coins on hand to give at the cash register. Tell your child how much change you need. For example, if you need $.35, tell her you need one quarter and one dime (or any way to make the change.) Hide several coins in a box or sock. Have her identify the name of the coin by feeling the shape and size. Never underestimate the power of a penny. Save pennies and count them with your child. They will learn the value of one dollar.
- Money exchange: Label toys with costs and practice purchasing them. Write the cost of a toy on a sticky note, for example, $.25 for a teddy bear or $.20 for a book. Play store using real money and have your child give you the right change.
- Estimation: Take a small measurement tool (a cup, small bowl) and some dried beans, grapes or other small object. Ask your child to tell you how many it will take to fill the cup. Write the number down. Take the actual measurement and compare. With frequent practice your Kindergartener’s estimation skills will improve.
- Reasoning skills: Trace some kitchen utensils and ask your child which one fits inside the outlines, and why.
- Count down: Teach calendar and number sense by counting down the number of days to a special event. This could be a birthday or field trip. Write the number on a sticky note and place it on the calendar.
- Time: Create a play clock using a paper plate. When it is time for supper, bed, or bath, have your son or daughter turn the hands on the clock to the time.
- Number sense: Give your child old bills or even credit card advertisements (junk mail) and highlight all of the numbers they can find. Give her a deck of cards and have her order the numbers from least to greatest and greatest to least.
- Sorting: Have your Kindergartener sort objects by color, size or shape. This works well with buttons.
- Literacy connection: Write the words to One Potato on a piece of paper. Have your Kindergartener practice counting potatoes and reading the words. (One potato, two potato, three potato, four. I love potatoes. Mommy, please make more!) Change the number words to practice up to ten. Feel free to try my lesson on One, Two, Buckle My Shoe.
By incorporating these everyday math activities into your routine, you will reinforce the basic skills being taught in your child’s Kindergarten classroom and helping her understand how math and numbers are used on a daily basis, throughout our lives.