Math in Play: Fun Ways to Include Math In Children's Play
Math can be an abstract subject for many children. However, it doesn't have to be that way!
There are so many ways you can include math in your child's playtime that they will love and learn at the same time!
Here are 10 activities to get you started:
1. Use math in everyday play to create a more mathematical mindset
Try this: "Every time you cut with scissors, count the pieces that are left. Then put them in order from the smallest piece to largest."
Children will be more likely to think about math when they are engaged in everyday activities.
This helps create a mathematical mindset!
It also improves fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as children learn how to use different types of tools like scissors or playdough tools.
3. Provide kids with opportunities to practice their skills through games such as card games or board games
These games can be used to play on the go while traveling or even at home!
Children will enjoy these activities and they are a great way for them to practice their math skills.
Many of these types of games also work on memory skills too which is always important in early childhood development.
Try playing some card matching games with your children like "Go Fish," Snap," or "Memory".
You could really make it more fun by putting numbers (or letters) face up and letting kids try and count how many cards there are that match certain numbers (or letters).
This activity works self-awareness as well since kids need to know what number comes after another before you start counting out the pairs together.
It's also great for working on fine motor skills as kids need to try and hold the cards between their fingers so they stay stable while counting.
4. Encourage children to think about how they can use math in new ways - even if it's just counting steps or adding up grocery items at the store
You can always try to introduce math in new ways! You could say things like, "How many steps are there from the couch to the kitchen?" or you could count out different amounts of grocery items at the store.
This will allow your child to think about how they use math every day and help them understand that it is important for all areas of their life - not just school."
5. Practice different types of problem-solving strategies with your child
This will help them learn how to solve problems on their own rather than relying on you for all the answers.
You could try saying things like, "If you have one block and your friend has two blocks how many would each of you have if you want to share them just right? One for one is easy but what about three for one?"
You can also ask questions like this when doing everyday activities around the house. For example, while making cookies say something like, "if we use four eggs - does that mean we need more flour or sugar since they are in similar measurements by volume?"
This will encourage children to think critically which is super important at all stages in childhood development!
6. Provide children with a variety of toys that have math-based activities, such as blocks or puzzles
Blocks are a great toy to use for activities that have math-based concepts.
You could say things like, "How high can you build the tower? How many blocks do we need to make it this tall?"
This activity works on size comparison as well because children will also learn how much larger one object is compared to another by building towers together.
This activity would be fun if done outside too! You could try laying out different objects in your yard and making comparisons with them or comparing their shadows.
It's super easy to turn something into an educational activity where kids won't even notice they are learning. The possibilities are endless when using materials found around your home!
7. Use numbers on stickers to create patterns that are fun to solve
This is a great way to work on pattern recognition and counting.
You can make patterns with things like stickers, buttons, or even candy.
These are all items you likely have around your home which makes it easy to get started!
You could also try using different objects like marbles or toy cars for this activity too if necessary.
Math doesn't always need to be seen as difficult - in fact, math should be fun because that's how children will learn the best!
8. Create games that incorporate counting skills, like tic tac toe or jacks
You can use things like rocks or pennies when playing games that require counting.
For example, you could say something like: "I'm going to try and get five in a row before you do - let's count how many rocks we have first." This will encourage children to think about numbers which is what they need for basic arithmetic skills.
9. Give children a chance to work with measuring cups and spoons while playing with pretend food
This will allow your child to practice measuring skills while being creative and having fun.
You could say something like: "Let's make cookies - you can be in charge of the eggs - how many do you think it takes?" This activity would also work great with toy food if they don't have any real items around their home yet.
Encouraging children to explore math through play is a fantastic way for them to learn these important concepts at an early age without even realizing that they are learning!
Making activities out of everyday things brings math into the everyday which is exactly where kids need this kind of exposure in order to become comfortable with numbers and problem-solving strategies later on when needed more than ever in school settings.
10. Create your own math-based board game
Board games are always a lot of fun especially when they revolve around math concepts.
You could say something like: "How many spaces do you think we need to move?
Let's use pennies for this game so that it is easier. This will allow children to explore addition by moving forward or backward on the board which can be challenging but also rewarding in its own right!
Learning about how we can use math for problem-solving is important, but so are opportunities to practice our skills.
You don't have to be an expert or spend tons of money on expensive material; even outdoor play will help kids develop their computational thinking capabilities when they're encouraged to think about new ways that they might use arithmetic in everyday situations.
When kids have a good time doing something they see as challenging, they often become better problem-solvers who know how to think creatively when solving problems.
With all these great benefits from including math in playtime, why would anyone want to miss out?