Math ideas for kindergarten
Kindergarten Math Games That Make Learning Fun from the Start
Looking for ways to make math fun for young learners? Check out these kindergarten math games! They teach all the basic math skills kindergartners need to master and are sure to engage every kid in the learning process.
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1. Conquer cardinality with penguin dominoes
Kindergarten math students work to master cardinality, understanding that written numerals correspond to the number of items pictured. These free printable penguin dominoes make the concept fun to practice.
Learn more: Playdough to Plato
2. Put together puzzles to gain number sense
Kindergarten math students learn to understand that numbers can be represented in a variety of ways. These free printable puzzles help them practice those skills.
Learn more: Tickled Pink in Primary
3.Play teen-number bingo
This free printable game helps little ones master their numbers from 11 to 20, both as numerals and represented on ten-frames.
Learn more: The Measured Mom
4. Stack cups and count to 100
Kids love stacking things, so they’ll get a kick out of kindergarten math games that make use of stackable cups. This one has them doing it with 100 cups while they count! Turn it into a competition by putting them in teams and timing them to see who can finish the task the fastest.
Learn more: Kindergarten Smorgasboard/100 Cups
5. Visit the skip-counting store
How fun is this? Grab some toys and label them with price tags in increments of 10 cents. Give kids a handful of plastic dimes, and have them count out the amount needed for each “purchase.”
Learn more: Creative Family Fun/Skip Counting Store
6. Have a rubber duck race
In this game, kids race to see who can be the first to get their rubber duckies to 10 (or any number you choose). They roll a die and lay out tiles to move their duck. The twist? To get to 10 at the end, they must roll the exact number they need—no going over! Kindergarten math games like this one are terrific for practicing counting on, basic addition, and making 10.
Learn more: Happy Toddler Playtime
7. Practice counting on with cards and dice
Remove the face cards from a deck of playing cards and grab a pair of dice. The first player turns over a card and then rolls the dice. The number on the dice indicates how far they “count on” from the card. (For example, a player turns over a three and rolls a four. They say, “Three: four, five, six, seven.”) If the player gets it right, they keep the card, and the other player(s) get a turn.
Learn more: Creative Family Fun/Counting On
8. Skip-count with craft sticks
There are endless ways to use craft sticks in the classroom. For this game, number a series of colorful sticks by fives, as shown. Kids can practice by putting them in order first. Then, have a student draw a stick and count on by fives from that number to 100—if they draw 75, they then count 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100. If they get it right, they keep the stick, and the next player takes a turn.
Learn more: Simply Kinder
9. Match teen numbers
Once they’ve mastered the numbers 1 to 10, it’s time to understand how those numerals add up to make bigger numbers. These free printable cards show numerals and matching bundles of sticks that deconstruct each teen number into tens and ones.
Learn more: The Kindergarten Connection
10. Compare numbers with dominoes
Kindergartners learn to compare numbers to determine which is larger and which smaller. Stacking math cubes based on the numbers on dominoes is a fun, hands-on way to compare the two numbers side by side, making it easier to see the difference.
Learn more: My Fabulous Class
11. Face off and compare numbers
You’ll need some small toys for this game, as well as polyhedral dice. Kids roll and place the number of items on their side. Then, they compare the two to see which is bigger.
Learn more: Natalie Lynn Kindergarten
12. Make 10 with two-sided chips
You’ll need counting chips that are a different color on each side for this activity. Kids shake up 10 chips in a cup and pour them out on the table. Then they see how many they have of each color and write that number bond to make 10.
Learn more: First Grade Fairytales
13. Throw snowballs to make 10
Make “snowballs” from paper (or any way you like), then place them in a bucket at one end of the room. Start kids out by having them toss snowballs into another bucket until they reach 10 (or any target number). Then, up the challenge by placing some snowballs in each bucket and have kids figure out how many more they need to toss in to make 10.
Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls—Snowball Math Games
14. Use Uno cards to play addition war
In the card game War, players each flip an Uno card, and the one whose card is greatest takes them both. In this twist on one of our favorite kindergarten games, players each flip two cards. They then use counting blocks to represent the numbers and count on or add to find the sum. The largest sum wins the hand, and play continues.
Learn more: Planning Playtime—Addition Game
15. Roll and add for fluency within 5
Kindergarten math students work to become fluent in adding and subtracting within 5. This free printable board game makes it fun!
Learn more: Liz’s Early Learning Spot
16. Get four in a row and learn place value
This customizable game helps teach the early place-value concept of tens plus ones. Get it for free at the link.
Learn more: Two Boys and a Dad
17. Bowl and subtract within 10
Set up a toy bowling pin set (or make one from plastic bottles or toilet-paper tubes). Kids bowl and see how many pins they knock down, subtracting that number from 10. Then they repeat, this time subtracting from the previous answer. First to get to zero wins!
Learn more: Planning Playtime—Subtraction Worksheets
18. Get off my boat!
So simple, so engaging, so fun! Use tape to outline a boat shape on the floor (or try this outside with sidewalk chalk). Let some kids board the “boat,” then make some get off. Use those numbers to write a subtraction number sentence and solve the equation!
Learn more: Kindergarten Smorgasboard—Get Off My Boat!
19. Drive and compare numbers to music
Prep for this game by using dot markers on paper plates as shown (visit the link below for more examples). Each kid takes a plate then uses it to “drive” around the room as you play music. When the music stops, they find a nearby partner and compare what they see on each other’s plates (e.g., “8 dots is more than 4 dots. 1 green dot is less than 4 green dots.” Then start the music up and repeat!
20. Build a weigh station
Use a hanger and plastic cups to build a super-simple weigh station. Kids will love dropping items into the cups to see which weighs more or less. Turn it into a game by having them try to guess which object weighs more first or how many of one item equals another.
21. Battle it out in ribbon war
Looking for kindergarten math games that teach non-standard measurement? This idea is fun and easy. Cut colorful ribbons into a variety of lengths and place them in a bag. Each student pulls a ribbon from the bag. Then, put students in pairs and have them compare their ribbons to identify the longer one. The student with the longer ribbon keeps both, and the game continues.
22. Hold a shape scavenger hunt
Kindergarten math students are learning to recognize shapes in their environment and also to categorize and sort. This scavenger hunt does it all! Send them out to find objects in the room that match the shapes. Then count and compare to see how many you have in each category.
Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls—Shape Scavenger Hunt
23.Hop along a shapes maze
Use sidewalk chalk to lay out a shape maze on the playground or driveway. Choose a shape and hop from one to the next, or call out a different shape for every jump!
Learn more: Creative Family Fun—Shape Maze
24. Make a match to learn shapes
Grab these free printable memory cards at the link. Then play and learn the basic shapes.
Learn more: Life Over C’s
25. Guess the mystery shapes
Work on geometry terms like “sides” and “vertices” when you sort shapes using these attributes. Start by placing 3D shapes into paper bags and asking students questions like “The shape in this bag has 4 sides. What could it be?”
Learn more: Susan Jones Teaching
Love these kindergarten math games? You’ll also enjoy these 50 Kindergarten Math Word Problems of the Day!
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7 Kindergarten Math Activities To Make Learning Fun
Young children are often eager to learn new skills and concepts. That’s why introducing kindergarten math activities can be so effective.
One thing to always remember, though, is to make learning at home fun and engaging because children learn best through play. And, luckily for you, our experts at HOMER know a thing or two about that!
This article will give you a detailed guideline to help your child get a solid mathematical foundation. These easy at-home activities are fun, engaging, and offer lots of learning opportunities.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Kindergarten Math Concepts
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand which concepts your young learner will be tackling in kindergarten. That way, it’s easier to know which activities and math skills to focus on at home.
The following are the key math principles your child may know by the end of their kindergarten year:
- Counting and cardinality
- Recognizing numbers beyond 10
- Adding and subtracting single-digit numbers
- Recognizing shapes
- Classifying objects by size
With the principles above in mind, we’ve compiled a list of activities that will help your child develop these essential skills.
7 Fun Kindergarten Math Activities
1) Shape Hunt
What You’ll Need:
What To Do:
Start by selecting any two objects around your house that look different but have the same shape. Then, give your child clues about one of the objects. For example, you might say, “It has a round shape.”
Your child will need to act as a detective and solve this shape mystery! When they are confident that they know what this object is, encourage them to take their detective notebook and draw the item.
Repeat this process for the second object.
Once your little detective has found and drawn the two objects, you can evaluate them and discuss other items with the same shape. So, for something that’s round, this can be plates, pizza, door handles, and so on.
Once you’re confident they understand the properties of the shape, you can play the game again with another shape (triangle, square, etc.).
You don’t have to limit yourselves to your indoor space. You can also head outside and search for many interesting shapes in your garden, local park, or neighborhood if you’d like.
Find out more about this interesting game from our blog.
2) Count The Beans
What You’ll Need:
- Dried kidney beans
What To Do:
For this fun activity, you will need to take a spoon and hold it outstretched. Your child will then proceed to put one dried kidney bean at a time onto the spoon.
When the first one falls off, you then count how many beans you managed to get on the spoon.
You can play this game with a larger spoon as well. For this, the numbers will get higher, so your child will need to be familiar with higher numbers before they’re ready for this one.
To help, a simple 10 frame should do the trick (a 10 frame is basically a rectangle with 10 equal spaces (five on top and five on the bottom).
If, when counting the beans, you end up with more than 10, you can put each set of 10 in a small paper cup, allocate the cups to each frame, and then add everything for the final tally.
This activity helps kindergarteners continue practicing their counting and gain an understanding of number sense.
3) Building Sets With Blocks
What You’ll Need:
- Building blocks
What To Do:
This activity requires you to ask your young learner to build a color tower with a specific number of blocks. For example, “Build a blue tower with 10 blocks, a red tower with eight blocks, and a yellow tower with eleven blocks.”
All this information will need to be remembered by your child, so this can be a great way to help build memory. Children will also continue practicing colors and counting skills with this activity.
4) Number Guessing
What You’ll Need:
Magnetic numbers (0 – 9)
What To Do:
For this activity, your child will need to put their hands behind their back. You will then place one of the magnetic numbers in their hands for them to feel. Can they guess the number?
If this is a little challenging at first, it can help to have another set of magnetic numbers that they can see as they feel.
This is a great sensory activity that can help familiarize children with each number’s interesting shape and unique qualities.
5) Shape Hopscotch
What You’ll Need:
- Different colored paper
- Painter’s tape
What To Do:
Hopscotch is one of our favorite games here at HOMER. If you’re looking to play the traditional game, you can check out this link, which includes other fun math-related activities in addition to Hopscotch.
For this article, we decided to switch things up a bit with shape hopscotch. All you need to do is cut out six different (but easily recognizable) shapes and give each shape its own color (for example, red circles, yellow triangles, blue squares, purple stars, etc.).
Once you have your shapes, tape them to the floor with painter’s tape. While taping, ensure that the spacing works for your child (the shapes aren’t too far apart).
You can encourage your child to jump, hop, or wiggle through the shapes. Here are a few ways they can make it through their shape maze:
- Call out colors or shapes for your child to race and find
- Have them hop from one side to the other side by only touching one shape or color
- Give them directions as they go, and ask what they’ve landed on. For example, “Jump three shapes to the left, one shape up, and two shapes right. What color and shape are you on?”
This is an excellent and fun way for kids to continue working on their gross motor skills while incorporating shape and color recognition. Children will also work on the important skill of following directions.
6) Make A Number Line
What You’ll Need:
- Paved area outside
- Deck of cards
What To Do:
On your paved area outside, draw a large number line with chalk. You can write numbers up to 10, 20, or even 30 as your child becomes familiar with those numbers.
Next, take five red playing cards (numbers 1 – 5) and five black playing cards (numbers 1 – 5). Then, you each get a token which you’ll place in the middle of the number line. Mix the cards and put them face down.
Next, take turns picking cards. A red card means you go up the number line based on the card’s value (for example, if you pull a red five of hearts, you move up five spaces). A black card, on the other hand, means you go down on the number line (red four of clubs = down four spaces).
If you end up below the number one or above the top number on the line, you’ll stay put until all players have had their turn.
After each player has picked four cards, whoever is highest on the number line wins!
7) Snowball Battle
What You’ll Need:
- 3 small buckets
What To Do:
Crumble your paper to make “snowballs.” Then, place your buckets at the end of the room. Challenge your child to toss the snowballs into any of the buckets until they reach a target number (e.g., 10).
If you have multiple kids, this can turn into some friendly competition with a timer. How many can you land in five minutes?
You can also vary the game a bit for older kids by having them toss all 10 snowballs into the three buckets and then write down how they got to 10 (for example, with 3 balls in one bucket, 4 balls in the next, and 3 balls in the last). How many ways can it be done?
Gross motor and counting skills come into play when engaging in this activity.
Tips For Helping Kindergarteners With Math
The above activities should help your child practice and understand their math skills. Additionally, here are a few key points to keep in mind.
Incorporate Math Into Everyday Life
Math is all around us! It is in the shapes of objects and buildings, the measurements we take when baking, and the sorting of patterns. This makes it easy to incorporate math into everyday activities.
Remember that the more practice your child gets, the easier it will be to grasp these foundational concepts.
Make It Enjoyable
When something seems too challenging, kids can quickly become overwhelmed and give up before starting. Help your child understand how much fun math is by regularly introducing them to math activities in a fun, relaxed way.
We recommend checking out the HOMER blog to see what other entertaining learning games your child can play to build their math skills.
Practice Positive Reinforcement
Positive feedback is one of the key components for your child to continue having a healthy relationship with mathematics. So, when they finally grasp a concept they’ve been struggling with, make a big deal out of it by praising them.
And, if there’s a math skill they haven’t grasped yet, be patient and continue practicing. Soon enough, they’ll get it!
Lay A Solid Foundation With Kindergarten Math Activities
Sometimes children (and adults) view math negatively. You’ll often hear them express how challenging it is. But kindergarten math activities can help build positivity and confidence!
While it can be a challenge, math is still one of the most important subjects children learn and can benefit them for the rest of their lives. That’s why building math skills early on matters.
Engaging in fun, entertaining, and educational kindergarten math activities can help children achieve just that. And our list above offers great ways to practice.
Check out the HOMER Learn & Grow app for even more math activities and to discover how we can help your young learner thrive!
Why do children need mathematics? - Articles of the senior educator - For you, parents - Catalog of articles
Why do children need mathematics?
Mathematics… reveals order,
When dealing with children, one must remember that the task facing the kindergarten teacher is significantly different from the task of the school teacher: it is much more important not to transfer certain knowledge or skills to the child, but to form in him a certain attitude to the world, i. e. lay the foundations of his personality. therefore, in each specific case, it is important to understand what this or that knowledge gives to a small growing person.
"Nature formulates its laws in the language of mathematics." These words belong to G. Galileo. indeed, the changes and processes taking place in the motley world of visible objects and phenomena proceed in the same way for entire groups, classes of objects (which allows, having solved the problem in a general way, not to solve it again in each next particular case. The simplest example: 3 + 2 always 5, no matter what we are talking about - grains of sand or planets, people or flowers). This idea can be given to children.
Acquaintance with mathematics gives the first intuitive feeling that the world is not chaos, but rather a kind of subtle architecture that has a canon of its creation, and a person is able to touch this canon. Mathematics makes it possible to see that order and certainty, symmetry and proportionality exist both in nature and in true art, an intuitive sense of harmony as proportionality allows you to connect the aesthetic sense of the child and his intellect. The main purpose of doing mathematics is to give the child a sense of self-confidence, based on the fact that the world is ordered and therefore comprehensible, and therefore predictable for a person.
The greatest teacher of antiquity, Pythagoras, considered numbers as the divine principles of the world order. Nowadays, from the pages of popular magazines, we learn that in astrology each number is associated with a planet, and the date of birth of a person can help to better understand his character and natural inclinations.
From the popular book "Behind the Pages of a Mathematics Textbook" (authors I.Ya. Depman, N.Ya. Vilenkin) one can learn a lot of interesting historical information, including how the names of the first numbers appeared.
Scholars believe that at first only the numbers 1 and 2 received names. On the radio and on television, one often hears: “… the soloist of the Bolshoi Theater performs…”. The word "soloist" means "singer, musician or dancer who performs alone". From the same Latin word - "solus" - one - comes "solidarity", i.e. unity. Yes, and the Russian word "sun" is similar to the word "soloist". The answer is very simple: when the Romans came up with a name for the number 1, they proceeded from the fact that the sun in the sky is always one. And the name for the number 2 in many languages is associated with objects that occur in pairs - wings, ears ... But it happened that the numbers 1 and 2 were given other names. Sometimes they were connected by the pronouns "I" and "you", and there were languages where "one" sounded the same as "man", and "two" sounded like "woman".
Sometimes the number 3 denoted the whole world surrounding a person - it was divided into earthly, underground and heavenly kingdoms. Therefore, the number 3 has become sacred among many peoples. Other nations divided the world not vertically, but horizontally. They knew the four cardinal directions - east, south, west and north, they knew the four main winds. Among these peoples, the main role was played not by the number 3, but by the number 4.
Fingers turned out to be so closely connected with counting that in ancient Greek the concept of "count" was expressed by the word "pastern" - part of the hand.
We can also find numbers in the world of nature: insects have 6 legs each, and bees build honeycombs in the form of regular hexagons.
Ancient Sumerians designated the number 7 with the same sign as the whole Universe. There were 7 steps in their temples, these temples were illuminated with menorah candles...
In ancient written monuments the number 12 was encountered very often and always played a special role. The prophet has exactly 12 faithful followers, the hero must perform 12 feats. The ancient Greeks had 12 main gods that they worshiped.
The number 40 is found in ancient legends. According to one of them, during the global flood, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. In Arabian tales, they told about Ali Baba and 40 thieves.
Traces of counting in sixties have survived to this day. After all, we still divide an hour into 60 minutes, a minute into 60 seconds, and so on. A circle is divided into 360 degrees, and a degree is divided into 60 minutes... So that the most accurate clocks and goniometers keep the memory of the deepest antiquity... representation of each number by living associations. Please note that numbers also play a big semantic role in fairy tales.
Introducing children to the form, it is important not so much to memorize the names of 3-4 geometric shapes, but to give an idea of the diversity and beauty of forms in nature and art. The idea of symmetry need not be formulated, but the child's experience must be organized so that he can see many examples of symmetry. The same applies to the relationship of similarity in nature, lines, colors.
The development of a sense of proportion and a sense of rhythm is also directly related to mathematics. An abstract concept must be preceded by a living experience, which will make it possible not to turn this concept into a dry theory. The precision and rigor of mathematics as a science should in no way result in the dryness of its teaching to children; the abstractness of the concepts with which it operates should not give rise to the artificiality of the learning situation itself. Then small children will learn without knowing that this is mathematics, and older ones will expect especially magical stories from this source.
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"We should teach mathematics to children already in kindergarten"
Stanford University professor Deborah Stipek believes that mathematics should be taught starting in kindergarten. According to research, this provides the necessary foundation for further learning and even instills a love of reading, writes Quartz.
Read Hi-Tech in
Parents don't need to be convinced of the importance of early literacy. Reading, singing, and talking to children before they can read for themselves helps pave the way for curiosity, empathy, and a lifelong love of reading.
Mathematics is more and more complicated: it is still perceived as something additional, auxiliary and practical, therefore not requiring early learning. For example, from the point of view of many parents, she teaches the child to navigate the adult world, count money, change, and so on.
Recently, however, scientists are increasingly approaching mathematics as a field of humanitarian knowledge, which lays the foundation for logical thinking, proactivity and the child's ability to solve life's problems and even learn other subjects. For example, a 2007 study by the Russel Sage Foundation found that the presence of math skills in preschool children had a positive impact on reading skills in the third and fifth grades. Greg Duncan, a professor at the University of California at Irvine, argues that children with poor performance in mathematics are 13% less likely to graduate from high school and have 29% less likely to get into college.
"We are nearing the end of the automotive era"
Today in American kindergartens, only 3% of teaching time is devoted to math, compared to 10% for literacy and 60% for eating and sleeping. Back in 1998, 70% of teachers were convinced that in kindergartens it was not worth it to “load” children with reading at all. But by the 2000s, only 20% remained, says Daphne Bassock, an assistant professor of education and public policy at the University of Virginia.
It is not surprising that many teachers perceive mathematics as something that will “load” young children so much that they will then become depressed from fatigue. According to Stipek, teachers do not see the root of the problem, which lies in the way of teaching and attitude to the subject.
The opinion has taken root in society that mathematical abilities are a natural gift. But for scientists there is no division into "humanitarians" and "techies": there is a difference in education, psychology ("image of oneself" as a closed or liberated person) and way of thinking ("proactive" or "reactive"), which is just laid with diaper. Another Stanford professor, Carol Dweck, believes that this kind of "fixed" thinking is extremely toxic: studies show that children who believe that their mathematical abilities are deterministic have lower academic performance than those who tend to think that their knowledge depends on effort.
Enevate Introduces 5-Minute Electric Vehicle Charging Technology
Many parents raised this way don't do math with their kids for the same reason—they think they're not good at science. Laura Overdeck, who has a degree in astrophysics and an MBA, tried to translate mathematics into a game form. “If at dinner we talked about ninjas and giraffes, then the math bedtime story was also about ninjas and giraffes,” she says.