11 Fun Math Activities For Kids

math for kidsMy kids love math. They get it from their father. I struggled with math from 4th grade on and I am determined that my kids won’t. Nothing we do can guarantee that our kids won’t struggle with learning but we can try our hardest to establish a strong foundation. Making math fun is a passion of mine . I want my kids to see it as a puzzle to solve , as a way to explain things and not as a hard thing they can’t do. These 11 math activities for kids are their favorite playful ways to work on math . They range in ability from toddler through the end of kindergarten but with minor adjustments could be used for almost any age.

Lock and Key Math
Pattern Towers
Lily Pad Math
Making Math Drills Fun
DIY Geo Board
Water Balloon Math Game
Hanging Out The Wash – Fine Motor Math
Monster Math
Lego Measurement
Counting Around The House
Estimation Jars

Water Balloon Game { Learning After School}

outside learningMy son’s all time favorite activity we’ve ever done was our  Angry Birds Water Balloon Game.  Warm weather and a half day of school made yesterday the perfect day to get drenched in the front yard and do a little Learning After School.  We did this with math but it would be as simple to make letters , shapes or sight words as targets. Here is what we did .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some water balloons, a sharpie, some number targets , page protectors, bean bags,  and hula hoops. You will also want a laundry type basket to carry the filled balloons. water balloon math
  2. Start by making the targets.water balloon math targets I chose the numbers 7, 9 ,10 ,and 15. All the equations will equal one of these numbers.  I used picmonkey.com to make simple images. Printed them out one per page and slid them into page protectors. water balloon math 2
  3. Fill your balloons . Carefully write equations that equal the numbers on the targets such as 3+4 or 15-5 .  For younger children you could simply write numbers on the balloons and have them match them with the targets.water balloon math 3
  4. Set up your targets. water balloon math activity for kidsI added bean bags inside the page protectors to weight them down. water balloon math 4
  5. Get ready. water balloon math activity for kids 2
  6. Go! Read the equations, find the answer on one of the targets and throw!water balloon math for kids 1
  7. They loved this. My son would read his sister’s equations and tell her where to throw it. I was seriously amazed at how accurate he was. I should have remembered that later when we filled up more to throw at each other. It was kids against Mom and the kids won. water balloon math activity for kids 3
  8. After the game – play more! We ended up using all the extra balloons and running through the sprinkler before retreating to the house. aftergame

Learning After School is our series of simple learning activities for families to do together after school. They are meant to be bite size and engaging . They aren’t meant to replace homework just add a little more learning without making your child feel like they doing any extra work.

Block Tower Patterns

by Allison McDonald Block towers patterns for preschoolKids love to sort and sorting is a stepping stone to recognizing and making patterns. Using toys and playful activities to work on math skills is the only way I do it with preschoolers.  My son loved doing more structured work so I offered it to him but my daughter is much more into using manipulatives and toys for learning . These block tower patterns let your kids explore patterns and even if they don’t complete the pattern they are still building a tower . Depending on your child and your goals for them you can choose to correct them or simply have fun building towers knowing that they might not be ready for this challenge yet .

  1. Gather your materials. All you will need are some blocks that stay together . Duplo or Little People Builders are my favorite for this age group but if you are doing this with older children regular Lego is awesome. I like blocks that inter-lock because the goal is to pattern and/or build and if your child is spending all their time rebuilding towers that fall apart they could get frustrated and in our house frustration often leads to the end of an activity. block tower patterns
  2. Make some simple pattern towers with the blocks. Set the blocks needed to complete the patterns to the side. Depending on your child’s ability you can put only the blocks needed here to work as prompts or have lots of options to make it more of a challenge.
  3. Invite your little tower builder over to check it out. patterns for preschool All I told her was that I built some towers and needed help to figure out which blocks go next. If she was older I would have said something more like ” Do you notice anything about these towers? ” If they don’t notice the pattern I would say ” I see a pattern. Do you think we could keep the pattern going ?”
  4. She was on these towers like a house on fire. tpwer patterns for preschoolOnce I saw that she was getting it I would question her if she put a block that wasn’t in the pattern on . Saying something like ” Let’s sing this pattern. Blue red white blue red … what ‘s next? ” of ” Do you see that color in the tower?”  It’s a fine line of keeping it playful but giving your child a challenge they can do. I don’t always say the right things.
  5. After she completed each tower she built a huge one and knocked it over in celebration. using blocks for patterningThen we did it all again! block tower patterning for preschoolThat’s the best part of this you can do it over and over again. Each time we celebrated!pattern block towers 2

Keeping learning playful is a huge goal of mine and even though you see the more structured side of this on the blog these activities make up only a very tiny part of our day and some days not even that much. Noticing patterns during every day play is a great way to introduce them to your child. Observations don’t have to spin into drawn out lessons just observe, talk and keep playing. For more fun math ideas for your preschooler check out our Math is Fun board on Pinterest.

 

Hanging Out The Wash { Math & Fine Motor Skills}

dirty socks number match and fine motor activityClothespins are some of my favorite tools for learning and this easy math activity uses them along with your child’s imagination and love of mundane adult things like hanging clean socks on the line. This number matching activity wasn’t easy for my daughter at first but after she got the hang of it it was a breeze. The turning point was folding the sock over the line and then she could pin it herself.   This can be set up, played with and taken down over and over.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some fabric paint, socks ( try the dollar store if you don’t have extras at home), some wired ribbon, marker,  a basket, clothes pins and something to secure the ribbon to the wall.hanging out the wash math and fine motor
  2. Start by painting numbers on your socks.  I let ours dry for 2 full days… just in case.dirty socks 001
  3. Write the numbers on your clothes pins. I did 2 sets one for my daughter and the other with simple equations for my son. He wasn’t into this activity “It’s kinda for little kids Mom.”  so I will use this clothes pins for a “big kid” activity like this one instead.dirty socks 37356
  4. Set your clothesline up and pop the socks in the basket. Invite your little learner to hang out the wash.dirty socks 3
  5. The way I had it set up originally required me to help her and it slowed things down and she was frustrated not being able to do it herself.dirty socks ghgjg
  6. So we switched things up and she was clearly thrilled.dirty socks 678
  7. I took all the pins off and put the socks on the line folded over.
  8. Then she grabbed the matching pin and clipped it on. dirty socks 444After that she was golden and quickly matched the numbers up. It took a lot of coordination to get the correct pin on. dirty socks 2

Learning Games For Kindergarten

Easy St. Patrick's Day Activities for kindergartenThese are simple learning games for kindergarten one focusing on breaking down syllables the other is math but they use the same materials from the dollar store. Learning After School at our house is all about doing quick and simple games that reinforce what my son is learning in Kindergarten. These lessons or games need to be fun, active and not too long. This isn’t homework ( he gets some very simple but useful homework) it’s in addition to it. What I love best about these activities is you really get to see how much your child has learned and while we play he will naturally open up and tall me about school.

  1. For both activities you will need a pen, some foam craft sticks ( wood would be fine too ) in rainbow of colors and green foam shamrocks. gamess for st. patrick's day for kindergarten
  2. Start with the syllable break down by writing one, two and three syllable words on the craft sticks. You will want one word per rainbow color stick per shamrock. I had five one syllable, five two syllable and 5 three syllable words each.  Our list was as follows 1: mop, mom, pan, run, son  2: color, garden, panda, super, open 3: umbrella, telephone, dinosaur, butterfly, elephant
  3. Write the numbers ( 1, 2, 3) on the different shamrocks. st. patrick's day math game for kindergarten
  4. Play! Set out the words and shamrocks.syllable break down game Ask your child to clap out or breakdown the words into syllables and place it on the shamrock with that number.syllables for st. patricks day He was way faster at this than I could have imaged.  Each shamrock has one craft stick in each color.syllable sorting reading activity for kindergarten My son didn’t need the prompt but had I been doing this at his age I would have welcomed the hint that the colors give without having to ask for help. If your child is struggling you can say ” Does the number 3 shamrock have a red stick yet?” * Also there is no shame in googling ” 2 syllable words” or ” How to break a word into syllables” as a parent it’s probably been years since you have clapped out a word . syllable sort reading activity
  5. Adding in a little lesson about rainbow colors I had him place the words in proper rainbow order after he’d sorted them. Syllable Counting
  6. This is when he said ” Ok now can we make it math?”
  7. So I flipped the sticks and wrote out simple equations. Again making sure to have one of each color matching the answer on the shamrocks. math activity for kindergarten
  8. He loved this . st. patrick's day mathHe decided he wanted to write the answer on each which slowed it down but I was so happy since writing is still not his favorite activity but is something he is doing in class right now. st.patrick's day math for kindergartenHe didn’t finish all the equations. That’s OK!  15 equations is a huge amount in one go .  This game can be played over and over again . math for kindergarten

For more Learning After School ideas check out these posts.