## 11 Fun Math Activities For Kids

My 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.

## Water Balloon Game { Learning After School}

My 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.
2. Start by making the 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.
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.
4. Set up your targets. I added bean bags inside the page protectors to weight them down.
6. Go! Read the equations, find the answer on one of the targets and throw!
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.
8. After the game – play more! We ended up using all the extra balloons and running through the sprinkler before retreating to the house.

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 Kids 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.
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.  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. Once 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. Then we did it all again! That’s the best part of this you can do it over and over again. Each time we celebrated!

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}

Clothespins 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.
2. Start by painting numbers on your socks.  I let ours dry for 2 full days… just in case.
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.
4. Set your clothesline up and pop the socks in the basket. Invite your little learner to hang out the wash.
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.
6. So we switched things up and she was clearly thrilled.
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. After that she was golden and quickly matched the numbers up. It took a lot of coordination to get the correct pin on.

## Learning Games For Kindergarten

These 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.
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.
4. Play! Set out the words and shamrocks. Ask your child to clap out or breakdown the words into syllables and place it on the shamrock with that number. He was way faster at this than I could have imaged.  Each shamrock has one craft stick in each color. 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 .
5. Adding in a little lesson about rainbow colors I had him place the words in proper rainbow order after he’d sorted them.
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.
8. He loved this . He 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. He 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 .