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

Jar Of Hearts – Valentine’s Day Math Printable

valentine's day math for kidsThis is another part of our learning after school series. I try to engage my son in fun things after school and when I asked him what he wanted to work on he said math. He loves math and comes by it very very naturally. His dad has a bachelors degree in engineering with a minor in math and a MBA in finance. Yeah numbers are well loved in our house . Even I love math although I didn’t always. It wasn’t until I was teaching it to students that I found the fun in numbers.

      1. Gather your materials. You will need a jar , some hearts ( any hearts will do – we used foam ones but paper, heart erasers, heart candies will all work), The printable found here and again below and a pencil with an eraser.valentine's day math activity for kids
      2. Start by printing out the printable – click here or on the image for download. It looks grainy in the pdf but it’s clear when downloaded.

        jar of hearts printable

      3. Lay out the sheet, pencil and hearts and let your little math whiz at it. Of course this is more than just a math lesson. My son is working on writing numbers in kindergarten right now and this is my tricky way of practicing without making him write them over and over again. If the 8 questions are too much do 2 or 3 and put it away for a day or two and complete the rest after. Learning isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon so go slow if needed! He estimatedvalentine's day math for kids 1, countedvalentine's day math lesson, sortedvalentine's day math sorting hearts and counted valentine's day math lesson for kidsand wrote some more. valentine's day math writing

Write & Count Fire Trucks

This week is fire prevention week and we’ve been sharing some of our fire truck and firefighter themed crafts on our Pinterest and Facebook now it’s time for something new on the blog. This fire truck math activity is really also a writing one although I only marketed it as a math one for my son. See he isn’t super keen on writing but he loves math. He is a bit of a perfectionist and writing takes practice and it’s hard. So to temper the frustration he feels with writing I added a fun theme and another appealing task , the math. There was still some frustration but there were a lot of smiles too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some red paper, a black marker, a pencil, and scissors.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of a fire truck. This does NOT need to be perfect, as you can see mine wasn’t and this took we 3 tries. One tip is to draw on on scrap paper and when it’s just right cut it out and use that as a template. Cut out however many you want.
  3. Add some windows, tires and the most important part the ladder. The rungs on the ladder are what your child will count and then write on the body of the truck.
  4. I cut out 7 but only drew on 5 not knowing if my son would want more than 5 . Good thing I did as you will see.
  5. Count the ladder rungs.math for kids
  6. Write.  After a few he asked if these were all I had. I grabbed the 2 extra and filled them in.
  7. Keep going. Flip over and write on the back if they want more!

Books

Find this post and all 20 reviews here.

Candy Corn Counting

Counting is fun, counting candy is even more fun!  This is a great thanksgiving themed math activity that promotes ” Checking your work” something that not only encourages kids to slow down ( something my son needs when doing tasks) but it also builds independence and confidence. Amazingly it wasn’t my kids who ate the candy after this activity was done… I can’t help it candy corn is so yummy! If you are not a fan of using candy for activities you can easily substitute pom poms or pony beads for the candy or make a turkey like the craft that inspired this activity.

  1. Gather your materials. I used a cheap cookie sheet with raised edges to keep the candy corn contained . Also some brown and green construction paper, scissors, tape and a marker. Oh and of course some candy corn.
  2. Start by cutting out the green husks. Please remember perfection is not the point, I don’t have time to spare and know you don’t either.
  3. Cut out the ear of corn.
  4. Tape to the cookie sheet.
  5. Add numbers. Try to add some easy and some more challenging. If it’s too easy it’s boring, too hard and frustration sets in, either way learning falls flat.
  6. Add the corn!
  7. Check your work.
  8. Next I flipped the husks over and wrote new numbers on, I added the corn and my son checked my work. I purposely made mistakes on two of the ears, and asked him how to fix them. He subtracted on one and added to the other. It was a great add on to a simple counting activity. I will be doing more “fix my math” activities in the near future because he loved that.

Counting Around The House – Math Activity

preschool activity

This activity was inspired by my Halloween candy counting over at my other blog . Seeing how resistant my son is to writing tells me one thing, that he needs to practice lots but it needs to be within activities he loves.  This is a math activity with gross motor, and some writing on a vertical surface which is great for beginning writers because it forces the correct wrist position and strengthens the correct muscles in the hand and arm.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper ( I get this craft paper in the mailing supply section of Walmart , way cheaper than real butcher paper), markers and something to put the paper on the wall with. I use painter’s tape and I use a lot so my toddler doesn’t pick it off.
  2. Draw a house .
  3. Decide what things you want to count and write them on. I made the windows and doors spots to write the numbers in.
  4. Invite your counter to read the questions on the poster.
  5. Go count !
  6. Come back and fill in the answers.
  7. I wish I had a magic wand for my son to make him believe in his ability to write, to know that he doesn’t have to be perfect and to understand that just because reading is easy doesn’t mean that writing should be or that there is anything wrong because it’s hard. So instead we are doing lots of fun writing… and hoping we turn the corner gently on his terms if possible.  He likes to “split the work” so I made sure we were counting some things with 2 digits, I’d do one or make dots for him and he’d do the other. I don’t think it’s worth it to push to frustration , instead finding ways to make him willing is more my style.
  8. Search your house poster to see which question has the biggest number and which is the smallest.

Counting Books

On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Michael Dahl was a great find, my son loved counting down from 12-1 with the bright illustrations , simple text and hidden numbers on each page. Something that seems simple but was really awesome was that each page had the number written as a word, shown as a digit and as dots to count. You can take the time to count each dot, read the word or simply recognize the digit!

1, 2, buckle my shoe

1, 2, Buckle My Shoe by Anna Grossnickle Hines is a wonderful first counting book, and a favorite of my daughter. The text is the simple rhyme, the pictures are photos of quilted numbers and buttons.  The buttons correspond to the numbers and are so bright that they practically beg a child to touch and count them. My daughter who is 14 months loves to push the buttons, trace the numbers and laughs at the hen. Very sweet book.

How Much, How Many, How Far, How Heavy, How Long, How Tall Is 1000? by Helen Nolan has been sitting patiently on my shelf waiting for my son to be ready to read it. I used this in a math unit when I was a student teacher and absolutely love this book. The whole concept of this book is to explain the concept of 1000. We often teach our kids to count to 100 but don’t pay the same attention to getting them from 100-1000. This book takes it to the next step and demystifies the huge number 1000. It’s interesting, it uses examples kids can relate too and it gives many scenarios so those cogs turning in your child’s head has lots of chances to catch! I read it to my son for the first time yesterday and I loved being there for those moments when I know he just got it!