Figuring out the best ways to get children to learn…
Who doesn’t love a good game? Kindergarteners find a way to play games everywhere, so look for those opportunities to throw in a little extra math practice. Whether it’s counting as you climb stairs or having them count out and sort candies in a bag, there are math games to be had all around you if you train yourself to look for them. Basic skills should be the name of the game, so look for any games that will reinforce these needs and build a strong mathematical foundation.
What Math Games Can We Play at Home?
Shape & Color Hunt
Learning shapes and colors begins the mathematical journey of most kids, so reinforcing those early will begin to build their foundation. Practice colors first by simply pointing things out everywhere you go, and then start to pair it with other words – “Look at the red ball. See the blue sky.” Then, reinforce shapes the same way, eventually switching to an “I Spy” Game or having them look exclusively for one shape. Then, you can move to “I Spy a yellow square, or have them go around and find as many rectangles as they can. You can build on this game in a number of ways as they increase in confidence.
Counting & Skip Counting
Twos, Fives, and Tens are the name of the game once kindergarteners master basic counting. Begin with 10s, and use your Hundred Number Chart to show them how it moves down. You can incorporate groups of tens to represent ten, and use manipulatives as well, like base ten blocks. Eventually you will be able to move to where you count by tens from 2 (2, 12, 22…). Counting by fives is another skill to master, and then moving onto the difference between even and odds (color your Hundred Number Chart) and then counting by 2s in evens or odds, both up and down the number line can be mastered. Make it a game everywhere you go – up and down the stairs, walking from here to there, counting grapes or snacks…wherever you see the opportunity.
The Hundred Number Chart is a great tool to use when beginning with number identification, and then moving into two-digit numbers and skip counting. A fun game is to remove or cover numbers from the Hundred Number Chart and see if they can tell you what’s missing.
Who doesn’t like to play with money? Begin with everything costing easier quantities – $1, $5, $10 – and have it match the number skills you’re learning that day. Put price tags on various items and then add a $1 item to each purchase to practice your 1 tables, and so on.
Days of the Week, Months of the Year, Dates, and the concept of o’clock are all on the docket for kindergarteners. Keep a calendar at home and let your child have the job of adding to it each day, either by changing the numbers or crossing off the days. Let them add events to the calendar and countdown days until events happen.
Play the rainbow number game, where you write the numbers across a sheet (repeating 5), and then connecting the numbers with rainbow colors. It’s a fun drawing activity, but reinforces those pairs that make ten.
Measuring with units or items is popular in kindergarten, so seeing how many blocks long something is or how many shoes it is becomes a super fun way to grasp the concept of measurement before you pull out a ruler. Some kids may grasp this early and beg to use a ruler, but this is another basic skill. Find fun things to measure with!
What Online Math Games Are Best?
Look for online games that reinforce those basic skills in a fun way, like Turtle Diary’s emphasis on colors, numbers, and shapes. You can Color by Number, Play with Shapes, and Spot the Number. Even Month of the Year and Days of the Week can help your kids master these skills with amazing graphics and fun sounds.
Logic (Connect Four)
Any game that causes them to take a step further in their mind and really reason something out is a great way to increase logic. Look for Connect 4, Compose Shapes (Tangrams), and Math Bingo for more advanced reasoning on Turtle Diary.
When they’ve mastered basic number identification and have a grasp on some number theory, introduce basic addition with games like Color Addition or Zero Numbers. When they’re ready for some more intense pressure and quick recall, try Math Race, where cars zoom across the screen as they answer facts.
No matter what game you choose to play, Turtle Diary offers an amazingly fun way to reinforce basic foundational skills for kindergarteners. They will keep coming back again and again for fun, while you smile as they practice and master their kindergarten goals.