Kids begin learning math in the womb. Seriously. They identify tones and patterns early in life. I am not one to push a child (there is a range of development for everything with kids) to learn math in the academic sense but there are easy and non-invasive ways to introduce children to math concepts without pressuring them.
Early Math Games with One Child
#1 – Unit Block to Card Match Game is an easy way to introduce young kids to math. There is a lot of opportunity for variation. So make it find! Use your child’s hook and make him love math!
Materials & Approach:
- A basket of unit blocks (15)
- A set of cards with squares that match the corresponding base of the unit block.
- The cards are marked with 1,2,3,4, and 5 blocks.
- Have the child match the blocks to the card.
#2 – The Sharing Game introduces slightly more complex math thinking.
Materials & Approach:
- Box divided into four compartments or four baskets/containers
- 4 cards each with a picture of a child
- A basket with 12 blocks or matching objects
- Explain to the child that these children are playing together and that in order to be fair they need to divide the blocks up evenly amongst the children.
- Leave the children to divide the objects
- Then explain that one child has to go home & take away one picture
- Ask the child to divide the blocks to the remaining children
- Continue by removing another card and asking the child to divide by two
Early Math Game for Two Children
#3 – A Card Game
- You need a set of cards with pictures of sets of objects up to five and a basket of counters.
- Place the cards face down between the children
- Ask the child to draw a card and then take the same amount of objects (on the card) from the basket. At the end, ask the children to determine who has the most objects.
#4 – Cover the Grid Game
- Each child has a grid with 12 to 15 squares
- There is a basket with just as many counters
- A die marked with a set of 1, 2, or 3 dots
- The child rolls the die and then subsequently covers that amount of squares with counters
- The winner covers the board
- You can add a more advanced die as the children master the game
#5 – Give & Take Game
- A set of cards marked with a set of squares
- A set of cards marked with a set of circles
- A basket of counters
- Place the basket between two children
- Place cards face down between them
- Children take turns drawing a card
- If that child draws a circle card, the child places that quantity into the basket
- If the child draws a square card, the child takes that quantity from the basket
- The game ends when there are not more objects left in the basket