Supplementing your child’s math education is a big job, but reinforcing school-taught concepts is important. Fortunately, math concepts can be fun and easy to review – all it takes is a little creativity and imagination. You can make abstract math much more concrete and natural for your child with just a small effort. Here are 8 clever hands-on math activities your 3-6 year old will love!
1. Delia Creates has a post dedicated to “Chalk Games”. Here you’ll find “Math Race” with bikes (or just running!) that works on number or shape recognition and “Number Twister,” a mathematical take on the classic party game. And be sure to check out the sundial using a paper towel holder where she keeps track of a daily routine.
2. Adventures in Learning shares a great matching game using beans as manipulatives that will help with counting and number recognition (or simple equations). It’s called Apple Seed Math.
3. Teach Preschool shows how to use dominoes for teaching math – work on patterning with black and white dominoes, or use giant foam board dominoes and plastic lids to work on matching dots and to talk about number recognition. (Colorful dominoes – like the ones shown here – are sure to attract kids’ attention!)
4. Also from Teach Preschool, check out her Salt Box Shapes. They are a fun take on the salt box sensory learning activities usually used for letters or to write numbers.
5. Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational has a phenomenal idea called “Catapult Math” that you can apply to number or shape recognition. She includes directions for making your own mini catapult!
6. Nurture Store uses “Lego Math” to measure and graph things, work on symmetry, add and subtract, sort colors and shapes, and create patterns. (side note: you can find legos in bulk right here for a great price!)
7. Songs, rhymes and finger plays are excellent ways to get your kids counting. Find the lyrics and music to the following examples (and more!) at Topmarks.
- Five Little Monkeys
- Five Little Speckled Frogs
- Five Bears in the Bed
- Six Little Ducks
- Once I Caught a Fish Alive
8. The best hands-on experiences can also be the simplest! Give your children small items they can touch and manipulate in order to count, match, sort, pattern, etc. This is the easiest way to introduce addition and subtraction, too. You can see an example of this type of manipulative play at No Time For Flashcards – Candy Apple Math Game.
Here’s a list of favorite inexpensive or free manipulatives: buttons, dried beans, plastic lids, beads, craft pom poms, legos, edibles (chocolate chips, goldfish, raisins, m&m’s).
Just make sure they are easy for little hands to grasp.
Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com