Trying to fit math learning into a busy schedule can be hard! That’s why it’s important to begin seeing every day situations as potential learning opportunities, so that children can enjoy math lessons on the go. Here are a few simple ways you can have fun with your children throughout the day as you reveal that math is all around!
1. A Trip to the Bank
Going to the bank is a necessity, but using it as a time to teach children about the value of money can many times go overlooked. Next time you’re preparing to take a trip to the bank, set aside a little extra time to go inside and teach your children the following:
What To Do:
- Ask your children to save up 100 pennies. Once they’ve reached their goal, ask them to count the coins into stacks of five and ten. Put the pennies into a coin sleeve and put your child’s name on it.
- Visit the bank to exchange the pennies for a dollar bill.
- Talk to your children about the value of 100 pennies and the dollar bill. Discuss similarities and differences of the two forms of currency.
Assessment: At the end of the day, children should be able to count to 100 and sort objects into groups of five or ten.
2. Nibbled Pretzel Numbers
Pretzels are a common snack, whether it’s on an airplane, at a ball game, or at a park. This salty snack is also a great opportunity for number recognition!
What To Do:
- Give children napkins and about three pretzels each and take some for yourself. Nibble tiny bites out of a pretzel so that the remainder is in the shape of a number.
- Place the nibbled pretzel on your napkin so the outline of the number is seen clearly.
- Let the children tell you what number they recognize. Nibble another pretzel into a different number so children can see the possibilities.
- Enjoy the laughter with children as they nibble their pretzels into numbers and display their creations on napkins.
- You can make this activity a bit more challenging by using straight pretzel sticks. The sticks will need to be broken or bitten into shorter lengths in order to make rounded edges. Napkins help keep snack time neat.
The Pretzel Song by Kay Flowers
One salty, two salty, three salty pretzels.
Four salty, five salty, six salty pretzels.
Seven salty, eight salty, nine salty pretzels.
Ten salty pretzels I see!
3. Buried Treasure at the Beach
Planning a trip to the beach for the summer? Learn on the go with the addition of plastic numbers!
What To Do:
- Tape a number card on five of your child’s sand toys and set the toys up on the sand. Make sure the five plastic numbers are buried beneath the toys.
- Ask children to identify the numbers on the sand toys.
- Explain that there are matching numbers buried in the sand. Challenge children to dig through the sand to find the plastic numbers.
- Encourage children to feel the numbers they find and try to identify them before they lift them from the sand.
- Have the children display each number they find beside the sand toy with the matching number. Congratulate the children as they locate numbers and match them!
4. Snack Time: How Many Spoonfuls?
Snack time is most likely already included in your child’s daily schedule. If that’s the case, young children can begin learning numbers with something as simple as a spoon!
What To Do:
- Give children cereals, puddings, applesauce, or any food that requires a spoon to eat.
- Tell the children they will be counting how many spoonfuls it will take to eat their snack.
- Have visuals to keep track of how many bites are taken. Anything from blocks to tally marks can work.
- Older children can make a hypothesis to predict how many spoonfuls it will take to eat their food.
All activities inspired by Learn Every Day About Numbers by Kathy Charner.
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