One of the things I immediately told my husband when we decided to homeschool our son was, “You take care of math and I’ll take care of the rest.” I am a self-confessed, numerically-handicapped mom. I’m terrified of math. Thankfully, being mathematically-challenged is not genetic!
My son loves numbers — and I mean he’s crazy about it. He loves number books, skip counting, and memorizing plate numbers! When I teach him number concepts, he gets it quickly.
Surprisingly, his interest made math more appealing to me. We do all sorts of math activities at home like counting ice cubes, singing one to 100 during bath time, playing with popsicle sticks to form shapes, and more!
I can’t believe I’m even saying this but math is such a fun subject to teach! To help you get started, here are 10 everyday math activities for preschoolers that you can do:
Count random things at home like your child’s cookies during snack time.
I would use a counting technique to motivate my son to finish his food. I would say, “Look! A few more cookies to go!” Then we would count how many were left in his bowl. If he wanted to go down his chair during meals so he could play, he would tell me, “Mommy, last two.” That means last two scoops of rice before he’s done. More often than not, I would overrule that and say, “I think that looks like last five.”
2. Shapes sighting
Instead of going through shape manipulatives all the time, look at your furniture and let your child identify what shape it is! Ask him the shape of the table, plate, picture frame, clock, etc. You can also use cookie cutters to make different shapes from bread or cake. It will make breakfast and snack time more appetizing, too!
Measure cooking ingredients with your child! My son loves to help me scoop rice. I would tell him to scoop, say four cups of rice, and he would carefully do so.
You can also put up a height chart so that your little one can regularly check how tall he is. My son got a measuring tape in a party loot bag and he really enjoyed measuring random stuff at home!
4. Spatial exercises
Teaching spatial relations can be done through games and songs. Concepts like in and out, far and near, up and down, round and round can work as your exercise for the day.
My husband would tell my son to move back or closer when he’s teaching him basketball. We would dance round and round on the bed and use up and down for tickle time!
Patterns can be done in different ways. You can use Lego or wooden blocks. Come up with a pattern then let your child copy it! Once he gets used to it you can go to the next level by asking him what the next piece is.
For example, red block-blue block-red block and let your child look for the last piece in the pattern. My son and I also do number and letter patterns like 5-2-5-2____ or AB-AA-AB-AA_____.
Sort objects by color, size, texture, and shape. Teaching your child how to sort will help him categorize items and understand them better. Make sure that the items he sorts are easy to count and divide. You wouldn’t want him to experience math-related frustrations early on.
My son loves to do sorting by teams. There’s the yellow team, white team, etc. We make it more fun by cheering for the teams!
Estimating is a great way to teach counting to your child in an exciting way! Get a small see-through container put objects (e.g. marbles, buttons, coins, etc.), ask your child to look at it (not count), shake it, and then let him guess how many pieces are there. Count the objects after. Over time, estimates will be more accurate!
8. Compare and contrast
Comparing and contrasting not only have math benefits but also language benefits. It widens your child’s vocabulary as he learns how to describe objects before him.
There are many objects you can use at home. You can compare your shoes by lining them up and see how it gets bigger and bigger. You can also contrast different flavors by letting your child taste something sweet and sour. Get ideas from your closet and pantry!
9. Math games
Conducting math games is one of the best examples of learning through play. It doesn’t necessarily mean workbook games. You can roll a die then require an action to be done repeatedly depending on the number.
If your child gets six, make him do six skips! You can use it to make clean up time faster by making him pick up five blocks at a time and run to the container!
10. Telling time
My son currently has five clocks. Haha! He just loves telling time.
Start by labeling your hours with activities and associating it with what your child sees on the clock. I would tell my son, “We have to leave by two o’ clock, okay?” This will also help them be mindful of how they spend their time. You can also draw different clocks or create one!
I am slowly becoming a math convert as I discover how to teach math in a fun way! My son’s addiction to numbers is rubbing off on me, too!