Playing with Numbers: Having Fun with Math

PlayDrMom's son came up with this one when he was five!  A great way to have fun with math!

When my son was just 5 he came up with this one on his own …. Cracker Math!  Using Ritz crackers and sliced turkey rolls, he created his own math equation.  The fun can really ADD up!  There are lots of playful ways you can help your children learn about numbers.  Here are a few we have tried …

PlayDrMom's Muffin Tin Number Sort.  A fun way to learn number recognition.

Learning number recognition

For the Muffin Tin number sort all you need is a muffin tin and magnetic numbers (actually any numbers would work … you could use foam or even just write them on paper!)  I placed the one of each number in its own “muffin cup” and then had my daughter (who was 3 at the time) match up the remaining magnets to the correct cup.

Helping kids learn about numbersI used an ice cube tray (it just happened to be a Mickey Mouse one!), a washable marker, and (yup, you guessed it …) CHEERIOS.  In each space I wrote one number and then had my daughter place that amount of Cheerios in the space.  It’s fun, easy, and can include a bit of snacking too!

Learning about numbers

Using pipe cleaners, duct tape, and beads you can easily create an activity to help kids learn to count AND get a bit of fine-motor skills practice.  I’ve seen tons of variations of this activity on Pinterest, but I think it originated from Kids Matter.

Valentine Candy Counting and Graphing

Candy Sorting, Counting, and Graphing.  We did this activity around Valentine’s Day with Conversation Heart candies, but it could be done with any type of small candy that is different colors and comes in a small package (like M&Ms, Skittles, gummy bears, or Smarties).  I used a sheet of aluminum foil just for something different that day, but regular paper would be just fine.  All we did is open up the package, sort the candies by color, count how many we had of each color, and then line them up into a graph.

Dot Dabber Dice Game

And one of our very favorite ways to have fun with math I posted awhile ago … the Dot Dabber Dice Game.  Follow the link for the complete instructions!

For math related reading, check out my post on our Favorite Number Books!

PlayDrMom rounds up a ton of early math activities for kids.

And I still have a TON more that I’d like to try out with my kids, here are some that I’ve found on Pinterest (all located on my Playful Learning pinboard)…

Follow Laura Hutchison’s board Playful Learning: Math on Pinterest.

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Laura Hutchison

Laura Hutchison (aka PlayDrMom) is a chubby kid turned competitive figure skater tween turned high school pom pon girl turned MSU Spartan turned grad student turned Mrs. HutcH turned Dr. turned Mom. She adores living in the Mitten, is addicted to Diet Coke, and firmly believes that ice cream is a main food group.

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  1. Krissy of B-Inspired Mama

    Great round-up, Laura! Can’t wait to dive into some math fun with my littles.
    Krissy of B-Inspired Mama recently posted…Awesome Homeschool Preschool Resources from The Weekly Kids Co-OpMy Profile

  2. Caroline

    Lots of great ideas!! Thanks for compiling this list.

  3. Tracey@We-Made-That

    I love these idea’s, my oldest is starting first grade this year and they are really going to be focusing more on math. I can’t wait to try this with her. I would love for you to share this on our Kids Linky party

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