premath learning activities

Readiness for Kindergarten – The Magic of 7

Why was the number 6 afraid of the number 7? Because 7 ate(8) 9!

While 7 isn’t a scary number, it does seem to be different from the others. It’s easy to work and play with smaller numbers and hands have a number 5 built right in. Dice, basic colors, small egg cartons and other things come in 6. 8 is easy to do, just tuck in the thumbs using 4 fingers on each hand and there is 8. All 10 fingers is a snap and 9 is taking only 1 away. But 7 is definitely tricky.

Some things do come in 7. There are 7 days of the week, Snow White and the 7 dwarfs, and 7 musical notes (do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do). And 7 can be magical. Once children grasp how many is 7 –“sevenness”–  it seems that they have figured out how numbers work and they learn more numbers much quicker. I have not found any research to support this; it is my own observation from working with little ones.

exploring numbers
7 plus a few more

Like other readiness for kindergarten skills, your child may or may not be ready to connect 7 with it’s quantity. Some play and discovery with 7 will give your child experience with this number and help build understanding and number sense. Ways to explore 7 might include counting 7 buttons on a shirt, making a tower of 7 yogurt containers (more might show up), or putting 7 spoons in the dishwasher. You may want to wear off some energy by asking your little one to jump 7 times or hop. Is 7 giant steps enough to go from the kitchen to the bedroom? How far can your child go taking 7 baby steps? 7 slices of banana may be just right to eat.

Kindergarten readiness grows over time, just like our kids do. And isn’t it magical how children develop and learn? What magic did you do today with 7 or other numbers?

Readiness for Kindergarten – Learning That Stix with Six

I knew I had a couple of empty egg cartons but I couldn’t find them earlier today. I saw this handy hint of using them to hold breakable Christmas decorations so they are already stored away. Luckily I found something else to use for number 6–a muffin baking pan–for this learning and kindergarten readiness idea.

Exploring numbers is a fun activity for little ones about age 2 and up. Lots and lots of experiences are needed for children to build their understanding of numbers or number sense. A muffin tin, small egg carton or half a big one are perfect for discovering “sixness”. How many is 6? Let your little one put 1 block in each section. That’s 6. Your child can dump them out and try it with 1 animal in each part. Another 6. Toy cars, action figures, playdough balls or other small objects can be used as your child makes groups of 6.

Your child may be not be able to correctly count to 6 but just putting an item in each space and seeing what 6 things look like together will build brain connections and readiness for kindergarten. Just playing with toys and naming numbers is a beginning. Older kids may be able to count 6. Math whizes may count out 6 of one kind and 6 of another and notice that makes 12. Offer some groups of things that have more than enough–like bottle caps. Are there enough keys? How about erasers? Kids learn as they play and discover.

Some other ideas to suggest to your child might be to hop, spin, or jump 6 times. Take 6 giant steps, 6 baby steps, or 6 dinosaur steps.  Tuck 6 toys in a toy box. Put 6 shoes or boots on the shelf by the door. 6 stuffies are having a nap. Is anybody else sleepy?

Readiness for Kindergarten – High Five for Learning

Sharing and giving High Fives is something special to do for learning about the number 5. While even very young kids know what a High 5 is and how to do it, they do not understand what is 5. Even knowing how to count to 5, doesn’t mean a child has figured out ‘fiveness’. Understanding numbers, not just saying them or counting them, is called number sense. Kids are not born with it; they have to develop it. Lots of experiences with numbers and counting will help them make the necessary brain connections. Having a basic idea of a few numbers is generally part of kindergarten readiness and number sense is something that continues to grow once at school.

TeachPreschool 5-Box

What can you do at home to help your child understand the number 5? A quick look in the junk drawer at home will likely turn up lots of small junk that can be used up in this project. Thanks to Deborah at TeachPreschool for this really fun activity using lots of little objects glued into a box lid. Here’s a picture of kids counting and gluing and a link to her article:  http://www.teachpreschool.org/2012/01/making-math-glue-boxes-in-preschool/

#5 Plate

If glue is on the “oh-oh” list at your house, try stretching some plasticine or playdough on a paper plate or box lid and letting your child just smoosh 5 things into it. That way it’s easy to take them out and let your child put in 5 different ones for more fun and readiness for kindergarten practice.

Some other things to support learning about 5 could be some actions, have your child jump 5 times, hop 5 times, blow 5 kisses, take 5 baby steps or do 5 jumping jacks. Sneak in a few like pick up 5 things off the floor, put away 5 toys. Does your child have train cars? Put 5 cars behind the engine. Have your child build a block garage for 5 cars. Oh no, 5 stuffies are crying and need to sit and read a story–or 5 stories! Share 5 hugs and kisses with your child. Did you remember some High Fives?

Readiness for Kindergarten – 4 Gr8 Learning

Learning about numbers doesn’t start with printable worksheets; it starts with exploring numbers in play and using them at home. These experiences all contribute to children’s number sense (and readiness for kindergarten) which grows and develops just like kids do. What are some fun activities for the number 4? Cars, trucks and lots of train … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – 4 Gr8 Learning

Readiness for Kindergarten – 1 2 3 Go, Play, Learn

1,2,3…Go! While many children can say the number 3, they also need to build in their mind an idea of “threeness”. To do this, kids need lots and lots of experiences with 3. Over time, they create a mental image of how much is 3, linking how many to the number word. This basic understanding … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – 1 2 3 Go, Play, Learn

Readiness for Kindergarten – Decorations & Math Learning

1 little, 2 little, 3 little ornaments. Decorating the tree was on my to-do list this weekend. As you can see by the picture, decorating 1 tree wasn’t enough. We had to do another one, complete with chopstick branches, elastic bands and beads. But whatever you use, there’s some math and kindergarten readiness learning in … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Decorations & Math Learning

Kindergarten Readiness – 1 li’l, 2 li’l, 3 li’l pumpkins…

This morning, from the window of the bus, I got to see lots of pumpkin decorations in store displays. While there were other things for fall and Halloween, I tried to pick out only the big, round orange flashes. I was so busy looking that I almost missed my stop. It gave me an idea for this … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – 1 li’l, 2 li’l, 3 li’l pumpkins…

Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpacks Count

More accurately, it’s the kids and grownups that do the counting. Counting is a kindergarten readiness skill but because children develop at different rates some will count higher than others. In yesterday’s blog post I explained that counting is a math skill that children develop at an early age. In order for them to count … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpacks Count

Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpacks For Math

Kindergarten readiness skills build on children’s early experiences. Lots of variety helps build this foundation for later learning. As well, a great deal of repetition is needed, too. For children to develop an understanding of numbers, they first need to learn that one number goes with one thing. Usually, one person only carries one backpack at … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpacks For Math

Readiness for Kindergarten – Grocery Shopping Counts

As a readiness for kindergarten learning activity shopping for groceries counts–by counting! Counting is one of the first math skills that children learn. While kids may know the numbers in the right order, that does not mean they understand about counting. First, children need to learn that one item goes with one number. Lots and … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Grocery Shopping Counts