# math play

## Calendar Math Fun for Young Kids

Out with the old and in with the new. Well, almost. After tomorrow, we can hang up new calendars. Today, kids can have some old calendar math fun.

Do you have some old calendars or even an extra new one that your child can use? There are lots of different ways kids can have fun with a calendar.

1.    Kids can cut out numbers and pictures from the months and glue them onto a big sheet of paper. Some kids might want to glue numbers 1 to 10 in order. Others will just cut out a few and glue them randomly.
2.    Help a child find the number of his or her birthday. Kids can then look for that same number in the other months, cut out that number each time and make a whole page of just that number.
3.    Kids may want to color over certain numbers instead of cutting and pasting. All the number 1’s could be red, the number 2’s purple, the number 3’s green and so on.
4.    Colors could make a pattern on the squares too. Some kids may only make a pattern using 2 colors. Kids that love making patterns may use a different one for each month.
5.    For a much more complicated challenge, older kids might like to cut all the numbers out and recreate them to make a whole chart from 1 to 100. This could be tricky!

Whatever kids do, it’s important that the activity be fun and playful. In order for kids to feel confident and positive about numbers, they need lots of hands-on and play opportunities. Did you know that math phobia can occur very early and affect 1 in 4 children? To counteract this, our kids need to see and hear about numbers and math in ordinary, everyday experiences. Giving kids a calendar to explore not only gives them a chance to see numbers but to create with them too. They can come up with their own ideas about what to do with a calendar.

You can show your child a new calendar. Check out how many days there will be in a year. Look at the pictures for the months. After a whole year, it will be old and they can play with it then too for some more calendar math fun. When it’s time, where will you hang the new calendar?

## Dinovember: Counting Dinosaurs and Number Sense

Number sense develops as children play with and experience numbers. Counting dinosaurs is an appealing and fun activity for young children.

Dollar stores often have inexpensive bags with an assortment of dinosaurs. These can be used for counting and other fun. Kids just learning to count may not have all the names for the numbers and they may not be able to say them in the right order, but counting accurately develops from countless practice doing it over and over.

Not only are kids learning to count, they are figuring out how many items go with each number. To develop the concept of ‘twoness’, the brain needs to see, hear, and feel how many is two many, many times. As kids hear us and themselves counting two, see two objects and feel two, the brain makes the connections and pathways. This is part of number sense.

As kids are counting, we can occasionally ask them to show us how many is 3 dinosaurs and other numbers too. We can make comments like, “Oh look, 4 dinosaurs is more than 2. I can see 4 dinosaurs here and only 2 over there. ” We can listen to them count and when they stop, add one more and say the number. It’s obvious to us, but it takes practice to understand that counting the next number means adding one more. Of course, older kids will be able to count much higher and more accurately than younger ones.

Mathematician William Paul Thurston is often quoted as saying, “Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms, it’s about understanding.” Understanding will grow as children have opportunities to play with numbers.

Speaking of numbers:

1. Do you know what is a T. Rex’s favorite number?
2. It’s eight (ate.)

How many dinosaurs can come out and play at your house or center?

## X=X & O’s – Fall and Halloween Games for Kids

With night arriving earlier, kids are inside after supper. Those few minutes before bed are just enough time for some fall and Halloween games for kids. Of course, these can be played anytime and in any weather.

X and O’s are a fun game for older preschool kids. Little Sister hasn’t figured out how this game works but she likes to put the green and red apples on the board. Kids may have seen the x’s and o’s of tic-tac-toe at the playground and when there during the day, may have made one side all x or all o. Often, kids make up their own game using the pieces.

A super game for kids of any age is Simon Says. Instead of Simon giving the instructions, it could be a Halloween character. Witch says touch your nose, or maybe Wizard, Zombie, or Skeleton. This game encourages careful listening because the instruction has to have the magic words Simon (or other character) says.

A deck of cards can be used to play Monster, Monster. Use just the cards with numbers from 2 to 10. For two people, each person gets half  the cards. Each player turns over a card and the one with the higher number takes both. Kids don’t have to know numbers, they can look and see which card has more designs.

Concentration, Memory, or Pairs is an adaptable game for younger preschoolers. This can be played with a few pairs from a deck of cards or you can make some with fall and Halloween images. Included below is a game page that you can print off, glue onto stiff paper or light cardboard, and cut out. Make sure the stiffer paper is plain or kids can find matches using what’s on back. For kids that are really good at this, use more pairs. This is a good game to play with grandmas and grandpas.

Fall and Halloween games for kids might be tricky, but aren’t they a treat?

## Halloween Math: V is for Vampires That Count

In folklore, vampires are obsessed with counting. For some Halloween math, how about kid vampires that count? Remember, Count von Count from Sesame Street? He counted everything. Perhaps, this mania for counting is why so many vampires are called Count. Whatever the play on words, counting can also be a form of play. For kids … Continue reading Halloween Math: V is for Vampires That Count

## Color Play for One-to-One Matching

Colors can be used for some amazing play opportunities. Unexpectedly, doing some exercises led to color play for one-to-one matching. Children’s play is immensely interesting to watch. Given time and space to play, kids will challenge themselves to solve problems while they are having fun. Little Sister started out with a 4 soft mats in … Continue reading Color Play for One-to-One Matching

## Off to School Toolbox: Familiarity with Numbers

Math can be a challenge for some not just in school but for their entire life, so basic familiarity with numbers is vital, and it’s easy and fun to do. Play with numbers and math is another great tool to put in the off to school toolbox. One way to show kids that math is … Continue reading Off to School Toolbox: Familiarity with Numbers

## Halloween Monster Math (with Googly Eyes)

Who knew a dollar store package of googly eyes could be used for some much Halloween fun and learning? Today, we used the eyes for some Monster Math. Because the googly eyes were different sizes, the first thing we did was sort them into groups. Little Sister helped make 2 groups, one group of ‘weally’ … Continue reading Halloween Monster Math (with Googly Eyes)

## Make Early Learning Count and Other Math Fun

Play counts as powerful a learning activity and play can help kids learn counting and other math skills. Playing with numbers is one way to support kids as they get ready to start kindergarten. For kids to be able to count, they need to understand that one number belongs to one thing. This seems obvious … Continue reading Make Early Learning Count and Other Math Fun

## Home is Where Math Fun and Learning Starts

Will you be celebrating Pi day? No, I didn’t forget the e in pie, but spelled Pi, the Greek letter for finding the distance around a circle. This is a humorous, silly day to remind all of us that math isn’t dull or scary, but can be fun. Did you know that right at home … Continue reading Home is Where Math Fun and Learning Starts