The twins and I have been having a great time "playing math" during our first month of Homeschool Pre-K / Kindergarten. The system that is currently working for us for learning math is to cover a variety of topics every week and then revisit them later in new and interesting ways. This seems to work better than trying to drill a certain math concept until the kids get it - I'd rather demonstrate math in context using hands-on activities and games. I know that they will get an understanding of each topic when they are ready. Here are some the math skills we've been working on and the activities we do for learning them..

**Most of our math sessions involve playing games, building with Legos, and solving logic problems. In the beginning of the school year, I was trying to go through the Saxon Math 1 workbook with worksheets like these:**

L enjoyed working on these types of worksheets, but I found them boring (playing games with math is so much more engaging), so we limit worksheets to once a week and make up our own learning activities.

Here are the skills we're currently working on:

**Skill**: Counting to 100 without help.**How we learn it**: Counting while tossing a ball back and forth, counting how long each child can balance on one leg, measuring lengths using unit cubes, etc.. We also just do a lot of counting - the kids like it as long as there is variation in the manipulatives I give them..

I also make up games (like number Bingo) and activities for identifying two digit numbers correctly like this game of crossing numbers off a dry-erase hundreds board:

**Skill:**Skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s.**How we learn it:**The kids stand on a stool (or table) and have to skip count in order to blast off around the room (it's also a nice way for Mommy to get exercise - they LOVE this game and play it until my back aches and my arms feel like jello). We also count small manipulatives by putting them into groups of 2s, 5s and 10s..

**Skill:**Understanding place value.**How we learn it:**We use our place value cards a lot (I printed and laminated these) where they put a 7 on top of the 20 to form 27. We also use the abacus frequently and count objects by putting them into groups of 10 (or 5+5).

**Skill:**Addition and subtraction facts up to 20.**How we learn it:**We do a lot of word problems using real manipulatives ("If L has 3 crackers and E gives her 2 more, how many does she have?"), and we try to recognize groupings within familiar numbers (5 people in our family, 3 girls + 2 boys = 5, etc..). We roll dice, play card games, and try to include addition and subtraction in various activities (like cooking, science experiments).

In the picture above, I taught the girls to perform a "magic trick" of figuring out the total number of blocks without counting (10 are hiding under the bowl, so they have to count on from 10). They pretty much like any activity if I tell them they are performing a magic trick and then act amazed when they figure out the answer.

I really want the kids to master arithmetic facts early because it's just a tool for doing real/interesting/thinking math and I want them to get it over with so we can solve cool problems together.

**Skill:**Estimation**How we learn it:**I'm always challenging the kids to estimate things: "I bet you can't guess how many steps it will take to walk from your bedroom to the couch", etc.. Providing logical answers to these types of questions is actually pretty challenging for young kids, so we're working on strategies for estimation problems (I usually guide them with follow up questions "Is it more than 100?", "Lets measure a smaller sample so we can make a better guess".

**Skill:**Naming 3D shapes and their properties**How we learn it:**We go on 3D scavenger hunts around the house:

I also made the girls "mystery object cards" which provide a 'recipe' for creating a 3D object (shape and number of faces):

The girls really enjoy using their MagnaTiles to build their mystery objects.

My favorite part of teaching my kids math is to see them make connections and apply these concepts in their everyday lives - it brings a smile to my face to eavesdrop on them solving math problems all on their own as they play.

**UPDATE: I was so inspired by how much my kids enjoyed early math "games" that I created the La La Logic Critical Thinking Curriculum for 3-6 year olds, which includes online brain challenge games, printable worksheets, enrichment activities and more!**

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