Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ten More Early Learning Math Games - Number Line and More

If you enjoyed my post on Math Games and Activities for Preschoolers, you'll love these ten new early learning math activities.   The other day I made a number line for the kids using cards taped to the floor using painter's tape.  Seeing (and interacting with) the numbers in sequential order helps kids understand many math concepts in a new way.  Everyone from toddlers to elementary-age children can enjoy learning math this one.  Here are some of the activities we did...

1. Walk/jump the number line.  Call out the name of each number as you jump/step on it.
2. Repeat in backwards order.  I'm so proud both my 32-month-olds can count backwards so easily.
3. Skip counting.  When making the number line I used blue cards for even numbers and red cards for odd numbers.  Then I asked the girls to jump just on the blue cards and count out loud (2-4-6-8-10-12).  For older kids, you could also skip count by 3s, 5s, etc..
4. Matching by numbers or quantities.  To practice number recognition, use another set of cards or manipulatives to match to the numbers on the number line.  We did a couple variations:

We used heart erasers, Blink cards, and Rummikub tiles to do matching.  

5. What's missing.  Ask your child to close her eyes and then remove one card from the number line.  Ask her which one is missing.  For a variation, mix up the positions of two (or more) cards from the number line and ask the child to fix it.  This is an activity we need to repeat since the girls could only figure out which card was missing by starting in the beginning and reciting the numbers one by one until they got to the gap.  I'm sure some repetition will allow them to come up with more efficient strategies. 

6. Addition/subtraction number-line game.  Review with the kids that walking forward (or to the right depending on how you orient your cards on the number line) means you're adding to the numbers to make them bigger, and walking backwards is making them smaller.  Than guide the children through some basic addition problems.  For example, "start on number 3 and walk forward 2", and then gradually use math terminology, "what is 3 plus 2?" once the child understands how to use physical movement to solve the problem.  In my opinion, this is such a wonderful way to teach addition and subtraction to those really active kids.

7. Guess my number.  I told the girls that I was picking a number and they had to guess it.  Then they would take turns guessing a number by standing on it on the number line.  I would tell them that my number was "greater than" or "less than" the number that they picked and they would have to guess a new number by moving in the correct direction on the number line until they got it right.  They grasped some of the concepts of this game, but not all of it, so we'll definitely be repeating this one.

While we had the cards and other math manipulatives out, we played some more math games not related to the number line:

8. Memory.  You can play memory (or 'concentration') with any number cards or tiles.  Put cards face down and turn over two at a time to find matches.

9. Place numbers in order.  Have your child rebuild the number line using number cards or tiles:

   This was too challenging for the girls to do from scratch without a lot of verbal assistance. "Find the smallest number (1)", "What comes next.", "Let's count", etc..

10. Number hunt.  The kids' absolutely favorite game of the day was sticking the numbers on the wall.  Then I went to the other side of the room and called out a number.  They'd have to find the number, pull it off the wall and run across the room to give it to me:

I especially like all the activities I listed here because I didn't have to buy a bunch of expensive materials - we played all the games with a deck of Phase 10 cards (from the makers of Uno) and other parts of games we already had around the house.  Stay tuned as I share even more fun math activities in future blog posts.

UPDATE: I was so inspired by how much my kids enjoyed early learning 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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  1. Love that skip counting jump game. I will have to try to stick numbers on the wall. Very fun! Great ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have extremely limited resources teaching kindergarten in Thailand but I do have number cards that I printed from the internet. Any outgrown materials, books, DVDs, etc. from a church or social group you might belong to would be incredibly appreciated.


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