Learning at Home: Math
Math is everywhere—it’s in the numbers, shapes, and patterns all around us—even at home! We can have magical math moments at the breakfast table, while creating a work of art, or in the rhythm of our favorite song. When we measure, compare, count, and draw, we’re building math skills—and having fun. Consider the ideas in this bundle to incorporate math into your daily routine.
– Shape Play –
Help kids color in the shapes and cut them out, then have fun creating together! You might:
- Arrange the shapes in different ways to build pictures. Can you make a house? A boat? A tower? An airplane?
- Hold up a shape, then work together to form that shape with your bodies.
- Create a picture with the shapes and make up a story about it.
- Pass a shape back and forth pretending that it’s different things: “Look! This triangle can be a hat! Now it’s an airplane! Now it’s an umbrella!”
- Hide the shapes around the house and play “Shape Hunt.”
If you don’t have access to a printer, you can cut apart a sheet of paper similarly (no need to match exactly)!
– Pattern Play –
- Watch the video together, saying the name of each object out loud (“paperclip, paperclip, paperclip, bottle cap, bottle cap…”) to help kids notice the pattern. Invite them to join you in saying the pattern out loud. (Older kids may like an extra challenge: Pause the video after the bell rings to see if they can extend the pattern on their own.)
- Make patterns together with an assortment of small everyday objects (coins, pens, colored sticky notes, and so on). Take turns starting and completing each other’s patterns (saying the pattern out loud helps hear the rhythm and follow along).
- Help kids notice patterns all around them—in clothing, in artwork, in books, and more. Whenever they spot a pattern, invite kids to guess what would come next in it!
– Math in Unlikely Places –
Show kids that home is full of opportunities to discover math.
In the kitchen:
- Give everyone at the table a few pieces of food, such as crackers or carrots. Ask each child to count the items in his pile. Did everyone get an equal, or the same, amount? If not, how many pieces do you need to subtract from each pile to make them all the same?
- Explore parts of a whole together and the idea of sharing, a step towards understanding division. As you share a sandwich, say, “I’m cutting the sandwich in half so that each of us gets one piece.” Or ask, “If there are three pieces of bread and six of us who want some, what can we do?”
In the bathroom:
- Use small plastic cups or buckets to play around with bathwater and compare amounts. With younger kids, you might simply explore the concepts of “full” and “empty” by filling up cups and pouring them out together. Challenge older kids to predict which cup will hold the most water and which will hold the least.
- Count with kids as they wash their hands or brush their teeth. You might also bring a stopwatch or clock into the bathroom so older kids can follow along with the clock as they count.
In the bedroom:
- Look at picture books together to find familiar shapes. Rotate the book and point out that the shapes are still the same shapes—no matter which way the book faces.
- As kids lay in bed, play “I Spy” together, using words like under, over, next to, and clue each other in to what you spy by describing where an object is. You might say, “I spy something under the clock,” or “I spy something next to the bookshelf.” Take turns!