Fun ways to teach mathematical concepts

A child spends most of their time learning at school, but it is also important to create fun learning opportunities in their home environment. Here are some easy math activities that you can put together using the material you have at home.

Numbers and Counting

This is a fun matching game you can make for your child. You will need a pack of playing cards, paper cups, a marker and a sheet of paper. This game teaches children simple math concepts such as counting, matching quantities and identifying numbers. The aim of the game is to match the number symbol on the cup to the number of dots in the circle or the playing card to the number in the circle.

Addition and Subtraction

This is a great, practical way to introduce your child to addition and subtraction sums. You will need counters (buttons, pebbles, smarties), a pack of cards (I used Uno cards because the size of the number is larger) and a plate. The child needs to pick two cards then use the counters to add or subtract.

Writing Numbers or Sums

A fun way to get your child to practice the formation of numbers as well as completing sums is by using different textures such as shaving foam, sand, paints, using chalk on the side walk or stencils. This not only helps with the formation and identification of letters but also exposes them to different textures.

Measurement and Ordering

Grab a few random objects in your home that are off different sizes and lengths. Have the child sort these objects from longest to shortest or biggest to smallest. You could use different sized balls, cut out strips of paper or even different length straws. Another fun way to expose your child to measurement would be to get wool or string, lie down on the floor and get your child to place the string from your head to your toes then cut it. You can do the same for your child and you can then compare the two pieces of wool.

Data Handling and Graphing

For this activity, the child would need a graph (you can draw one on paper or print out a template), a marker and objects to count. Give your child a container filled with 5 or 6 different coloured objects that he/she will able to group together. The child will count each object and then indicate on the graph how many of each coloured objects there are. This activity exposes the child to sorting, counting, identification of numbers and Data Handling. After the child is done drawing the graph you can discuss the data with them by asking questions like “which colour has the most objects?” or “which has the least objects?