Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: Fostering Kindergarten Math Skills Through Play {Get Ready for K Through Play}

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fostering Kindergarten Math Skills Through Play {Get Ready for K Through Play}

Children grow so much in Kindergarten - physically, socially, emotionally and academically. Over the last few weeks I've shared tips and ideas to help foster a child's language, independence and social & emotional skills. This week our focus is on helping children develop their math skills through play.

Many children struggle with mathematical concepts. Making math hands-on and fun means that it is more meaningful for children and they will be more likely to develop positive attitudes towards math. Upon entering Kindergarten children should have a basic understanding of certain mathematical concepts including number recognition, counting including the ability to count on (that's a BIG one because it is the foundation for addition/problem solving), one-to-one correspondence, patterning, sorting, an understanding of size, colors and shapes.

Number Concepts -  Understanding basic number concepts are a big part of early kindergarten math. If you think about it counting is the foundation of problem solving and numeric operations like addition and subtraction. A big deal, I know and yet so many parents don't think about it this way. Teaching you child to count to 10 or 20 is great but it shouldn't end there. I am going to share a few tips to improve crucial number concepts for kindergarten and simple ways to do it at home with your kids.

Number Recognition - Your child should have a solid grasp of number recognition - 1-10 is a must but 1-20 is the ideal. There are so many fun ways to help your child with this. Here are a few of my favorites -

Go on a Number Hunt

One-to-One Correspondence - Having the ability to understand one-to-one correspondence is very important.  The best way to do this is to get hands-on and use fun manipulatives - toys, snack food, erasers, stickers, etc. Here a few fun items I have used both at home and in the classroom -

Counting On - Mix up your counting and make it fun. Counting on is a concept that can be initially difficult for many children. Don't always start with the number 1. Start from different numbers and count on with your child. Encourage counting down or backwards too. These are going to be crucial counting skills to build during kindergarten so getting a head start will only benefit your child.

Patterning - The ability to recognize and make patterns is an integral part of kindergarten math. There are so many fun ways to get some practice in at home. Use anything you have handy - erasers, stickers, small toys or manipulatives, snack foods, seasonal items, etc. Using concrete items is ideal because it's easier for children to visualize patterns if they can touch them, see them and manipulate them first. This will set a solid foundation for pattering that will carry over into illustrations they will see in math texts and even standardized tests.

Shape & Color Recognition - This sounds basic but you'd be surprised by how many children mix up their shapes and colors or even forget a few in the beginning of kindergarten. Why? It's something many parents focus on early on and then move on and do not revisit. When concepts are not reviewed they are easy to forget if they weren't fully mastered. So before your child starts school spend some time reviewing these basics and ensure they have them mastered. It can be easy and fun. Here are some ideas that will get your child moving, thinking and even creating with shapes and colors -

Go on a Color or Shape Hunt

Build, Stamp & Lace Shapes (and lots more ideas!)

Sorting - The ability to sort by size, shape, color, etc is another skill that kindergarteners spend a great deal of time on. Give your child a head start by setting up some simple sorting activities at home. Pull out some if their favorite toys and sort them by size or type of toy. Supply your child with stickers of animals and people and let him/her put them into the 2 categories.

I hope you find some of these activities useful as you prepare your child for kindergarten. My #1 tip - Remember to have FUN! If things get frustrating, take a break. We want to help our children develop a positive attitude towards math. We can't do that when they (or YOU!) are upset. Keep it light, keep it on their level, make it hands-on and playful and they will more often than not rise to the occasion.  

For more fun and hands-on math ideas check out all of our Math Fun and our Math Pinterest Board.

Thank you to My Cute Graphics for the use of the superhero kids graphic.

This post is part 4 of an 8 week series being hosted on 6 blogs to help kids Get Ready for K Through PlayIn previous weeks we discussed -

For even more Math Skill Building ideas 
check out these awesome posts shared by my series co-hosts:

(by Coffee Cups and Crayons)

3 Playful Ways to Learn Math
(by Mama Smiles)

Post-It Math Games 
(by Mess for Less)
 (by Toddler Approved)

Number Prints 
(by Rainy Day Mum)

and be sure to follow our Get Ready for K Through Play Pinterest Board for lots of awesome Kindergarten Readiness resources, ideas and activities. 

Have fun getting ready for K!


  1. Great ideas for teachers to change out activities in the learning centers. Thank you for posting.

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