My oldest has needed some extra help with her math facts lately, and after a few days of tears and fights over worksheets and workbooks, I realized we needed to figure out make it slightly less torturous. Surely there were ways to practice math that were a little more fun!
There are gobs and gobs of math apps for iPads, which have their place. And there are tons of clever and cutesy DIY math projects and activities on Pinterest. But I was looking for some non-electronic, zero-prep ways to practice simple math skills.
My degree is in English, so I certainly don’t have all the math jargon or research behind all of these suggestions. This is purely one mom to another. 🙂
So I gave it some thought and here’s what I came up with!
Ideas to Build Math Skills at Home
Math Dice Jr and original Math Dice
Math Dice Jr is a simple little math game with chubby dice that helps kids practice addition up to 12. The Original Math Dice is good for older kids to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They’re both a cinch to learn how to play and lots of fun to play as a family!
Math Facts War:
We have the addition version and my daughter realllllllly enjoys it, and we play it often. The first time we opened the box, we played it for almost an hour! Its a simple concept, and fun way to practice facts in a competitive way.
Three Corner (triangle) Flash Cards:
These are new to me and are currently in my Amazon cart (along with like 15 other things, haha). I think they’re a great visual way for kids to see how number families relate. They’re similar to flash cards, but I think seeing all three numbers together at one time will help it really sink in for my daughter.
We have a fun variety set of dice that we can play with multiple ways, practicing addition and facts.
I also think a huge set of dice would be great for drilling addition.
Here is a great list of ideas on how to play with dice to help build math skills.
They can be purchased increments of 6 dot sets, 9 dot sets or 12 dot sets. There are quite a few ways to play with dominoes that offer math practice opportunities. You could dump them all out and have your child look for all the dominoes that add up to 14 or that have a difference of 3, etc.
You could turn them all upside down and have your child turn them over and add or subtract the sides. Lots of options!
I also think seeing numbers in dot form reinforces number families concept (8 is 2 rows of 4, etc).
Here is a few more domino games to build math skills.
Deck of cards
My oldest loves to play blackjack with dad, and it is great counting practice. And don’t forget a clever little card holder to help kids hold the cards.
Here is a great list of card games that are great for practicing math skills.
Sometimes a new writing surface can make practicing math facts a little more fun. You could try a:
Mini White Board
Mini Chalk board
Sand Tray (small cookie sheet with sand)
There are lots of ways to incorporate math skills and lessons into daily life at home. Sometimes it feels silly or unnatural to point out when we’re using real life math, but it truly helps kids to see how important math is, and recognize the ways even grown ups have to practice it! Some obvious areas to use math at home are:
Counting money, buttons, etc.
For more ideas on how to help kids with skills, check out my post about How to Encourage Kids to Love Reading.
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