Early Elementary Math Games Kids Can Play at Home

Games can be an easy and fun way to master important math concepts! Below are games that you can play with your kindergartener, first grader or second grader to help improve math skills. Each of these games can be adjusted based on your child's ability as well as the materials you have on hand.

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How to Help Your Child Enjoy Learning Math

Building a good mathematical foundation is important to your child's academic success. Kindergarteners need to learn number names and correct sequence. First graders should master telling and writing time, comparison of objects according to length and placing items in length order. Second grade children begin exploring place value and basic addition. While this is not a complete skills list, these are foundational skills your child needs. You can help your child at home by providing consistent and frequent review through fun and engaging activities.

Can You Count Your Beans?

This kindergarten-level game can be ready for your child to play in minutes. Begin by labeling each section of an egg carton with a number. Say a number aloud to your child and have him or her count beans to represent that number. Next, ask your child to place the beans in the corresponding section of the egg carton. This activity will require your child to count to a specific number correctly as well as recognize the written numeral. You can also play this game with pre-kindergarten children.

Math Scavenger Hunt

Give your child an object of a particular length, such as a wooden spoon. Send your child on a hunt for other objects that are shorter and longer in length. Once the items have been collected, ask your child to arrange them in order from shortest to longest. You can also change this game to have your child search for items based on width or thickness. While this game is most appropriate for first grade students, it can be easily altered to fit your child's age or ability level.

Timely Tic-Tac-Toe

To help your child master telling time, fill in a tic-tac-toe grid with sample clocks that show a variety of times to the hour. On small slips of paper, draw clocks with times, such as 10:00, and put them in a bowl. Take turns drawing a slip of paper from the bowl and marking the appropriate square on the grid. For example, if you draw 8:00, you will mark the square with the clock showing 8:00. The first player to get three in a row wins! This game can be altered to include more difficult times, such as quarter hours and half hours.

Adding Buttons

Using buttons, or another similar object, have your child create and model addition number sentences. For example, two buttons plus four buttons equals six buttons. To adjust this game, you could provide the sum and have your child discover a missing addend. You can also challenge your child to create his or her own addition sentences. Points should be awarded for all correct answers. This manipulative addition game is best suited for second grade children, but can be easily adjusted.

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