# Play: Kindergarten, Here We Come!

Today we are starting a Kindergarten readiness series for all you moms and dads out there whose kids will be starting school this year. We are kicking off the series with a re-publication of a math post we did last year. In it, we give some super simple math activities that you can do with the things you have around your house.

**Number Line**

This is a great

way to do math while also being active. We created a huge number line

by cutting up some cardboard boxes and taping them together with packing

tape. Then, we wrote numbers spaced far enough that the kids could

easily take a small step from one number to the next.

This

is a great one for helping the kids learn the positional nature of

numbers (i.e. a linear understanding- one comes before three, ten comes

after seven). We first introduced this as a tool to help Asante learn to

do simple addition in his head. He could easily do an addition problem

like 2 chocolate chips plus 1 chocolate chips equals 3 chocolate chips

when he had the chocolate chips in front of him. But it was harder for

him to add when he didn’t have objects to look at. By playing on the

number line and him doing problems on it, I think it helped him to

develop the idea of a number line in his head.

So,

when doing an addition problem, 7 + 3, we would have Asante start at 7,

facing towards the higher numbers, and then walk forward three numbers.

What he would be standing on would be the answer.

When

subtracting, 7 – 3, Asante would stand on the 7, and then face towards

the negative numbers because it was subtracting, then step three spaces.

He’d end up being on the number 4, which was his answer.

After

lots and lots of adding and subtracting, Asante became interested in

the idea of negative numbers. When on the number line, if he were going

to do a problem like 3 + -1, he knew he needed to stand on the three to

start off with, and because it was an addition problem, he’d stand

facing towards the larger numbers. BUT, since it was (-1) he would step

backwards one space, getting him to his answer, 2. After a few times of

doing the problems this way, he began to kinda get the difference

between adding a negative number versus subtracting a number.

For

Aly (3), we just practice counting by ones as she walks the line (helps

to put a numeral to the word). For both Asante and Aly, we also

practice “skip counting” (counting by 2s or 3s or 5s) on it.

The

great thing about this kind of number line is that it folds up when not

in use and we can just hide it under our couch for storage!

**Colored Pennies**

For

this one, all you need are some pennies painted one side black and one

side red, a dry erase board and a dry erase marker. When using coins (or

other items), we’re helping our kids learn about the idea of

object-based numbers, meaning numbers can represent a certain number of

things. There are lots of simple ways to do some math fun with these

items. Here are a few that we did, but I’m sure you can think of lots

more!

1.

Set out three coins (black side up). Ask your child to count the coins

and write the number underneath. Set out five coins and have them write

that number underneath.

Then,

have them add them up and write the answer. So easy! But a skill that

takes practice in order for them to “get it” in an intuitive way.

2.

These coins offer a way to talk about negative numbers as well. The red

represents a negative number and the black represents a positive one.

When one red and one black come together, they explode (or erase each

other or whatever metaphor you like) and they become “zero”. We use this

concept when adding positive and negative numbers.

-5 + 3 |

Asante is pairing off the red and black and pushing them to the side. |

Two red coins are left after the pairing, so the answer is -2 |

We asked Aly if she knew how to write any numbers, and she said, “yes!” It was zero. |

asked her how many coins she should put down to represent that number.

She said, “haha, none!” I then asked Asante if he could come up with

another way to represent zero. He thought about it for awhile, and then

said, “Yeah, if I put one red and one black together.” I asked if there

were any other ways.

-4 + 4 |

**Carrots**

last one is the easiest and most laidback and a good beginner math

problem. When the kids were eating a carrot snack, Jake asked them if

they could line up their carrots from smallest to largest.

Aly working on it |

Jake

then explained to Aly which carrot was the median (middle), and then he

asked Asante which one was the median in his set. Then they got to eat

them- yum! Eventually, Jake wants to add more carrots and use snack time

to introduce other ideas, like mode, and then maybe use carrots to

practice measuring.

————

Especially

because our kids are preschoolers, we try and find fun ways to show them

how math intercepts their daily life as well as making more formal math

lessons fun and interesting. If the kids start whining or getting

frustrated, we normally just say, “hey, I see you’re getting frustrated.

do you want to do something else?” While we won’t let them off this

easily later on in elementary school, we feel like it’s so important for

the kids not to dread math or develop constant feelings of frustration

around math learning. They are having fun while laying a foundational

understanding of numbers that will serve them well as they are

introduced to more formal math concepts later in school.

**What’s your favorite math activity to do with your kids? Leave a comment below and we can all share ideas!**

Love this post! BRILLIANT!