Having a preschooler in our home has really brought the school days back with a vengeance. To incorporate math skills into her daily grind in a fun and innovative way requires that we be on our toes as she is certainly on hers. In our home, we do a lot in the way of homemade games, puzzles and seek and find.
Homemade games seem to be the greatest hit. While she helps to draw out the game board, mom and I are delegated to making the game pieces and bonus cards. In a mix between chutes and ladders and monopoly, we can buy items on the boards we go but we can also fall all the way back to the beginning and lose our tokens. This helps her to not only count her spaces but also track her money to be sure that she has enough to buy what she wants to next. If she wins the game and counts all her money correctly, she gets the princess crown that pays two dollars.
Puzzles are a little less creative but still a lot of fun to play with her. We save a pizza box lid and draw and colors numbers, letters and shapes on it. After it is all colored in, we set out to cut it in all shapes and sizes. In putting it back together, we each get only so many pieces. We roll a dice to see how many pieces the first person gets and so on until all the pieces are gone. She is in charge of counting on the dice and then counting the pieces out to each of us. While the math is much simpler in this game, it is also building team work and communication skills needed in school.
With seek and find, pairs of cardboard numbers, shapes and sizes are hidden in our living room and kitchen areas. She takes the first turn to find three pairs for a total of six pieces and then each of is allowed to find however many pairs she wants us to look for. As we find pairs, she keep a total for us, the only drawback is that she can subtract from us if we find two parts that do not match. The key is we rarely find more than two pairs in the bunch so we are usually in the negative. She is fully aware that zero is not the beginning of our numbers but only a reference as she calls it the break-even point. She compares it to spending all her allowance and us not letting her borrow any more money.
Finding creative ways to keep her thrill of learning alive is a fun and interactive way that ensure us not only great math skills but also great parent and child bonding time.