On this page I will be posting ideas and links for parents (or anyone) who want to help their kids with Kindergarten math concepts. All of these activities and links are aligned to and support what students are expected to be learning in school at this level.
Unit One: Numbers to 20
These are simple games you can play at home using simple household items or things you can buy cheaply at the Dollar Store. There are also awesome board games you can buy at WalMart, but why spend $20 when you can make something at home?
- Give your child a notebook and a pencil. If they have a booster seat, or can see out the window, this game just might keep them occupied on the way to or from school. Create a rule, such as “blue cars,” “trucks” or “bicycles” for them to count. Every time they see one, they make a tally mark on the paper. At the end of the ride, count together, the number of things they saw, and write the number.
- Get a set of cards. Take out all the Jacks, Kings, and Queens.
- Divide the cards into two piles. You don’t have to use the whole deck.
- Set a timer for as long as you wish to play.
- Each player turns over one card, and counts the shapes (hearts, clubs, spades, diamonds) in the center of the card (this part is important. Make sure you touch each shape as you count it. This helps the student connect the amount of shapes with the number and what the number looks like)
- Whomever gets the card with the most shapes on it is the winner of the card. Whomever gets the most cards by the time the timer goes off is the winner.
Bag it Up
- Each player gets a small bag (paper, ziplock, whatever…you can use a cloth bag, a basket, an envelope, a Tupperware…)
- Gather a bunch of small items (all the same): pennies, peanuts, skittles, etc., 10 for each player.
- Find a die, or more dice, if each person wants their own. Ideally, the dice would only go up to the number 3, but you can have 1 and four equal one, 2 and 5 equal 2, etc, Even better, print out the blank dice template here, and tape it together. Put a 1 on two sides, a 2 on two sides, and a 3 on three sides.
- Take turns rolling the dice. Each time you roll the dice, place that many of the object in your bag
- After 3-5 rounds, stop and count your items. Whomever has the most wins.
- If your items are edible, eat them.
- Play another round. 😊
- Another fun game that involves food. This game is one for snack time or dessert.
- Gather some wooden skewers, and some yummy food stuffs, such as fruit, or if it’s for dessert, pieces of brownie, or marshmallows, etc.
- Roll a dice. Whatever number you get, put that many pieces of food on your skewer.
- The first person to fill up their skewer is the winner. Don’t forget to record how many pieces you got on that stick!
- Eat your results.
- Kids get “bored” all the time, unless they are glued to a screen. If you want to reduce screen time and increase math skills, print out and have them color one of the printable game boards here. (If you don’t have a printer and want a copy, I am happy to provide you with one.)
- Once the board is colored, find something to use as game pieces. You can use pieces from another game, or buttons, or a lego, or a coin. Whatever is easy and convenient for you.
- Roll the dice. Make sure your child counts out a number with each move. Kids often count the space they are on as “one.” I like to start the count at “Zero” (the space they are on,) and then “one, two, three” etc. For extra fun, use a multi-sided dice like the ones used in table top nerd games like D&D (I’m a nerd, so I have a lot of these dice.)
- You can use this game board for a million different games.
- Game One: roll a die. Move forward that many spaces. Whomever gets to the end of the board first, wins.
- Game two: Write the numbers 1-5 or 1-10 (or 1-20, or more…but don’t go much higher than your kid can count. Start off slow, and work your way up.) randomly on the spaces Roll a die. Move forward that many spaces. What ever number you land on, say the number. If you say it right you get a point (or a skittle, or a hug, or a peanut, or a minute of screen time, whatever reward you think is fair.) Once the game is finished, you are both winners!
- Have your child make up a game, and play it that way. Some kids really like to make their own games, or at least pick a theme, like race cars, princesses, or animals. Use your imagination!
Counting to 5
Counting to 10
Literature Links: Counting
San Jose has some amazing libraries! I remember as a child how excited I was to go to the library and check out books. Here are some fantastic books you can read together that have to do with math. Some of these have videos on Youtube, and you may be able to find them in Spanish, as well.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Bat Jamboree by Kathy Appelt
- Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Chritelow
- The April Rabbits by David Cleveland
- Two Ways to Count to Ten by Ruby Dee
- The King’s Commission by Aileen Friedman
- How Many Feet in the Bed by Diane Johnston Hamm
- One Hundred is a Family by Pam Muñoz Ryan
- Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Be sure to ask your child to touch and count, and to ask them questions like “how many are there now?” How do you know where to start counting?” “What number comes next?”