Math can be such a fun learning experience for young children. I wanted to share some ideas, lessons, and tips for teaching math to young children. Most of the activities shared in “Math Mania” will be for children aged 3-8. These will be hands-on learning experiences. For our first math post, I wanted to share some common household items that can change your child’s math experience. I have called these “math collections.” Teaching does not have to be expensive and most homeschool families have a limited budget. I like to use plastic butter or whipped topping tubs for storage. I take a picture of what is inside and print the picture with the words on a 2″ sticky label. I will give ideas with each item listed over the forthcoming “math” posts. Here are some things you can begin to “collect” for an exciting year in math:
- beads (all kinds)
- nuts, rocks, stones, seeds, pine cones, seed pods
- macaroni (various shapes)
- golf tees
- dry beans (different varieties)
- nuts,bolts, washers (different sizes)
- milk jug lids, other small lids, bottle caps
- shaped erasers (small decorative)
- foam shapes ($ stores have these in large quantities and various shapes)
- small tiles (1″ and 2″ are great)
- plastic animals/people/cars
- paper clips
- plastic tags from bread
- old keys
- small refrigerator magnets (shapes, numbers, letters)
- egg cartons
- clothes pins
- old measuring cups/spoons
- old or cheap hula hoops (we will be using these later for Venn diagrams)
- old magazines and catalogs
- grocery store sale papers
- craft sticks
- small portion cups (medicine cups, cupcake liners, dixie cups, dip cups, etc)
- small boxes or containers for storing items
- adhesive printable labels
- containers for sorting (aluminum pans, styrofoam trays from carry outs or meat, paper plates, etc.)
- checkers, poker chips, counting disks
- rulers, yard sticks, measuring tapes
- thermometers (can you hang one outside near or on a window?)
- timers (kitchen timers, egg timers, etc.)
- scales (kitchen scales, balance scale, bathroom scale, etc.)
- solid color vinyl tablecloths for floor graphs
- old wall clock (one that doesn’t work will be great. Your child can “set the time” and won’t have to worry about breaking anything.)
- geoboards: See directions on how to make a geoboard, at home!
This is a geoboard. Geoboards can be used in math for teaching basic shapes and for early geometry lessons. There is no need to buy a geoboard. You can easily make one at home that is much sturdier than the plastic ones you buy.
To make a geoboard you need a 12″ square of wood. 1 1/2 inch- 2 inches thick is preferable. You will also need 25 small 1″ screws with small heads. Measure out and make a mark every two inches, across and down. If you start your first screw 2 inches from the top and 2 inches from the side, it will be nice and centered. After making the 25 marks, screw the screw into each mark. You will want about 1/4″-1/2″ sticking out. Make sure all of the screws are even. You can be creative and spray paint the wood before attaching screws.
Helpful note: Tack a can soda tab to the back and you have a nice hanger to store your geoboard out of the way.
Our next Math Mania post will be on Calendars! So many math concepts can be taught just by having a “Calendar time” each day with your child. Come back to find out more!