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5 Tips for Building Math Skills at Home

By Shana Cloud Mojica, M.S., Director of Learning and Impact at Noggin

As busy parents and caregivers, we can get overwhelmed trying to think of ways to practice math with our kids at home. When this happens, I like to take a deep breath, and remember that math is like air – it’s everywhere and in just about everything (on Earth). Here are a few fast, easy ways to jump into joyful math play with your child and build math confidence for the whole family.

Paper and Pencil Play

It can be hard to find a piece of paper and a pencil these days, but if you have them on hand, you can play a math game in a snap.

  1. Start by drawing a single number on a piece of paper. (Choose a number they know.)
  2. Ask your child to say it.
  3. Next, have your child draw a number on the piece of paper to the left or right (before or after) this number.
  4. Now you read the new number.
  5. Take turns adding numbers and reading the cool new number you’ve created.
  6. Wow your child as you read these big numbers that they may not know yet!

Counting Jar (or Cup!)

Add this game to your routine for regular math challenge fun.

  1. Place up to 10 items in a jar or cup that you can see through from all sides. Challenge your child to count how many items are in the jar then write it down.
  2. Each time you play, you can change it up in different ways:
    • Put one more (or one fewer) item in the jar
    • Put different items in the jar, and ask your child to sort and then count them. (For example, choose two different types of snacks, and challenge them to sort them into two groups, count how many in each group, and finally count how many snacks in all.)

Parent Tips

  • As they play, ask questions about what they’re doing.
  • When they’re done, talk about their answer and ask how they know.
  • Reward them in whatever way excites them. Maybe they get to eat the snacks in the jar!

Estimation Jar

Level up the counting jar by closing the jar with the items inside, and in the morning, ask them to guess how many. Then later in the day, open the jar and let them count to find out how many. Then talk about the difference in their answers.

Watch over time to see how their strategy and accuracy changes!

Set the Table

Setting the table? Ask your child how many cups, plates, bowls, utensils, etc. you need. Encourage them to gather and place them.

Slice the Sandwich

Make mealtime math time! Next time you make a sandwich, slice it in different ways to show different shapes, and talk about them with your child. Ask questions like:

  • What do you notice?
  • How are they the same? Different?
  • Which one is longer? Taller? Wider?

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New content added weekly

Accessible on multiple devices

Downloadable books & games for offline play

About Ailey

Since its first historic performance in 1958, Ailey has been innovating and evolving the perception of American modern dance throughout the world. Noggin is honored to partner with them in helping kids all over get up moving, learning, and expressing their feelings through dance. Because movement has meaning when we dance how we’re feeling!