This is an unprecedented time. Never before have schools unexpectedly closed for weeks or months, forcing classroom teachers to become virtual teachers and parents to become homeschool teachers. Lately, I have received so many messages from teachers and parents asking for at home learning activities. So, I am starting a series where I will share LOTS of educational games and activities that kids can do at home. Let’s start by exploring some fun at home math activities!
Daily Math Exercises for Kids
I know many parents are overwhelmed and do not even know where to begin when it comes to being a homeschool parent (If you’re feeling that, that’s normal. Teaching is a hard job!). One of the math questions I keep hearing is “what math skills are most important for my child to work on at home.” My response is always the same… make sure kids are practicing math facts daily. If your child is in a lower elementary grade (grades K-2), they should be practicing addition and subtraction facts. If your child is in an upper elementary grade (grades 3-6), they should be practicing multiplication and division facts. Luckily, there are lots of fun math facts games and activities you can use to help your kids practice these skills.
Quick, Daily Math Practice
In the classroom, I have my upper elementary students practice multiplication facts daily. I use these timed multiplication worksheets. On Monday, I time students to see how long it takes them to complete the worksheet. Each day throughout the week, I have students complete the worksheet again with the goal of decreasing their time from the previous day. Encouraging students to improve their time adds a level of competition to the activity, which many students enjoy.
Math Facts Games with Cards
If you have a deck of cards at home, there are lots of at home math activities you can create. An easy math facts game that involves cards is similar to the war card game.
- Like with war, the deck is divided evenly between two players.
- Each player flips one card at a time.
- The kid must multiply the numbers on the two cards. If they multiply correctly, they get to keep the cards. If they multiply incorrectly, you get to keep the cards.
Depending on the age and skill level of the child, you can also ask them to add, subtract, or divide. Also, consider creating numbers to represent the face cards. For example, a Jack can represent “11.”
Math Facts Games with Dice
Dice can also be used to create at home math activities. If you want to create a more challenging math game, give your child two dice.
- Students should roll both dice and use the numbers rolled to create a two-digit number on paper. For example, if they roll a four and a two, they would write “42” on their paper.
- Next, have the student roll the dice a second time and create a second two-digit number.
- Last, encourage them to add, subtract, multiply, or divide the numbers.
For an even more challenging activity, you can add a third die to have your child create a three-digit number.
The video shows how to set up this math game and other at home math activities.
At Home Math Activities with Task Cards
If you have followed my blog or Instagram for long, you know that I love task cards. Task cards are great because they require little prep time, they get students up and moving, and the kids enjoy using them. Best of all, there are lots of ways to use task cards. I recently heard someone say that task cards are best as classroom activities, but task cards are great whether learning at home or in a classroom. Make sure to check out my previous post about ways to use task cards to find several fun math games you can play with your child at home.
Math Activities for Kids Around the House
One of the best things about math is that you don’t need any fancy supplies or tools to teach it. You can use almost any object you have around your house to practice math.
Math Problems at Home
Open almost any pantry, drawer, or closet in your home and you can begin teaching math. For example, you can have your child practice creating math problems with the cans of food in the pantry or the rolls of toilet paper in a bathroom cupboard. Depending on the age and skill level of the child, you can have them create addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division problems. You can even have them create multi-step math problems where more than one operation is used. For any math word problem you or child creates, make sure to solve the problem together.
You can also practice fractions with objects around your home. For example, you can pull out all the silverware from a drawer and have your child create fractions to represent the number of spoons or forks in the drawer. For upper elementary students, have them create fraction word problems while cooking. You can bake a cake with your child. As you do, have the child add the fractions together. For example, two-thirds cups of sugar and one-fourth cup of butter.
Math Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are great math exercises that get kids up and moving. Go on a geometry walk around your neighborhood. Have your child call out any two- or three-dimensional shapes they see along the way. Another math scavenger hunt you can try at home is a measurement hunt. Give your child a list of things to measure and a measurement tool such as a tape measurer. Then, give then a time limit and instruct them to measure each of the items on the list within that timeframe.
Math Games Online
One of the things I have been telling parents as they transition to online learning is “do not reinvent the wheel.” It can feel like you have to create all these lessons and educational activities for your child to complete at home. Luckily, there are tons of online resources you can use. You just have to know where to look. A few months ago, I created a post for teachers where I listed out some of the best free math websites and games. Many of these math websites are also free to you as a parent. If you have Internet access at home, make sure to take advantage of these free resources.
Math Help for Parents
Let’s be honest… math is hard, especially if your child is in upper elementary. If you are uncertain how to teach some of the math skills your child is expected to know, that is okay. I have created math parent study guides to help. These math resources for parents explain how I teach every math skill in the classroom. Each guide includes important vocabulary, step-by-step instructions, and fun tips and sayings to help you remember certain skills. I used to send these guides home so that parents could help their children with math homework. Now, I’ve been sharing them with parents so that they have a guide for teaching math at home
With schools closing, students are forced to learn at home. With students out of their normal routines, they may be resistant to the idea of doing school at home. Therefore, it is important to make the schoolwork fun and engaging. These at home math activities will help students review math skills and are sure to keep them engaged while they are away from school.