Want to instill a love of math in your kindergartner? Use these tactile, kinesthetic learning methods, plans, and printable sheets. If you have ever said “I hate math,” or “I was never good at math” here is your chance to erase that negative impression and make learning math fun.
Kindergarten Math Is About Concepts, Not Perfection.
First, don’t worry about whether your kindergartner makes her 3’s backwards. Or writes 14 as 41. At this stage you are only instilling math concepts and an eagerness to learn.
The Box Game for Kindergarten Math.
Find a box with compartments, like the ones you may find for Christmas ornaments, canning jars, or china cups. Write a big number from zero to nine inside each compartment. Provide two beanbags, or small balls per child. It’s more fun if you have two teams, or at least two children competing. Each child throws beanbags into the compartments until there are two that have landed on a number. Then, the child can lift the beanbags and add the two numbers found there, or subtract one from the other. Every time your kindergartner gets one right, he or she gets a point. You can play until whatever point total you decide is the victory score. The free lesson plan for teams is printable here.
The M&M Counting Game for Kindergarten Math.
Sweet! Every child gets a handful of M&M’s and an M&M color chart. First they match up the right color M&M with the right word on the chart. Then they count the number of M&Ms in each color and write the total on the chart in the correct column. Every correct answer provides an opportunity to eat the M&M’s. You can even have each child pick his or her two favorite M&M colors and add the two numbers together. In a classroom or group, kids can tally the favorite M&M colors of their classmates and find the most popular M&M color of all.
Free lesson plan.
Printable M&M counting chart.
The Jelly Bean Drop Counting Game for Kindergartners.
Each child gets a teaspoon and a cup of about ten assorted jelly beans. Place an empty bucket about eight feet away from each child. He or she has to scoop up one jelly bean from the cup using the spoon, carry it over to the bucket, drop it in and then run back and get another one. No stopping to pick up or eat dropped jelly beans! When you call time, each child counts the jelly beans in his or her bucket. The one who has the most jelly beans wins and gets to eat them all. Optional: Winner takes one jelly bean from each of the other children, and eats those too. The second place winner then does the same thing, and then third place and so forth, depending on how many players you have. Stop the play while all the children still have a few jellybeans left to eat.
Variation for one child: The child uses the spoon to take as many jelly beans as possible from the cup to the bucket before time’s up. Then have him or her eat two or more jelly beans, and figure out how many are left. Keep doing this until all the jelly beans are gone.
Devise Your Own Counting and Math Games for Kindergartners.
For instance, you can hand out a few oreo-style cookies, and have the children take them apart, and then tell you how many individual cookies they have. You will be instilling the concept of multiplication! Of course, you can use carrot sticks instead of cookies and make your dentist happy.