Playing Math Games in Kindergarten

First term we began working on Number Sense and Numeration, such as rote counting, recognizing numerals and matching amounts to numerals.  Students also worked on counting on from various points.  We have used a variety of math materials to practice these concepts.  Here are some of our students using math materials in our class.

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At home, you can use practically anything you can find for math activities, such as coins, bread tags, empty bottle caps or buttons.  A basic deck of cards and some dice are also great for playing simple math games with your child.

Below are some Math games that you can play with your child to help strengthen his/her Number Sense and Numeration skills.

Game #1 – The Counting On Game

Object of the Game – to get 3 counters

Materials – cards Ace (1) to 10; later, cards with 1 to 20, Counters

Students sit in a circle at the table.  Place the deck of cards face down in the centre.  The first person flips over a card and students take turns counting on from that number, until one person reaches 10.  The person who reaches 10 gets a counter.  Then that person flips the next card and students count on again to 10.  Game continues until one student gets three counters.  Discussions might include who had more, less or the same number of counters.  You may ask them, “How many more to three?”

More advanced students can count on to 20 or higher numbers.

Game # 2 –  board games to the finish line

Materials: simple, homemade board game with 15-20 squares, numeral or dot dice or red and black cards from 1 to 5.

Children take turns rolling the dice in order to move to the finish line on the game.  Alternative versions have students flipping cards, moving forward with black cards and backwards with red cards.

Game #3

Higher card – played like war, using all playing cards, or just  1 to 10

Students each get a pile of cards, and turn one over at a time.  The student with the higher card takes the cards of the other students.  If two students are tied with their higher number, then they flip another card each to determine who takes all of the cards.  Play continues until one person has all of the cards.

You can remove the face cards initially to keep the game simpler.

Game # 4

Higher, Lower and the Same

Object of the Game – to get rid of all of your cards

Materials – playing cards Ace through 10

Students get 5 or 7 cards each.

The rest of pack goes to the dealer.  The dealer flips over the first card and says, “Higher than… ” (e.g. 7) and says the number.  Each student lays down one card that is higher than the dealers card.  (If they can) The dealer clears the cards played.

Then the dealer turns over another card from the pack and says, “Lower than …. “(e.g. 4).  Again, each student plays a card that is lower than the dealers card (if they can).  The dealer clears these cards again.

Finally, the dealer turns over another card from the pack and says, “Same as… “e.g. 2).  Students play a matching card (if they can).

Play continues until one student has no cards left.  If both students get rid of their cards at the same time, the winner can be determined by a card draw or rock, paper, scissors

Other card ideas:

Students can use cards for missing number games, sequencing, or numeral recognition.

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