Math can be a tricky subject. While some kiddos love it, the general consensus about math is that it is "not fun!" So today, to squash that misconception, we've come up with a selection of our favorite math activities that will transform math from not fun to. . . SUPER FUN!
Like DIY board games that incorporate a little long division and a lot of laughs. . .
. . . or beautiful math tools that let you play with shapes, color, and fraction robots!!. . .
. . . to handmade math scrabble boards. . .
. . . and fraction flags. . .
. . . that look quite nice on delicious math cake!
Making Math Fun: Free Activities and Downloads!
1. Love playing Candy Land? We bet you'll love Math Land too! This simple DIY math board game is quick to make and bound to take a lot of the frustration out of learning basic math skills. Concepts start small and can become more complex as your little mathematicians gain confidence.
2. Scrabble more your speed? Try your hand at this homemade Math Scrabble game set. Not only can this activity incorporate a hike (to find the branches for the game pieces), it's also a lovely way to spend a rainy afternoon or a Saturday morning. Fun to make and fun to play!
3. We love this handmade back to school satchel filled with fun flash cards that teach kids multiplication tables while they make them!
4. Math never tasted this sweet. In this activity kiddos have fun baking a cake and using fractions. More of a cookie fan than a cake fan? No problem, we've got a math activity for that too.
5. And finally, prefer your games to be of the card deck variety? You're in luck! We made these printable cards to play a game of Math Go Fish and more:
To make the game simply click on the image above for a full size printable download. Drag the image to your desktop or print from the page directly. Each page will print templates for 4 playing cards.
To start off, use the four basic functions of math as your starting point (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Make those functions into the different card suits by drawing pictures of their symbols in the center of the blank side of the cards numbering them like a regular card set up to the number 13 (we used the numbers 11,12, and 13 instead of Jack, Queen, and King). You would then have four groups of 13 cards, with cards like a "4 of division" or a "6 of subtraction".
Use these cards to play a standard game of go fish like you would with any other card deck.
Then, to make the game even more educational and fun add math trivia to each card and grant players extra points for answering the trivia correctly. Super bonus round? Allow players to "steal" each others card pairs when a wild card function is pulled by doing what is on the card to the completely pairs (multiplying/dividing/adding/subtracting the value of card pairs etc.)
Try out these beautiful and useful tools for math play:
A drawing compass for making pretty pictures an learning about geometry
Oh how we love this book: The Secrets of Mental Math
*Last time in Crafts and Activities: For the Love of Words
From the moment we start to make sounds as infants, we're trying to find our voice. We're collecting language word by word so we can communicate our feelings and wishes. And, like all collections, the words we accumulate become a portrait of us. They shape the way we express ourselves and the way we move through the world. They influence the decisions we make and the directions we go based on our understanding of their meaning. They make us feel happy or sad or inspired. . .
. . . which is exactly why it is so important to encourage children to investigate words. . .
. . . to build their own relationships with them. . .
. . . to explore all of their sounds and variations. . .
. . . to make them their own. Because when kids know the value of the words they share and all of their subtle beauty, they can do some pretty amazing things in this world. They can move through life with a sense of wonder and empowerment. They can share their own unique and inspiring voice.
Word Play: A Dictionary of YOUR Words
While no one can argue the efficiency of looking up a word on your computer or phone, there is something pretty amazing and irreplaceable about using a dictionary. When you look up a word on the internet, you get only what you are looking for. When you look up a word in a dictionary, you run into so many other words as you try to find the right page. You also might run into something pretty wonderful like this little surprise here. All of those chance encounters will only make this activity so much more meaningful and fun, so I encourage you to do this activity the old fashioned way. You won't regret it.
1. Start off the activity by typing or writing words on small scraps of paper. Sometimes it can be fun to work off of a theme like the poetry jar pictured above, but you could also simply ask your kiddos to write down their favorite words and put them in a jar or can.
2. Ask the kids to pick out a word and then to look it up in the dictionary. Encourage them to explore all of the definitions as well as the other words on the page.
3. Invite them to try sounding out the different words and then record their sweet little voices while they are doing it so they have a sound bank of pronunciation to refer back to if/when they need it ( and I guarantee you'll love having these recordings when they are all grown up).
4. Try telling a story using the word you just looked up, or draw a comic book story based on the word in the notebook.
5. Ask them to write their interpretation of the definition in their book (i.e. their personal dictionary).
6. Repeat these steps over and over. Fill up lots of notebooks. Come up with your own word games to play.
*Last time in Crafts and Activities: Slipping into September
From traveling through time and space. . .
. . . to learning about math in a new place. . .
. . . to pumpkin mornings. . .
. . . to grammar that is far from boring. . .
. . . this month is full of new ways to learn. . .
. . . and play.
Wishing you all a wonderful start to this beautiful September!
*Last time in Crafts and Activities: Weaving Wishes
. . . split wood like this. . .
. . . the simple repetitive actions always remind me. . .
. . . that small steps can add up. . .
. . . to beautiful things.
As this school year begins anew, taking the time to start a project like this can be a great way to talk about the process of breaking things down into simple steps and all the benefits that can bring. So often we look at the complexity of a situation and get overwhelmed by its weight and size. Big things can be scary, but every big thing is made up of a lot of tiny things that are much easier to comprehend and manage. Showing kids how to break things down into their simplest components will help them to look at even the most difficult situations in the future with a sense of agency and purpose. Because, if you can take something big and perhaps a bit unknown, and make it small and familiar, then you can do anything you wish. One tiny step at a time, weaving simple thoughts and actions into big successes and accomplishments.
No, it's not just a basket, it's a tool for unlocking the beautiful potential of the future. And, it does a pretty good job of organizing your favorite treasures too.
*Last time in Crafts and Activities: DIY Feather Pencil Case