Welcome to another week of the Love to Learn Linky! This week – we’re all about DOING **playful hands-on MATH** with young children.

We have ideas to help kids learn about numbers, measurement, geometry, patterning, and data management (graphing!) – all in a fun HANDS-ON way. Because that’s how kids learn math **best** when they’re young – through **PLAY!**

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In Ontario public schools (where I teach), the elementary school mathematics curriculum is broken down into 5 different areas or “strands.”

It’s helpful as a parent to **know what these areas are** so that you can make sure that you’re helping expose your child to each of them in day to day life and play.

**Number Sense and Numeration** – includes all the understandings of place value, as well as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals etc.

**Measurement** – focuses on the concepts of length, width, distance, time, weight and mass, capacity and volume, temperature etc.

**Geometry** – includes the study of 2D shapes and 3D solids, as well as movement in the 4 directions in space

**Patterning** – focuses on identifying visual patterns, as well as sound patterns and movement patterns, and creating and extending these patterns

**Data Management** – focuses on collecting and organizing information in different ways so that it can be compared and better understood

**What IS Playful Hands-On Math?**

Young children should begin to develop these mathematical understandings at their **own pace** through **repeated** and **authentic experiences** as much as possible – and this often means through their **PLAY!**

Having young children memorize flashcards of facts, or even relying too much on paper-based mathematical activities, robs them of the chance to truly see math as a **THINKING** and **PROBLEM SOLVING activity.** One where there are many ways to get to an answer and many ways to view a problem.

It may also have the unintended side-effect of robbing them of the **JOY** of learning to think mathematically. We all know too many people who say they hated math in school and still do.

The activities I’ve gathered today are grouped under the 5 strands I mentioned above and are all hands-on ways to get young children to **have FUN** while learning to **THINK** mathematically.

For each strand, I have included a **list of concepts** that children aged 2 to 6 can be exposed to which will help them develop beginning math skills. I’ve also included **examples of activities** that can be used to support each concept.

At the bottom of each strand, I’ve listed some awesome playful hands-on math activities that I have found from around the web (and our * Love to Learn Linky!*)

**Playful Number Sense and Numeration**

To help develop numerical thinking, encourage kids to:

**Count**real everyday objects*accurately*up to about 5 – 10 things (*e.g. How many cars do you have in that garage? How many pieces of broccoli would you like? Let’s count them out*.)- Discuss the concepts of
**more, less and the same**(*e.g. We each have some pom poms. Who has the most? Who has the least?*) - Put objects
**into order**from biggest to smallest or vice versa (*Which sand scoop is the biggest here? Which is the next biggest? Which is the smallest?*) - Recognize the
**written numerals**(*e.g. “7” and matching it to the number word “seven”*) **Add and subtract**one thing from a group of things (*e.g. We’ve got 4 places set at the dinner table and we need one more for our guest…how many plates is that altogether? How many forks will we need now?*)

We have done lots of fun hands-on math activities here at **One Time Through** including:

DIY Counting Games, Counting to 5 with Flowers, Counting Sensory Bin, Kids’ DIY Counting Book, Pom Pom Ice Cream Shoppe & 35 Ways to Teach Kids About Money

Snowman Math from **Sugar Aunts.**

A Maze of Numbers: Counting Activity from **Hands On As We Grow.**

Classroom Tunics from **Little Fingers Big Art.**

Bottle Cap Learning from **Tiny Tots Adventures **(shown above).

**Measurement Play**

To help develop mathematical thinking in this area, encourage kids to:

**Measure**and**compare**the**length**of all kinds of things (*e.g. Plants growing, their own height, the distance from one side of the fort to the other.*)- Measure and compare the
**weight and mass**of objects (*e.g. Which one of these toys do you think is the heaviest? How can we check*?) - Notice
**clocks**and how they measure time (*e.g. When the short hand points to a number, it is near that time. The short hand is pointing almost to the 6 – that means it’s close to 6:00 – our dinnertime!*) - Measure and compare the
**volume and capacity**of liquids and containers (*e.g. Let’s use these measuring cups to measure out ingredients for our cookies.*) - Learn about different
**standard measurement tools**such as thermometers, clocks, weight scales, balances, rulers, measuring cups, etc. - Use
**non-standard measuring tools**to measure with (*e.g. Using hand lengths to measure the width of the fridge, or a length of string to measure and compare the heights of different family members.*)

Baking with Kids, Growing Seeds, and Indoor Snow Play from **One Time Through.**

Kinetic Sand Math from **Left Brain Craft Brain.**

Weights Lengths and Shapes Math Activities from **The Practical Mom **(shown above).

Recycled Craft Measurement & Counting Game from **Artsy Momma.**

**Playful Hands-On Geometry**

To help develop spatial thinking, encourage kids to:

**Play**with**3D blocks**and learn their proper names and characteristics (*e.g. While playing with blocks, teach words such as “cylinder, cone, sphere, cube, rectangular prism.”*)- Do activities with
**2D shapes**and learn their proper names and characteristics (*e.g. Make art using different shapes and teach words such as “circle, square, rectangle, oval, triangle, sides, corners.”*) **Build structures**out of different shapes (*e.g. Use Tinkertoys, or straws and marshmallows to make towers, bridges etc.*)- Look for and
**label shapes**in the environment (*e.g. Let’s see how many squares we can count on that house. or What shape is that sign?”*) - Look at
**symmetry**in the environment (*e.g. Point out butterfly wings and the symmetry of our bodies and faces.*)

Lego Symmetry from **Fun At Home With Kids **(shown above).

Indoor Snowball Structures from **One Time Through.**

Pattern Blocks and Playdough from **Munchkins and Moms.**

Kids Quilt Activity from **Buggy and Buddy.**

Mathematical Skills Block Stacking from **Stay At Home Educator.**

Make a Truck from Shapes from **Powerful Mothering.**

Symmetrical Patterns with Natural Materials from **The Imagination Tree.**

**Patterning Playtime**

To help develop this area of thinking, encourage kids to:

- Look for patterns in the
**environment**(*e.g. Polka dots, plaid, stripes, repeating shapes, etc.)* **Describe patterns**they see using words (*e.g. That shirt has a red stripe, then a blue one and then a red one and a blue one and it keeps repeating.*)**Create patterns**of their own with blocks or in their art**Copy patterns**that are visual and auditory (*e.g. Play the “repeat after me” game while clapping out simple patterns – see the Egg Shaker games below.*)**Continue or extend**simple repeating patterns (*e.g. Let’s repeat these dance steps until the song ends!*)

Egg Shaker Music Games from **One Time Through.**

Snacktime Math from **Coffee Cups and Crayons.**

Rainbow Patterns with Blocks from **Mom Inspired Life **(shown above).

Sort and Count Rainbow Busy Bag from **Powerful Mothering.**

**Hands-On Data Management**

To help young children learn to use data, encourage them to:

**Sort**different objects into groups and**assign a name**to each group (*e.g. Group all the cars into one basket and all the dolls into another when cleaning up.*)- Start to use objects to
**represent numbers**(*e.g. Use coloured chips to keep track of points in a bowling game.*) - Learn how to use
**tally marks**to record numbers (*e.g. Keep track of the number of books read/songs learned/days at daycare using tallies.*) - Help make
**bar graphs**and picture graphs (*e.g. Sort a variety of objects into different groups and compare the sizes of the groups.*)

Ocean Shells Craft and Graphing from **One Time Through **(shown above).

Lego Graphing from **J Daniel 4’s Mom.**

Muffin Tin Color Sorting from **Modern Preschool.**

Simple Graphing from **Teach Preschool.**

Hope you found some fun and playful hands-on math activities for your 2 to 6 year old today.

Follow One Time Through’s board Mathematical Kids on Pinterest.

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And now for the Linky! Please visit my fabulous co-host to see other features this week:

**Totschooling** – Pot of Gold Math Game

**Left Brain Craft Brain** – Tube Painting Gross Motor Art Project

**A Little Pinch of Perfect – **15 Easy Spring Crafts for Toddlers

Anne at Left Brain Craft Brain says

What a great resource! So many amazing math ideas. Definitely filing this one away as a reference.

Sue Lively says

Thanks Anne – I wanted to gather ideas that I could keep coming back to with my son before Kindergarten. Hope you find it helpful!

Swapna says

Thanks for the Feature! Will be trying out the other ideas soon 🙂

(ThePracticalMom)

Sue Lively says

Great Swapna! Thanks for dropping by.