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10 Every Day Materials to Boost Math Skills

Updated: May 3, 2023

What do you think of when you hear the word math? Does it send shivers down your spine when you think of that calculus test you had to study for? Do you love math and think of it as playing with numbers?

Whether you love it or hate it, it is a huge part of our lives. Have no fear - here are ten things that can help boost your child's math skills...even if you don't like it.

*Like we always say: every child is different and you must determiine what is safe and appropriate for your own child(ren).

1. Berries


This is an instance where we encourage you to play with your food! If it teaches math it's okay, right? Depending on the age of your child(ren) you can:

*Ask them to sort berries by color

*Ask them how many berries they want - and then let them count

*You can even do simple addition and subtraction. I.E. "I have four berries on my plate. I ate one I only have three!"

2. Camera

Girl holding camera

Cameras are a fantastic way for children to intereact with the world around them and of course give us the ability to see things that happened in the past. If you want a good (child-safe aka drop safe) camera click here.

Our suggestion is to use the camera to make your own number cards with your child. This allows your child to connect a lot more with the material thus better learning the numbers.

So how do you do this? Ask your child what they want to take pictures of. If they are interested in trucks do that. "There is ONE bulldozer." Take a picture of the bulldozer, print it off and then glue it onto a paper with the number one. Do this for all of the numbers to ten!

3. Blocks

Kids playing with blocks

Blocks are an all around fun and educational tool for kids! If you don't have any here are some that we think are great. As far as math goes you can use them to:

*Stack blocks and count how many are in the tower

*Compare the size of towers - "Who has the biggest tower, whose is the smallest?"

*Pratice shapes - which shapes did you use to form your: tower, house etc.

Regardless of how you use them they are great for learning!

4. Cooking

Boy cooking

Cooking is a fun, delicious way to do math! While cooking with your child, you can help them boost their math skills by doing things like:

*Telling them how many cups (or tablespoons etc.) of an ingredient to put in - have them count!

*You can use langauge like "This is a quarter cup of flour" they may not understand exactly what that is but just by hearing the terms "quarter, half, three-quarters" etc. they are learning. They can see that a quarter cup is smaller than a half a cup and so on.

Find something delicious and cook!

5. Meauring cups and spoons

Measuring spoons

This one is related to cooking however, we think it is an even easier way to use cooking materials. We suggest placing a bunch of measuring cups and spoons in a bin with a material of interest. This could be water, beans, rice - whatever your child finds interesting. As they fill and empty spoons and cups they are learning about volume and, again, having their first glimpses into fractions!

6. Making phone calls

Old school phone

We know your phone probably does not look like the one it seems like almost everyone uses only a cell phone but have no fear that works too! Next time you make a call, ask your child to push the numbers. This helps them to practice their number recognition skills. Don't want your child using technology? We totally get that...we are all about avoiding screen time. To help with that - if you have an old phone with ACTUAL buttons on it that is no longer working they can use that for pretend play. Bonus: it doesn't make noise!

7. Random things around the house...

Card that says thank you very much

Things that are all different kinds of shapes, colors, and sizes are all over the place (and we bet all over your house) which makes this activity super easy!

To practice shapes you can ask your child "Can you please grab that card over there - it's the shape of a rectangle."

Want to practice size and color? "Please grab the big blue bowl."

Everyday conversations can lead to math development by using these simple phrases!

8. Stamps

Rubber Stamps

Animals, shapes, letters...any stamps can help practice math skills!

Of course there is the very simple one of using number stamps to practice, well, numbers...but we can go beyond that too. You can use stamps to:

Pratice patterns: like "dog, cat, dog"

Sorting by color or shape: all of the red tigers here, all of the blue ones go there

Counting: "How many lions are on your page?"

Regardless of which skill you want to practice, stamps are a fantastic tool! Don't have any? Here are some we think are great!

9. Beads

Colorful beads

Beads are a fun way to make necklaces and bracelets, but they are also a great mathematical tool! Naturally, depending on the age of your child you can use bigger or smaller beads. Here are some we think are great regardless of age.

You don't need to explicitly say "let's make patterns with our beads today." Often, if you make a pattern, your child will want to too. You could say, "Oh I used pink then red, then pink, what did you use?" Asking them about their creation lets them express the colors (even shapes) they used. Maybe they didn't make a pattern but they still engaged in math conecepts!

10. Coloring time

Girl sitting next to woman painting

Free art time is a great chance to engage in math because you can't make art without using color. Math covered here could be as simple as:

Color identification: "Wow I really like your picture - what colors did you use?"

Patterns: "Look at the flowers I made - I did blue then orange and then blue"

Counting: "How many dogs did you draw?"

No matter what art you are creating, you will engage in math in some way!

We hope this list gave you some simple ideas to do math with your child without them even knowing it! Have any other ideas? Let us know!

This post contains affiliate links for which Play Connect LLC may earn commission.


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