Tag Archives: math

Roar! More fun with shapes!

Check out Yellow Mum’s super cute dinosaur shapes free printable.  If you want a larger size, she has them for purchase from her etsy shop. Regardless of the size, there’s a ton of ways you could use these guys.

  • make into magnets and use on the refrigerator or for portable fun, a cookie sheet
  • cut them out and glue onto notecards.  Then make a memory/concentration matching game
  • depending on your child’s skill level, practice writing the first sound or shape word
  • match color words to the color of the dinosaurs
  • glue onto posterboard and cover with contact paper.  You’ll have a placemat for fun at dinnertime.

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Filed under 2 Year Olds, 3 Year Olds, 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Activities

Circles, Squares and Rectangles

It seems like if my child doesn’t already know their colors and shapes by the first day of school they will be behind.  Is this true?

Nowadays identifying shapes and colors is something that while not required for entry into Kindergarten it is pretty much expected. Number identification, addition, subtraction, counting to 100, patterning, measurement, and graphing are just a few of the concepts your child will learn this year, and having some prior knowledge about shapes and colors will make learning these concepts a lot easier. Below are the curriculum guidelines for shapes (in Texas). Curriculum guidelines for color don’t even exist. Of course there are many opportunities for students to use color in mathematics, patterning, comparisons, and identifying attributes.

8(C) sort a variety of objects including two- and three-dimensional geometric figures according to their attributes and describe how the objects are sorted
9(A) describe and compare the attributes of real-life objects such as balls, boxes, cans, and cones or models of three-dimensional geometric figures;
9(B) recognize shapes in real-life three-dimensional geometric figures or models of three-dimensional geometric figures; and
9(C) describe, identify, and compare circles, triangles, rectangles, and squares (a special type of rectangle).

While shape identification is most certainly a part of the math curriculum, you see that students will also have to describe and compare three-dimensional shapes in both the real world and with models. This means that any bit of prior knowledge you can give your child concerning shapes will help them with the geometry and spatial reasoning portion of their math.

Know that I know, what can I do?

Shape Walk: Go on a shape walk. Take a walk and point out all the shapes of different objects you see. If you like, take pictures of the objects/shapes you find on your walk. Then print these out and make them into a book.

Color Race: Quirky Momma has a cute idea for a Color Race. Before starting announce the color that you will be looking for during the race. Then turn on some music and have your child collect as many items of that color as they can before the song is over. Then put the items back and pick a new color.

Rainbow Writing; Have your child write their name in all the colors of the rainbow. Be sure to discuss each color as they write.

Read Color Books: Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?, Color Zoo, Little Blue and Little Yellow, A Color of His Own and My Many Colored Days are just a few. Of course you can also just talk about the different colors you see as you read any book.

Sort odds and ends: Gather odds and ends from around the house. Anything will work and then sort them by color, shape or both. Be sure to discuss the different shapes and colors you sort by.

I Spy: Play I Spy the regular way with colors but also change it up and spy different shapes!

Puzzles and Board Games: Look for puzzles or board games that teach shapes and colors. Candyland is an old favorite! Plus these can also teach counting, spatial reasoning, numbers, sequencing and other math concepts, an added bonus!

Feely Bag: Place different objects in a bag. Have your child just feel the object to see if they can determine the shape.

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Filed under 2 Year Olds, 3 Year Olds, 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Activities, Questions

Money, money, money

In Texas your child will not be required to learn money value until First grade, but personally, I don’t think learning it earlier is a problem.  In fact, some districts may still require Kindergarten teachers to at least introduce the concept of money.  In the district where I taught Kindergarten, we would introduce the name and value of each coin.  Amy at Let’s Explore has created a Money Bingo game that I think is so fun!  You can download her game board for free.  She also has some great suggestions for money bedtime stories, if you’re interested.

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Filed under 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Activities

Pencil Cookies- no cookie cutters needed

Cooking is a great educational family activity and the kids don’t even know it.  One simple recipe can help a youngster practice following directions and sequencing, build vocabulary, develop fine motor skills, expose kids to basic science concepts and introduce measurement and other math skills.

So what kid wouldn’t love munching on one of these to get motivated for back to school or as a surprise in his first day lunch?  These could also be a great way to start off the year with the new teacher!  Bag up a few and have your child take them to Meet the Teacher Night.   Visit  Moore Minutes featured on Someday Crafts for the how to.

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Photos and stickers can improve writing, reading and math

Check out the landscape photos from Amy at Let’s Explore.  She and her children used stickers to dress up the photo.

These are super cute and I can think of a few ways to use this idea to incorporate writing, reading and math skills.

  • Take several photo pages and staple them into a book.  Then have your child write (or dictate) a story to go along with the pictures.
  • Make the photo into a postcard and send it to Grandma!
  • Stick them inside a plastic page protector and give your child an erasable marker.  Have them label items in the picture.  Then just erase and it’s ready for another photo page.
  • Have your child find all the words that start with a certain letter.  Depending on their academic level they could just tell these to you orally or make a list.
  • Think up rhyming words for different objects in the photos
  • Have your child describe where objects are using position words.
  • Count objects in the picture.

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Filed under 2 Year Olds, 3 Year Olds, 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Activities


What is C.G.I.?

At some point in your child’s education you will hear the term C.G.I.  No, Kindergarten may have changed drastically from when you were little, but they are not learning how to develop computer generated imagery. We’ll leave that to the experts at Pixar.  Here it means Cognitively Guided Instruction. Whoa!   Okay, to put it simply, it’s another way to teach math.

When you and I were growing up, the teacher likely taught arithmetic in the traditional format with algorithms that couldn’t be altered. You had to demonstrate two digit addition by carrying the one into the tens place, etc. We were forced to make connections to mathematical symbols like +, -, = and so forth before making connections to real world problems. Meaning that we had to learn that 2 + 2 = 4 before we thought about the fact that if I had two Barbies and my friend had two Barbies, that meant we had four Barbies altogether. C.G.I. instead allows kids to connect to their world first and then gradually make the connections to the mathematical symbols when they are developmentally ready.

C.G.I. also requires that the teacher listen to the child verbalize how they solved a math problem and use that information to guide their math instruction. Kids are way smarter than we give them credit for. They can figure out how to solve a multi-step math problem or a multiplication problem.   They may not use formal algorithms but they can solve their problems and explain how they did it!

Still confused? Let me explain how C.G.I. looked in my Kindergarten classroom. The class was given a story problem on a small sheet of paper.


Paul has 3 pieces of candy. James has 5 pieces of candy. How many pieces of candy do they have altogether?

We would paste this problem in our math journals. Then students were given a math toolkit to use to solve this problem if they wished. The beauty of C.G.I. is that students can work at their own developmental level to solve the problem.   Toolkits contain a variety of math manipulatives to help solve the problem, such as unifix cubes, teddy bear counters, bean counters, etc.   Yet, if they didn’t need a concrete visual representation to solve it, they could draw a picture in the journal. As the students were solving the problem, I, as the teacher, would walk around the room helping where needed and identifying student’s strategies. After a set amount of time, I would have several students using a variety of  strategies show their method for solving the problem to the class. This helped them verbalize their thinking and showed other students different ways to solve the problem. At the end, we would write the problem into the formal algorithm.    3 + 5 = 8

There are several types of story problems that your child will learn throughout the year including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Some of these may even require several steps.  Basic addition and subtraction story types include:   Result Unknown 3 + 2 = __    Change Unknown- 3 + ___ = 5 Start Unknown- ___ + 2 = 5

At the beginning of the year, your child’s math time may consist of free exploration time with the math manipulatives. It may seem like playtime but this time is very important. At first, teddy bear counters will seem like toys to five-year-olds. Therefore, the teacher gives them time to basically get the “playing” out of their system. This way when it’s time to actual use these counters as tools in math, your child will have already made patterns, sorted them, made them talk, etc.

Now that I know, what do I do?

Create your own. Make up your own story problems using family members, neighbors and friends. Allow your child to create some as well. Use everyday household items for your child’s math toolkit and be sure to challenge your child with all types of story problems. Don’t get hung up on writing 2 + 2 = 4. It’s important that your child learns this eventually but first give her the chance to explain how she solved a problem in other ways.

Things to consider:

It’s never to early to practice math story problems as these will be on state assessments in years to come.

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Filed under 5 Year Olds, Questions

Peter, Jack, Jill and Little Bo Peep

Are nursery rhymes really that important?

YES! Nursery rhymes really are that important! These silly poems and songs never go out of style. The natural rhythm and pattern of nursery rhymes are appealing to kids and naturally teach the concept of rhyming as well as build the vocabulary of children from infancy on up.  Both are essential skills for learning to read!  Vivid images of Peter’s wife in a pumpkin shell or a lamb at school provide humor and encourage a young child’s imagination. As an added bonus, a great number of nursery rhymes include counting or other basic math skills!

Now that I know, what can I do?

Finger plays. Many nursery rhymes lend themselves to finger plays, which help a child improve their hand-eye coordination and memory skills.  The “Itsy Bitsy Spider,”  “Where is Thumbkin?,” and “This Little Piggy” are just a few examples of well-known nursery rhyme finger plays, but you can also make up your own for some of your child’s favorite nursery rhymes.

Reinforce counting and other math skills. Use nursery rhymes like “Hickory Dickory Dock,” “One, Two Tie My Shoe,” and “This Old Man” to reinforce counting to 10. Many nursery rhymes also teach position words (over, under, behind, etc.), a very important but highly overlooked and often difficult math skill for young children. A great book to check out is Mother Goose Numbers on the Loose by Leo & Diane Dillon. This book uses well known and lesser known nursery rhymes to explore the world of Mother Goose through numbers.

Use them to teach the alphabet. Many nursery rhymes have alliteration in them. “Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater” is a great example to use to teach the letter and sound of “P.” Other nursery rhymes with alliteration include “Wee Willie Winkie,” “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” and “Sing a Song of Sixpence.”

Rhyming. Sing or recite nursery rhymes and discuss the rhyming words. Once your child is familar with a nursery rhyme, try reciting it by leaving out a few of the rhyming words. See if you child can fill in the missing words. For example:

Hey diddle diddle
The cat and the _______ .
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport.
And the dish ran away with the _______.

Draw and write about nursery rhymes. To activate your child’s imagination have them draw a picture of a favorite nursery rhyme.  Then have them point out special details that they drew that may or may not be in the rhyme. Use this illustration to write a story about the characters in the nursery rhyme.   Have your child dictate to you or write a story about what Little Miss Muffett did after that spider or what it would be like to be in a tub with a butcher, baker and candlestick maker.

Act out the nursery rhymes. Use your child’s dress up box or everyday household items to act out the nursery rhymes. Not only does this improve your child’s memorization skills but it also allows your child to learn through play. Puppets, homemade or store bought, would also be a fun way to act out nursery rhymes.

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Filed under 1 Year Olds, 2 Year Olds, 3 Year Olds, 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Infant, Questions