Need math activities for 5yo--but nothing involving writing - Mothering Forums

Old 11-29-2009, 12:32 AM - Thread Starter

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DD is fascinated with math right now and really interested in all the patterns she's observing. We've been doing a lot of dividing by two and she's intuitively getting the idea of multiplication. She does not want to do ANYthing on paper, though--she wants it all to be spoken/in her head. Any ideas on games we can play? I really do not like math (am concealing this from DD well!) and my brain doesn't really work this way, but she's always asking me to "play math" and I need more ideas.

Though she seems to have a great natural number sense, she still does not have much memorized other than addition facts to 10 and is shaky on subtraction (yet she can tell me what half of 56 is--no, I don't get it either).

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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Old 11-29-2009, 01:14 AM

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It sounds like she's mostly interested in arithmetic right now, so I'll focus on that. (There's tons more to math at this age, like measuring, comparing, predicting, transformations of shapes, patterns, sequencing, logic and strategizing. But you're probably doing a lot of that without even trying.)

Back to arithmetic. My now-6yo used to make me play math guessing games with her for ages in the minivan.

At first we did a lot of "Guess my number." I'd think of a number and she'd have to make guesses, getting feedback whether her guess was "too big" or "too small". She learned to deal with bigger and bigger numbers, to remember the limits her guesses had defined, and to make efficient strategic guesses (like, if it's smaller than 100, don't ask if it's 99, ask if it's 50).

She'd play this back to me. So she'd have to compare the number in her head repeatedly with the number I guessed and tell me which was bigger / smaller.

Then we started with "I'm thinking of a number ... " and then I'd give a clue or two.

"I'm thinking of a number that goes with 4 to make 9."
"I'm thinking of a number that if you multiply it by 4 you get 28."
"I'm thinking of a number that's one more than half of 14."

This game really became her math 'curriculum.' I could lead her towards discoveries by asking questions that interested her that moved in new directions. Like ...

"I'm thinking of a number that's half of 8."
"I'm thinking of a number that's half of 10."
"I'm thinking of a number that's half of 9."

Or ...

"I'm thinking of a number that's 2 doubled."
"I'm thinking of a number that's 20 doubled."
"I'm thinking of a number that's 200 doubled."
"I'm thinking of a number that's 2 googols doubled."

Or ...

"I'm thinking of a number that's 4 doubled."
"I'm thinking of a number that's negative 4 doubled."

Sometimes she could follow the pattern to the new discovery; often she couldn't but she was so curious about how that would work that she asked probing questions and wouldn't stop until she understood it.

We continue to play this game from time to time, though now it involves algebraic type thinking, square roots, powers and negative numbers.

Fun basic arithmetic games -- Crazy 8's, dominoes, farkle, Shut the Box, Monopoly Jr..

Miranda

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Old 11-29-2009, 01:40 AM

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Card games--black jack, gin, poker. Dominos. Board games--Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Candyland. Just about any board, card, or dice game teaches and uses math concepts. Sequencing, adding, subtracting, counting forwards and backwards.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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Old 11-29-2009, 02:18 AM
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There are a lot of good suggestions in the posts before mine. You could also get her some cuisenaire rods to play with. Games with dice are good for addition. She could do flashcards with math facts if she's a flashcard enthusiast (some kids are, some aren't.)

If you take all the face cards out of a deck of cards, you can play Go Fish by looking for sets of cards that add up to ten, instead of looking for pairs. When she's ready to get more advanced, you can try to use the cards to make equations.
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Old 11-29-2009, 02:23 AM

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When my kids were little, they learned a lot of math from card games, like black jack, rummy, but the all time favorite was Yahtzee. Well I take that back my youngest son loved black jack, and now at 29, he plays and wins alot of the time in Las Vegas on his yearly vacation. He has always called it a life skill. I always ask myself, as a mom , should I be proud of this accomplishment? (LOL)
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter

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"I'm thinking of a number" is perfect-exactly what she likes to do.

I will try card games. We had a War and Uno craze but she's lost interest. Maybe a new game will do it, although I don't remember any of those games except for blackjack! It's also quite hard to sit down to a card game with her little 2yo brother always about (he naps while she's at school, alas).

What do kids do with those cuisenaire rods? I've looked at them but wasn't quite sure about them.

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Old 11-29-2009, 12:35 PM

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This may be too young, but it worked well for us.

We taught our sons to do simple addition and subtraction using Uno cards and pennies. The Uno cards have big bright numbers on them. We put two cards down and then count out the right number of pennies for each number on the cards. Then we put them into one pile and count them again.

Example: take a "3" card and a "4" card. Put them down and say "Let's find out how much '3" and '4' are together." Count out three pennies for the "3" card. Count out three pennies for the "4" card. Then put the pennies together in one pile. Then count them. Say "'3' and '4' added together make seven.""

You do a similar game with subtraction and one Uno card.

The kids learned their multiplication facts via Schoolhouse Rock.

We used some workbooks that we bought at Barnes and Noble to practice longer addition and subtraction problems.

DS1 learned division at school. They taught them a lot of factoring first and then taught them long division.
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter

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Is there a subtraction song in Schoolhouse Rock? It would help us move on to some more advanced stuff if she had her subtraction facts down (addition facts to 10 and sort of to 20 are down).

She does not like flashcards or workbooks or anything that appears too "schooly." She actually needs to work on writing numbers, but that's another activity (and one she does not like that much). Her handwriting is okay but she finds paper activities laborious (common problem, I know).

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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Old 11-29-2009, 12:51 PM

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Not sure if anyone mentioned these games, Double Shutter (junior or regular version) and the board game Flip 4.

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Old 11-29-2009, 12:52 PM

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Here's a couple of ideas:

SMATH

here's what it looks like closeup: Smath it's like a math version of scrabble

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Old 11-29-2009, 01:03 PM

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Any activity involving timing. Get a stop watch - how long does it take her to run from one side of the yard to another. If she runs it three times which is her fastest time. What is the difference between the shortest and fastest times? How about hopping across the yard on one foot?

Hopscotch - drawn in sidewalk chalk - roll a die to determine where to hop to. Make it more difficult two dice -add to get your goal, only jump to the bigger number, subtract small number from big number, etc.

Toy Population census. What percentage of her teddy bears have brown fur? What percentage of the Playmobil people are men? etc. This can be milked for a whole afternoon of activity. You can put the results on excel and having draw pie charts.

Board games - Yahtzee especially.

Also check out Peggy Kaye's Games for Math. Check the library or buy a cheap copy. She's got tons of great ideas.

ETA: For some reason we found in the early years that whenever an activity was disliked because of handwriting, it was magically transformed by changing the scale of the activity. So, if you try something like the population census idea, you might want to try taping a poster board to the wall and see if she wants to make has marks in columns on a big scale like that.
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:17 PM

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We do one where you put a collection of things in your hand (we've been using pennies and only going up to 5) and then you hide some of the ones in your hand in your other hand, and ask the kid "how many are in my fist?" based on what they can see in your palm.

you could do it with more than 5 using a cup for the hidden ones and a space on the table for the visible ones.
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:59 PM

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I like books from Critical Thinking Co. (www.criticalthinking.com)

They have some really good books by grade level that aren't just workbooks. We use them to supplement her school learning at home.
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:14 PM

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My son LOVED bean salad at that age. All you need is 3 types of driend beans and a bowl or 2. Here are a few examples but the combo's are endless

2 white beans
twice as many red beans as white beans
10 beans in all

4 black beans
1/2 as many red beans as black beans
10 beans in all

He also loved something as simple as playing with dice. Playing High/low (who got the highest number/who got the lowest. Dice math challenge. Who can add/muliply/subtract/divide the die the fastet. You can do the same with dominos.

Do you have a change jar or a penny jar? Great for learning how to count by 2's, 5's. 10's etc. For learning basic currency. What is is more- 1 nickel or 4 pennies? If I have 2 nickels and 5 pennies how much do I have? this was even nore fun when he would assign prices to his toys for my to buy and then he would have to make change.

Do you play monopoly at all? We realized our son was gifted in math when he was the banker at 5, making advanced change, calculating luxury tax and hotel fees!

Pardon me while IÂ

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Old 11-29-2009, 05:59 PM

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Old 11-29-2009, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter

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"I'm thinking of a number" was a HUGE hit at the dinner table!

We also did some stuff with coins this afternoon. She counted out her pennies and traded them in for quarters. I had her make piles of 5 pennies and count piles for a nice concrete example of multiplication.

I should totally get a stopwatch, as we have also been working on the idea of "competing against your own best effort" (DD is physically slow and her best friend is very fast, leading to sadness for her when they compete).

Just put Shut the Box on her Xmas list. I know she would like that.

I have never even played Yahtzee. I really do not like math! But, actually, seeing DD be so naturally excited by it makes me see it in a new way. The patterns ARE neat.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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Old 11-29-2009, 10:19 PM

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Old 11-30-2009, 04:17 AM

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We enjoy our abacus--it can be used to help with census or counting games when you do not wish to write down the numbers. Ikea sells a 10 X 10 abacus for a very reasonable price.
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:46 AM

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We love, love, love pattern/parquetry blocks for that age, especially the kind that come with the paper cards you can place the blocks upon.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:36 AM

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Your daughter sounds a lot like my son! He's older now but is similar in where his talents and interests are. Here are some things that I, as a non-math person, had success:

Cooking together--let her do the measurement.
Checkers (my mathy kid loves the planning ahead and the rules)
My son insisted on recording his morning dressing times in a spreadsheet.
Also, make sure you have a regular clock with numbers
Origami--at first you will be doing all the folding, but she'll learn how

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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Old 11-30-2009, 01:18 PM

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No subtraction song in Schoolhouse Rock. The math songs are all about multiplication.
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:36 PM

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I highly recommend the books Games for Math and Family Math. They'll have just what you're looking for.

We play "What did I do?", where you put some beads or beans or other small objects in your hand, show the child, and then make a change while their eyes are closed. Then they work backward: "You had nine and now there are only four, so you took five away." This works nicely if you take turns so that they also get to try to stump you.

If she likes active games, you can tape numbers to the floor in a random arrangement and have her jump to the answer of a math problem. Again, taking turns being the one to give orders makes this more fun.

My daughter loves card games, so we play a lot of them. We play "War" with a deck of Disney Princess playing cards that have no face cards - just the numbers 1-10. That lends itself to a lot of math variations, such as Adding War (play two cards each, and whoever has the higher total wins all the cards) and Subtracting War (subtract the smaller from the larger, and whoever has the larger difference wins).

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Old 11-30-2009, 04:50 PM

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This is quite a fun little board game (Balloon Cup):

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/5716

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