According to a study by David Geary, Curators Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri, “Once students fall behind, it’s almost impossible to get them back on track. We wanted to identify the beginning of school knowledge needed to learn math over the next five years. We found that understanding numbers and quantity is a necessary foundation for success as the student progresses to more complex math topics. In order to improve basic instruction, we have to know what to instruct. These are the factors that make a difference in the first-grade above and beyond intelligence and other abilities.”
We hope that some of the suggestions below will assist you in selecting activities for your children that will build basic math foundations for a lifetime of successful learning!
Greater Than or Less Than? – Great than or Less than
The greater than or less than game is a fun way for children to identify whether one group of objects is greater than or less than the number of objects in another group.
Materials needed: One game file (linked above) per student, one die, any counters (we used chicks just because we found them on sale after Easter), and Wikki Stix.
Print the game file for each child. Have the children roll a die and count the number of dots. The children should then place the corresponding number of counters in the first box on the game page. The die should be rolled a second time to determine the number of counters to place in the second box. For larger numbers, more dice can be rolled.
As the children look at each of the two boxes of counters, they must determine if the first box of counters is GREATER than or LESS than the second box. For younger children, play the game with an adult the first few times. HINT: it is helpful for the children to make tally marks with the Wikki Stix to determine if the first box has more counters or less counters than the second box (see photo above).
The children can then form a greater than > or less than < sign from the Wikki Stix and place it between the two boxes of counters.
Helping preschoolers and kindergartners understand that there are relationships between numbers and specific quantities will assist them in forming important math connections!
The Tally Mark Rhyme – The Tally Mark Rhyme
Teaching with rhyme is a powerful learning tool for young kids! Combining rhyme with a hands-on sensory tool will help cement the tally mark concept for years to come.
Materials needed: One tally marks rhyme file (linked above) for each student, scissors, and assorted Wikki Stix.
Print The Tally Mark Rhyme for each of your children. Say the rhyme and demonstrate for the children how to make a set of tally marks. Practice the rhyme with your children as they make their own tally marks. The Wikki Stix are easily cut into pieces with safety scissors, but younger children will need assistance.
Tally Marks are a fun way for children to practice counting up by ones and skip counting by 5’s.
Our math post at Abcteach offers many activities and games that will help introduce basic math concepts to young children:
- Creating 10 bars with Wikki Stix and Pony Beads
- Kites Roll, Count, and Color Free Printable
- +1 or -1 Game for Young Children
- Skip Counting Suggestions
- Odd/Even Recognition
We hope your children will enjoy learning and playing with math. By offering early math “stepping stones,” our children will have the opportunities for future success!