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How to Teach Math to Kids with Games and Activities

Updated on October 14, 2014

Homeschool Math Activities to Help Your Child Learn

There are some fun ways to teach math to kids without paper and pencils. Games and activities help children apply math to daily living. Games and activities are also helpful for visual and hands-on learners. Below are mathematical concepts arranged by level of readiness, rather than grade. This is intended to be an outline of overall math skills that a child will hope to master. Each skill links to a detailed explanation of how to teach those skills. Follow along with me, as I add to this outline each step of the way on our homeschooling journey.

Prenumber Concepts

How to Teach Prenumber Math Concepts to Kids

There are concepts in mathematics that must precede numbers. You can't expect a child to count all the red blocks until they can identify the color red, for example. These concepts are typically taught to children at the preschool through kindergarten. However, all children learn at different speeds. Introduce these prenumber math games and activities to kids at a young age. If they do not seem interested in learning prenumber concepts, don't rush them. Keep the learning games and activities light and they will progress through them in their own time.

Left, Right and In Between

Big and Little or Large and Small

Before and After

Top, Middle and Bottom

More and Less

Same and Different

Matching Objects that are the Same

Sort by Color

Sort by Size

Sort by Shape

The games and activities used above to sort by color, size and shape can also be used to sort items into groups by weight, texture, temperature, sound, category (for example, fruit and vegetable.) Practicing these activities frequently in daily life will prepare kids to do well in math later.

One to One Correspondence
One to One Correspondence

How to Teach Number Sense

Teaching Number Sense to Kids at Home with Games and Activities

These math concepts are generally learned at the Kindergarten level and after the prenumber concepts above seem to be understood.

*Counting Orally from 1 to 10 (Ability to verbally count without assigning meaning to an object) - This is best accomplished with songs about counting to 10, "One little, two little, three little, ladybugs, four little..." In addition to having the child practice often by singing, let them hear you counting daily. Repetition is the key to counting orally!

*Conservation of Number (A group of 5 things covering a small area and a group of 5 things covering a large are equal in number.)

*One to One Correspondence (Counting objects accurately)

*Counting with Meaning 1 to 10

*Cardinality (Final number counted is the total number of objects)

*Concept of Zero or None

*Counting Numbers 11-20

*Counting Numbers 21-30

*Visual Spotting

Sorting Toys from Amazon

Toys to sort by shape and size from Amazon.

Work In Progress

This directory of math games is a work in progress. Please check back for more games in the future.

How to Teach Recognition of Numerals

How to Teach Number Recognition

Matching Numerals

Match Numbers with Corresponding Groups of Items

Recognize the numbers 11-19

Recognize the numbers 20-29

Begin to apply the pattern to 30-39, 40-49, etc.

Recognize numbers 39-100

Use a calculator

Expanding Counting Skills

Rote Count 1 to 100

Use a Number Line

Count Forward from any Number (not just 1).

Using a Number Line to Identify One More and One Less

Determine Which Number is Larger on a Number Line

Skip Counting by 2's

Skip Counting by 10's

Skip Counting by 5's

Counting on

Counting Backwards

Place Value

Ones and Tens

Grouping Items in 10's and Counting in 10's

Place Value of numbers up to 100

Understanding 100's

Writing Numbers

Drawing Shapes, such as Lines and Circles

Learn to Write Numbers with the Handwriting Without Tears Program

Ordering and Comparing Numbers

First, Last, Between

Ordering Numbers



Adding 2 groups by counting on from the last number of the 1st group

Understanding that Adding is Putting 2 Numbers Together

Understanding that the order of Numbers Does Not Change the Outcome When Adding

Addition Practice

Memorizing Addition Facts

Learning Which Pairs of Numbers Have a Result of 10 in Addition

Using Addition

Adding Larger Numbers

Adding in Story Problems

Writing Number Setences

Using Tally Marks


Learning the Concept of Subtraction

Learning that the Bigger Number Comes First

Play the Take Away Game

Subtracting Like Units

Linking Addition and Subtraction

Using a Calculator to Subtract

Using Subraction

Identifying which Group has More and How Many More

Using Subtraction to See if an Item Can be Purchased

Calculate Change at the Store

Deciding whether to Use Addition or Subtraction to Solve a Story Problem

Deciding whether to Use Addition or Subtraction in Daily Living

Using a Calculator for Subtraction


Name the Days of the Week in Order

Use a Calendar

Identify Months, Holidays and Seasons

Use a Daily Schedule

Tell Time by the Hour

Tell Time by the Half Hour

Tell Time by the Quarter Hour


Ordering Objects by Length

Comparing Lengths to Familiar Objects

Measuring with a Ruler

Learn that Liquid Volume Remains the Same Despite the Shape of the Container

Compare Units of Measure Such as Pints, Quarts, Gallons, and Liters

Understand the Concept of Weight and Guess Which Object is Heavier

Read a Thermometer

Shapes and Patterns

Identify Shapes such as Circle, Triangle, Square, and Rectangle

Identify that Everyday Objects are Similar to These Shapes

Identify a Ball, Box and Sphere

Identify that Everyday Objects are Similar to Balls, Boxes, and Spheres

Recognize Repeating Patterns of Numbers


Identify $1, $5, $10 and $20 Bills

Match the Bills to Items You Want to Buy

Skip Count Currency

Understanding Paying and Receiving Change

Understanding Cents

Understanding How to Read Dollars and Cents

Rounding to the Next Dollar

Using the Next Dollar Strategy to Pay for Items at the Store

Using Money to Buy More than One Item

Comments about Teaching Math to Kids with Games and Activities

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    • profile image

      PaighLoyd 3 years ago

      Repeating the numbers through a song is really true and effective. When they enjoy what they doing basically they are likely do it repetitively and familiarize the lessons even unconsciously. I do this with my kids and it seems to be fun and enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      Excellent lens. I like that you are adding more games as time goes by. I always loved math as a kid and it had helped me in my everyday work and home life. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great idea....