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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Number Sense Fun!

Our 5 year old is up for anything that comes in the form of a game or competition. I use that to my advantage ALL of the time! Our learning time works much more smoothly if we're playing a game. When it comes to math it's usually no work at all to take a learning activity and turn it into some game time fun! Recently we've moved into addition, but we're still constantly reviewing basic number sense concepts and mastery of counting numbers.
Below you'll find descriptions of a few review activities that our son requests often!

For two of the following activities you'll need number cards. We made our own, but you can purchase a ready made set like these: 

Number Shuffle! 

We scramble number cards around on the desk and then use a timer (see my previous post on great timers to use) to see how quickly he can accurately organize the numbers in the correct order. We started this activity with just a few numbers, but have since worked our way up. Once he masters organizing the numbers in 2 minutes (consistently) then we add five additional numbers to the "game".  He is very excited to beat his best time and to master a new set of numbers.

Counting Forward! 

This is a very simple activity that we complete often. I have numbers 0-100 in a jar. Our son mixes them up, closes his eyes, picks a number out of the jar and then counts forward to 100! Sometimes he'll get a number very close to 100 and he giggles with excitement as if he's won. Other times (and it seems more often) he'll get a number less than 50 and will have some serious counting to do! Those are usually the days when he wants me to "play" as well.  It's a great opportunity to introduce and review greater than/less than concepts as well. He often marches as he counts and makes this a physical activity too!

The last activity calls for a number line. Again, we created our own, but this one is on our wishlist as it even includes negative numbers!

Mystery Number! 

Kindergarten standards typically include teaching the position of numbers using the terms before, after, and in-between. There are loads of worksheets available that will allow for practice of this skill, but we wanted to make it more "game" like. We placed a number line on the wall. We take turns creating questions for the other to answer. I will ask a question such as "What number comes after 36?" and he'll answer. Then he'll have to create a question and tell me if I answer correctly. The trick to this is that sometimes I answer incorrectly to be sure that he is thinking through the problem himself. He's corrected me with no problems so far. At times he still confuses before and after so we incorporated some visual posters that illustrate the concept of before, after, and in-between.

So far these simple activities have proven fun and engaging for reviewing these number sense concepts.  What number sense concepts do you turn into learning fun?

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