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Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics - Activities

During summer vacations, on rainy days, while waiting at the doctor's office or on a stroll through the neighborhood, learning never ends. Children can explore some fascinating mathematical possibilities in the world around them every day. For instance, math can be found outdoors in nature: Look for symmetry in leaves; count the number, sizes and kinds of trees on your street; and look at the various shapes and patterns of blooming flowers. Children will be learning math and enjoying it, too! The activities in this section can be done anytime and anywhere.

A Tower of Numbers Preschool

Playing with blocks is fun, but it also can teach basic math skills such as number recognition, counting, identifying patterns, recognizing symmetry and sorting.

What You Need
• Sets of blocks that show both numbers (1-10) and letters (at least A through J)
What to Do
• Give your child the blocks and tell her to sort them so that one sets shows numbers and one set shows letters.
• Tell your child to look at the number blocks and choose the block with the number 1. Then have her build a tower by choosing and placing the remaining number blocks in the correct order. Have her say the name of each number as she places the block.
• Ask your child to build a second tower beside the first using only the letter blocks (beginning with "A") and placing them in order. Have her say the name of each letter as she places the block.
• Let her knock over the towers and scatter the blocks in front of her. Then tell her to use all the blocks to build a really big tower. When it's finished, have her find and point to numbers and letters as you say the names.
• Ask your child to use the blocks to make the following patterns:
• one number, two letters
• one letter, one number, two letters
• A, 5, B, 4, C, 3
• 1, 2, E, F

Count It Out Preschool-Kindergarten

Counting games make developing number sense easy and fun.

What You Need
• A group of 20-25 counters (beads, blocks, plastic eggs, coins), with three or four counters different from the others in some way (for example, red beads in a group of blue beads; dimes in a group of pennies)
• A die
What to Do
• Sit on the floor with your child and arrange the counters in a circle between you. Have her toss the die and say the number that comes up. Tell her to start at any point in the circle-except for one of the counters that is "different"-and count to that number, touching each counter as she goes.
• If she stops on a "regular" counter (a blue bead), she gets to take the counter and have another turn. If she stops on the different counter (the red bead), you get a turn. Leave the different counter in the circle.
• The winner is the player with the most counters when only the different counters remain. Involve the family and expand the game!

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