What You Need:
- 23 popsicle sticks
- kitchen timer
- crayons or markers
- construction paper
- child safety scissors
- 2 Ziploc bags
What You Do:
Label Sticks. Have your child hold each stick vertically and label it with one number, going from 1-20. Use the remaining three sticks to write a plus, minus, and equals sign (+, -, =) using crayons or markers.
Build an equation. Start with addition. Help your child make problems by using the popsicle sticks and having her hold up the answers. ( Ex. 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 1+3=4, etc.) Later, using the same popsicle sticks she already labeled, you can have your child practice making subtraction facts and holding up the answers.
If you like, add a challenge. Set a kitchen timer, for example, and see if your child can answer each problem correctly in three seconds or less. Or have your child write a list of problems and keep a “scorecard” of correct equations which you can mark with a happy face or star.
Moving forward, you can also extend the activity by having your child make flashcards using construction paper, child safety scissors, and crayons or markers. She should write one number per card, and make separate cards for plus, minus, and equals signs. Then, she can make addition and subtraction problems using the cards and holding up the answers the same way she did with the popsicle sticks. When you’re done, you can save both the popsicle sticks and the flashcards in ziploc bags—they’re a great game to pull out over snacks, in the car, or even when you’re sitting in the dentist office.
Math is all around us; and with your help, it will be safely inside your kid’s head for the long haul, too.