I'm a big fan of taking math off of papers and into the world, especially when we are young and math is easily manipulated. There are plenty of rainy days and days when I am distracted and we grab a worksheets and do some paper math.
But last week we didn't want to go inside. We planted peas and ate lunch on the lawn. I knew we needed some math game and I idly flipped through my kindergarten book from Everyday Math. I figured we'd play outside until I had found a good game for us and then we would head in to the table.
I found a number line game and realized that we could play outside and get both ages engaged in math play.
I drew a big, 10 space number line (game board) with the last vestiges of sidewalk chalk I managed to find. Sister-Bug was the “mover”, I was the “die” (we could have used a real die but to start I wanted to call out the moves), Brother-Bug was the “player”, telling the mover where to go.
Sister-Bug started on 0. I asked Brother-Bug to add 3 and tell her where to go. We did this for about 20 minutes. I would ask Brother-Bug to add or subtract, he would work it out, and we would both help Sister-Bug identify the number she needed to move to.
Sister-Bug got a good dose of her math work right now – touch counting and identifying numbers.
Brother-Bug got plenty of work in basic addition and subtraction.
Everyone got plenty of fresh air and sunshine (yes, Sister-Bug is doing her schoolwork in her undies) and while they knew it was a math game, it was much more fun than sitting around “doing math work” at the table. They got their bodies into it. Afterward we played hopscotch (more outside math!).
We can keep making the game board longer and changing up the rules as we grow and learn. We can use dice, all forms of arithmetic, have races, goodness knows what all will occur to us.
How could we add or subtract to our game? What would you do to change it up?