Welcome to our Kindergarten Readiness blog series, a 5-part series that covers the most important kindergarten readiness topics. This week’s topic is all about Math Readiness for Kindergarten.
KINDERGARTEN READINESS TOPICS
Check out the other topics in this Kindergarten Readiness blog series:
- Kindergarten Readiness Overview
- Language & Literacy
- Math (You are here)
- Social Emotional
- Approaches to Learning
- Parent Readiness
You can also check out my Kindergarten Readiness eBook for a printable version of this information.
KINDERGARTEN READINESS: MATH
Your heart is racing. Your palms are sweaty. It’s almost your turn to answer a math problem in class, but you have no idea what the answer will be and you’re starting to panic…
Has that ever happened to you?
That used to happen to me ALL THE TIME in math class when I was in school.
The truth is I hated math and it’s still not my favorite subject…and when my daughter has math homework, I usually send her to her dad for help!
I know I’m not alone in feeling that way!
Math can feel overwhelming and scary, but I’m determined to change math’s reputation, starting with our preschoolers!
In the early years, we can make math fun, accessible, and hands-on, and we can make sure our kids enter kindergarten ready to build on the most important math foundational skills.
In order to determine which skills our little ones need at the beginning of kindergarten, we first need to look at which skills they need when they leave pre-k.
Check out this post to see all of the goals little ones should accomplish before leaving pre-k.
There are many Math goals for our pre-k students, but they can be grouped into 5 main categories:
- Number Sense
- Data Analysis & Probability
I’ll briefly explain each category and share tips for how you can work on these skills with your little one.
But before we get started, I just wanted to remind you that I’m a huge advocate of PLAY!
I’m not suggesting you use flashcards, worksheets, rote memorization, or other boring activities to work on these skills.
I believe kids learn best through hands-on, multisensory PLAYful experiences, which is what I create & sell in my shop and share about on my blog.
All of these skills we’re about to go over can be learned through play!
And one more thing..the ideas below are not an exhaustive list. These are just a few ideas to get you started. If you want more activity ideas you can use at home, check these out.
1. NUMBER SENSE
Number Sense is the area that gets the most attention in preschool because it’s a BIG one! Number sense is having a deep and thorough understanding of numbers and how they work in relationship to one another.
The pre-k exit goals related to number sense include:
- Rote counts to 10 and beyond
- Identifies numeral 0 to 10 & beyond
- Uses a variety of materials to form numerals
- Compares 2 sets of objects using greater than, less than, & equal to
- Identifies quantities of 3-5 by subitizing
- Matches numerals to quantities using manipulatives
- Demonstrates rational counting & cardinality up to 10
- Demonstrates one-to-one correspondence
- Understands that adding increases the number in a group (addition)
- Understands that taking away decreases the number in a group (subtraction)
- Differentiates between numbers and letters
Here are some ways you can build your preschooler’s number sense:
- Draw circles on a big sheet of paper and write numbers inside each circle. Have your little one roll a dice and color in the matching circle.
- Print the FREE Number Cards from our Free Activity Library. Hide them in a sensory bin. Then have your little one pull out two cards to make an addition problem.
- Using playing cards, you & your little one will each choose a card. Ask them which number is bigger. Whoever has the bigger number gets to keep both cards.
- Using half sheets of paper, write one number per half (very large). Have your little one use stickers or do-a-dot markers to make the shape of the number.
- Write numbers 0-10 on a large piece of paper, but leave some numbers out. Have your little one add those numbers in.
- Write numbers 0-10 in sidewalk chalk outside. Have your little one jump to the number you call out, then either smash that number with a water balloon or use a spray bottle to erase the chalk.
- Get outside with a bucket of water. Have your little one roll a dice and scoop that many cups of water into a separate container.
Out of all of my math classes, Algebra was actually my favorite (well, the one I hated the least!)
Our preschoolers can learn algebraic thinking even at this age since it’s related to spatial relationships and patterns.
The pre-k exit goals related to algebra include:
- Recognizes, duplicates, & fixes patterns
- Extends & creates own patterns
- Compares objects
- Uses & responds to spatial language
- Sorts objects by similarities
Here are some ways you can build your preschooler’s number sense:
- Have your little one make colorful patterns out of pom poms, legos, gems, or snacks (start with AB & ABC patterns, then add in more complicated ones like AAB, ABB, ABBCC, etc.)
- Draw a circle for a sun. Have your little one make patterns out of the sun’s rays, alternating between yellow and orange.
- Play Simon Says with your little one and a stuffed animal. Give commands such as, “Simon says put your stuffed animal on top of your head. Simon says put your stuffed animal behind your back.”
- Gather a group of toys. Have your little one sort the toys into different groups and explain their reasoning to you.
Oh Geometry…I find that people usually prefer either algebra or geometry, and I definitely preferred algebra.
Geometry was my least favorite class in school, and I’m determined to change that for my students and my own kids at home!
Geometry is all about shapes and lines and their relationships in space.
The pre-k exit goals related to geometry include:
- Knows & creates basic 2D and 3D shapes
Here are some ways you can build your preschooler’s geometry skills:
- Print the FREE 2D shape download from our Free Activity Library to review shapes. Tape them to the wall, and have your little one toss a beanbag at the shape you call out.
- You can also use those cards to play Shape Memory or Go Fish.
- Make 2D shapes out of marshmallows and toothpicks, or form each shape out of play dough.
- Have your little one find objects around the house that match different shapes.
- Go on a shape scavenger hunt outside
Measurement is all about recognizing and defining the size or amount of something. Preschoolers LOVE to measure, and this is the perfect area of math for hands-on learning.
The pre-k exit goals related to measurement include:
- Uses standard & nonstandard units of measurement
Here are some ways you can build your preschooler’s measurement skills:
- Choose 5 toys. Have your little one measure each one with a ruler. Then have them put the toys in order from tallest to shortest.
- Gather 5 different-sized books. Have your little one put them in order from smallest to biggest.
- Have your little one measure their favorite stuffed animal using paperclips. Then have them measure it using their foot. Talk about how the two answers are different.
- Have your little one help you bake something in the kitchen. Baking is a wonderful way to practice measurement.
5. DATA ANALYSIS & PROBABILITY
Now you might be thinking, “Preschoolers can do Data Analysis and Probability?” And the answer is YES, they can!
In preschool, data analysis & probability is all about graphing, which is such a fun skill for our little ones to master.
The pre-k exit goals related to data analysis & probability include:
- Asks questions to gather data
- Displays data & answers questions about it
Here are some ways you can build your preschooler’s data analysis & probability skills:
- Have your little one keep track of the weather each day & record it on a bar graph. (This is included in my Monthly Learning Binders).
- Have your little one keep track of their feelings each day & record it on a tally chart. (This is also included in my Monthly Learning Binders).
- Have your little one ask friends & family their favorite season, fruit, vegetable, candy, ice cream, or anything else you can think of! Then show the results on a bar graph.
- Ask your little one questions about their bar graphs or tally charts (ex: Which had the most? Which had the least?)
KINDERGARTEN READINESS E-BOOK
Would you rather have this information as a PDF download so you don’t have to navigate to all the different pages on my website? Check out my Kindergarten Readiness eBook and save yourself time!
You can also watch a video overview of this eBook on my YouTube channel.
If these math kindergarten readiness tips are helpful to you, let me know! You can comment below or find me on Instagram (@littleslovelearningblog).
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