Math games can be played any time anywhere. Here are some ideas for each day of the week. These games require very little, if any, advance prep. Give them and feel free to change them to make math more interesting for your children.
December 5 – Rhythm is Math
Does your child love drumming? Have a drum circle and come up with simple drumming sequences for him to repeat. No drums? No problem. Pots and kitchen utensils will do nicely or, for a quieter version, cardboard boxes and paint stirrers.
December 6 – Mathematical Poetry
You can find some mathematical rhymes, but why not write your own math-y poems? Does it sound intimidating? Then start with a cinquain. It has a prescribed form, but does not require you to count syllables which can be confusing to younger children. But cinquain’s structure allows even very young children be involved in the writing process, not to mention illustrating the completed poem.
December 7 – Winter Weather Day
Sure, you can play a game of matching mittens and socks. Or you can explore geometry with some mini-marshmallows and toothpicks.
December 8 – Evergreens are Everywhere
By now there’s a Christmas tree bazaar on every corner. Why not use this opportunity to practice some measuring? What can a tree be measured with? Can it be measured with a paper clip? How about a mitten and arm length? Find the smallest tree on the lot and measure its height, say, with a mitten. Now find a tree a bit taller and see if your child can estimate how tall this tree is in mittens?
If there is a Christmas tree farm nearby that you can visit, you can play a game of gradients, finding taller and taller (or shorter and shorter) trees and taking pictures of your child next to them. Then print the pictures and ask your child to arrange the trees from shortest to tallest.
December 9 – Pinecone Fibonacci
Go on a walk and collect some pine cones of different sizes. Let your child explore the pine cones. How are the pine cones alike? Show the whirls on the bottom of the pine cones. Your child might be interested in painting the whirls different colors or making pine cone prints with them.
December 10 – Start a Collection
Does your child have a collection? What does she collect? What other people collect? Can you have a collection with one item? Two items? Play a scavenger hunt in the house looking for items that can be grouped together into collections. Photograph or otherwise record your finds.
December 11 – Dicewalk
The idea is simple – walk around the neighborhood and every time you get to an intersection, throw a dice to decide which way to go. For detailed instructions, including how to make the dice, check out The Artful Parent Dicewalking blog post. If your kids are too young to walk a lot or you don’t live in a walkable neighborhood, you can play this game in the yard or even indoors. How about making a very simple map of your neighborhood (or your living room) and mapping the route while you’re at it?