Math is one of those subjects that can easily be filled with worksheets and seat work.
Over the last three years of homeschooling, I found out through many tearful math lessons that my son was going to have none of it.
He is a highly kinesthetic learner and always full of energy. We have found a lot ways to do school that don’t include sitting at a desk, like running around the house every 15 minutes.
And while that works to get the energy out, it doesn’t address the need to be teaching math from the way he learns best, which is through movement.
Here are a few math games we have come up with to combine math and movement.
Target Math Practice
Math facts with nerf guns is awesome fun. My son gives this game his 10-year old, kinesthetic learning style stamp of approval.
So far I’ve only made the multiplication version. I put all the facts for each number 1-12 on a single sheet in and around a target, using a mix of answers and problems. I slip it into a plastic sheet cover to help it stand up to the bullets and then tape it up to a wall or a door.
Make sure there is plenty of room between where you tape it up and where your child stands because those bullets ricochet pretty far. It is a great game to play outside. Just make sure that there is something solid behind the paper or it will bend and move with the shots.
Once the target is up, I call out the opposite of what’s on the sheet. For example, if I call out 7×6 my son calls out and shoots at 42. If I call out 21 my son calls out and shoots at 7×3.
You can also tape up several sheets at a time and go until you’ve called out all the facts.
My son also plays this by himself. He looks at the target and calls out the opposite fact before shooting at it.
You can download the game by subscribing and gaining access to our FREE Resource Library. The download includes one set with a red bullseye and one black and white version.
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Math Stomp is a game my son and I came up with last year. He was reviewing multiplication facts and got up from where we were sitting and started jumping around to get rid of some energy. I quickly wrote down some of our math facts on colored construction paper and started calling them out so he could stomp on the answers. He loved it.
Here’s our rules of play:
First, you need to write out your math facts or just use a set of large flashcards. Make sure the numbers are large and easily seen.
Next, space the cards out on the floor and call out a problem and have your child jump to and stomp on the correct answer.
Place them with either side facing up. And, call out the opposite of what is facing up on the card. So, if 4×3 is facing up, I call out 12 and vice versa. This makes every game a little different and my son is able to practice his facts both ways.
This is great for drilling math facts. Set out flashcards on stairs in ascending order, easiest to hardest. You could also just set the cards out in a hallway and let them move along that way if you don’t have stairs.
To “climb the mountain” they have to get the problem right on the step they’re on to move to the next.
I would suggest putting at least two cards on each step, so they can choose which fact to answer. This also allows another option if they answer the first problem incorrectly.
For a variation, you could also add in the rule that they have to go back one stair if they answer incorrectly. If you do send them back, have them answer a different problem to move on again.
This activity combines geometry and movement. Write down some 2-d and 3-d shapes on cards. Turn the cards face down and while standing, have your child draw one and try to make the shape with their body. Your job is to guess what he is. You can take turns and do it with them or just let your child do all the bending and body shape building.
You can add elements like timing the attempts, only allowing a certain number of guesses per shape, or keeping score.
I made a simple shape card set you can download by subscribing here. There is also a blank sheet you can add your own shapes or challenges to. Below is the first page.
Swinging Number Sense
This game is played by calling out a number as your kid is swinging. You try to do it in rhythm to their back and forth motion on the swing.
For skip counting, you would tell your child that you’re going to skip count by 5’s, 10’s or any other number by calling one out and having your child answer with the next number in the series. So for skip counting by 5’s, you would call out 5 as your child swings forward. When they swing back it’s their turn and they call out the next number in the series.
Play continues until your child gets stumped then you start a new game. To really challenge your kids, try starting from many different numbers, not just 5 or 10.
For an addition version it would go like this: Your child swings back and calls out any number, for example they choose 2. When he swings forward you respond with plus 4 or any other number you choose. He swings back again and answers 6 and so on.
Try this with subtraction or multiplication too, for older kids
For younger kids, this game is a great way to practice counting in sequential order.
Try these games with all types of learners.
I came up with these games to help my high energy kinesthetic learner but, they are great for any kind of learner. They are an easy way to make learning fun and break the monotony of worksheets and seat work.
I pray these ideas bless your family and your homeschool this year.
Thanks for reading,
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