Four year olds are little sponges when it comes to learning. With one year to go before your child starts kindergarten, many parents wonder what math skills their child will need and how they can work on those math skills at home.
Of course daily living provides many opportunities for math, even folding socks. How many socks are in a pair? How many pairs of socks are Daddy’s? Whose pile has the most pairs of socks?
In addition to making math part of your daily activities there are several simple and fun math games that you can play at home or in a preschool with four year olds. All of these games can be played using a deck of “Go Fish” cards but the games are varied, fun, hands on and even active.
Standards for kindergarten math under “numbers and numbers sense” include recognizing numbers, counting with one to one correspondence and understanding more, less or the same. Math games with Go Fish cards will reinforce identifying numbers, counting sets up to four, and understanding more or less.
Traditional Go Fish: Remember this?
Everyone is probably familiar with traditional Go Fish games but here’s a refresher if needed. Go Fish usually includes passing out 7 cards to each player. Each player will in turn ask the next “Do you have any fours (or whatever number they have chose)? A player can only ask for a card they hold and all cards held must be handed over if asked for. If a player does not have the card asked for, the next player will reply, “go fish.” The asker will then draw a card from the deck and if they draw what they asked for they can go again. If not the game moves on. Whenever a player has gathered four matching numbers they can put down a match. The first player to unload all of their cards wins.
Sounds simple right? Until you try to play it with your four year old. Here are some variations to play with beginners or younger children until they get the hang of it.
Easier Variations: It can be done and it can be fun!
Hand out only 5 or even 4 cards per person at first.
Go through the deck and take out only the 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 cards for one game and the use only the 6, 7, 8 and 9 cards for another. You can personalize by choosing numbers you know your child needs to work on but always include a couple they know well for a balance of challenge.
If they are agreeable, let the new player have a partner. Try to use words like “team” as opposed to “helper” with these little ones.
Allow the beginner to place their cards down on a placemat to organize them and let everyone play as they would if they could not see the cards.
Teaching tip: Identifying numbers can be done two ways, receptively and expressively and kindergarteners will need to do both. An example of receptive is when a child points to (or hands over a card in a game of Go Fish) a number when asked to find a number. Expressive of course is when a child verbalizes that number such as in “What number is this?” “Seven.”
Often young children playing Go Fish will simply show you a card and ask, “Do you have any of these?” Ask them to name it. Tell them you need to be sure about which number they want and ask them to tell you its’ name.
Along with building kindergarten math skills, playing Go Fish also practicing other important kindergarten skills like taking turns, organizing manipulatives (cards) and staying on task until finished.
There are other fun ways to use Go Fish cards to teach kindergarten math skills that don’t involve sitting a table. Continue Reading …