Three Playful Ways to Learn Math: Get Ready for K Through Play


Watch a young child carefully select the largest cookie from the plate, and you will see how intuitive math is from a very young age! Sadly, math in the United States all too frequently becomes a dreaded subject – in no small part because our country has a severe shortage of qualified math teachers.

The good news is, there are some really fun ways to help kids enjoy math! Here are a few of my favorites (links are affiliate links to Amazon):


Get out in nature

I don’t think it’s an accident that every single mathematically talented person I know loves spending time in nature. Nature is the source of life’s most fascinating, beautiful, and complex patterns – like the Fibonacci sequence! When your child plays outside they are getting exercise, vitamin D, and a great start in loving mathematics!

Invest in learning toys

Learning toys traditionally found in classrooms make fantastic toys for homes as well – and they are the perfect way for kids to learn the basics of subtraction, addition, and even multiplication on their own! Here are a few of our favorites – purchased for our family because I loved playing with them as a kid!

Listen to them

Reasoning is an important mathematical skill. Take the time to listen properly to stories your child is telling you. Asking why and how questions will help them learn to expand and justify their ideas.

Want to give your child an extra leg up in math, even if YOU are afraid of math? Check out this free course from Stanford professor Jo Boaler! What were your favorite ways of exploring mathematics as a child?

Get Ready for K Through Play button

This post is the fourth of eight in the Get Ready for K Through Play series I am working on with Bernadette of Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Megan at Coffee Cups and Crayons, Vicky at Mess for Less, Cerys at Rainy Day Mum, and Kristina at Toddler Approved. Be sure to check out their posts as well!

Drop by our Get Ready for K Through Play Pinterest board for more ideas!


  1. says

    Have you ever gotten the Three Bears Family game? You’re trying to get all 3 bears back home to the cave. It’s really cute.

  2. says

    I really like your list of learning math toys!
    My son likes counting money. I do try and point out and explain math concepts if they come up. Multiplication is a good example. I remember my mother did this with me and it gave me a lot of math confidence in school.

  3. says

    I keep meaning to get some kind of balance scale, if only I had a place to put it!

    For as hands on and wonderful as our school is, there is too much drilling in math, and Rebecca hates it. I don’t know what to do about that unfortunately.

    One of our math activities is counting and dividing up allowance into short term saving/long term saving/giving/spending.

  4. says

    I love your list MaryAnne – we have a lot of fun with nature and pattern blocks. I’ve just recently bought cuisenaire rods but we haven’t taken them out yet – now I want a bucket balance!!


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