Developmentally, kindergarteners have reached the stage where they’re starting to think symbolically, and they haven’t yet heard the vicious rumor that math can be difficult or boring. Now is the time to show them how to have fun with numbers.
You want your child to glide through kindergarten with flying colors. You know that by the end of kindergarten she’ll be expected to know at least three different ways to tie her shoes and seven ways to solve for “x” – isn’t that what her teacher said at conference night?
If you’re like most parents, the list of skills kids need to know these days can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to math, which has so many – um – variables. You might not know where to start. If this sounds like you, here are some printable kindergarten math games to the rescue!
The good news is that your child still likes games. He’s outgrown Candy Land (hallelujah!) and now he’s beating you at Memory every chance he gets. But how can you get him to play a printable math game?
You’re convinced you’ll need to sneak doses of math into his life the same way you sneak nasty-tasting medicine into his applesauce. You have two options.
Option One: The Tedious, Devious Approach
- Design your own math worksheet. Decorate it with hand-drawn dinosaurs or trains or poop emojis or whatever it is that your child is currently obsessed with. This could take an entire week.
- Go to the library and make five copies of the worksheet, or copy it over and over by hand. You know your little genius will crumple one up in a fit of frustration, rip a hole in another one with his eraser, and spill juice on two more. But you’ll still have one copy left! You know this because you took math.
- Wait until your cherub is in a good mood (this could take another week).
- Introduce your worksheet by saying something like, “Oh, look what I found underneath this pile of old magazines! Maybe I’ll just throw it out. But look at the cute little poop emojis on it!”
Option 2: The Easy as Pi Approach
- Use the free, fun, printable kindergarten math games mentioned below.
- Print out the games and give them to your child as a reward for doing her chores (and yours).
That’s it! The tedious, devious approach is no longer necessary. Besides, your brainy kindergartener is wise to your tricks by now.
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1. Kindy Bingo
Kindy Bingo involves a printable set of ten 3 x 3-inch bingo cards that use the numerals one through ten. The cards are also available in a dot version for children who are still learning to recognize numbers.
After printing the cards onto stiff paper or cardboard, call out random numbers and have players mark off the numbers or dots on their cards using pencils or small plastic chips. (Smart parent tip: Laminate the cards and use erasable markers.)
The first child to mark three numbers in a column, row, or diagonal line shouts out “Bingo!” and is declared the winner.
2. Ship Shape
Kindergarteners love shapes, and that’s math! Ship Shape is a game that involves printable boat markers, game board, and a spinner.
This seafaring game helps your child learn to recognize the basic geometric shapes: circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles. Just print the markers, game board, and spinner, laminate the board and spinner, cut apart the markers, and you’ve got game!
Ship Shape is played like Bingo. Two players take turns spinning. The spinner lands on either “circle”, “triangle”, “rectangle”, or a blank, and the players place their ships on the matching shapes on their game boards.
The first player to get four in a row in any direction is the winner. (Smart parent tip: A square is also a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square!)
Check out this pdf file where you’ll find 27 printable math games, plus handy hints for parents and teachers on how to effectively use them.
Game number two, “Rectangles,” is a good one for reinforcing counting and shapes skills. After printing out the four rectangle grids on page nine and cutting them apart, give each player a grid, a colored pencil, and a die.
Players take turns rolling the die and coloring in a number of adjacent squares equal to the number rolled. The last player to color a rectangle shape consisting of more than one square is the winner.
Most of the games in this pdf are for older children. A few could be played with kindergarteners, but only if parents or older siblings are there to show off help. It’s a good way to expose kids to higher level learning without expecting them to master it.
Now, when it comes to these printable kindergarten math games, here are four words to remember: Don’t go too fast.
As cute as some of these games are, stay away from abstract concepts until you’re sure she’s ready. If you introduce math by using a variety of pictures, shapes, objects, worksheets, and real life applications, you’ll help her develop her innate math abilities without frustration.
And here’s more four-word advice: Math phobia is contagious. Before you pass it on to your child, you may need to make your peace with math. Try these math games yourself, and before you know it, you’ll be saying “Math is as Easy as Pi!”