Very often, the best learning takes place when young students are just having fun. Here are some easy activities to do with your kindergarten or 1st grade child that will reinforce essential math and fine motor skills. You will need some household items:
- yarn or string
- different colored or shaped macaroni, cereal with holes (such as Cheerios, Froot Loops, etc.,) beads or buttons
- glue, pencil, or marker
- Tie a thick knot at the end of some string or yarn.
- Tightly wrap some tape around the other end to form a “needle” for threading.
- Thread patterns using the pasta, cereal, or beads (for example, yellow, green, red, then yellow, green, red). When the yarn is full, tie off the taped end and have your child review the pattern.
- Or on a rectangular piece of cardboard, have your child glue buttons in a pattern from left to right, such as two small, one large or three white, two red, etc.
When your child gets proficient at the simple steps, increase the difficulty:
- On the yarn or sting use the same color pasta or cereal in sets of five, then put a different shape or color to separate the sets. For example, five Cheerios, then one pasta, five more, then one pasta. When completed, have him use the sets to practice counting by fives. The same can be done for sets of ten.
- On the top of a cardboard rectangle, glue 10 buttons from left to right. Have her or help her write the numbers underneath the buttons, counting and writing one to 10.
- Use the buttons, pasta, or cereal to make addition sentences. On a rectangle strip of cardboard have him glue three Cheerios on the left. With a pencil or marker make a plus sign (+) after the group. To the right of the plus sign, he should glue a group of five Cheerios. After that group, make an equals sign (=), and have him glue eight Cheerios. Underneath, let him or help him write: 3 + 5 = 8.
Combining fine motor activities with math gives your child the opportunity to build a successful “product” while subtly reinforcing important educational concepts.