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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Simple Math Games to Reinforce National Math Standards

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Muffin papersDid you know that simple household items could be the "keys" to help your child "unlock" math skills?

If you have a pair of dice, paper muffin cups, and pennies or paper clips at your house, you can practice number skills that align to the National Educational Standards! (They are great stormy day games, too.)

Here are two easy and engaging activities that reinforce "One-to-One Correspondence" and "More Than, Less Than" Math Standards. These games are easy to play and take no more than 10 to 20 minutes to complete:

Game 1: Dice/Win

This game is for 2 or more players.

  • You will need a pair of dice, pencil and paper.
  • If you are playing with 4-5 year olds make the winning total thirty (30.) If you are playing with 6-8 year olds make the winning total fifty (50.)
  • Adult keeps score.
  • Roll the dice and add the dots together. First player to reach a total of 30 (or 50) wins. As a player gets close to the total, it has to be an exact roll to win. If a player’s score is at 29 or 49 he/she can roll just one die to reach their total.

Game 2: Muffin Magic

This game is for one player.

  • You will need twelve paper muffin cups, a pencil or marker, and an assortment of small objects, such as pennies, paper clips, etc.
  • Write the numbers 1 through 12 on the inside bottom of the muffin cup, so that your child can clearly see the number.
  • Line the cups up, left to right, from 1-12.
  • Child places the correct number of small objects in the paper cup.
  • When the cups are correctly full use them to practice numbers "before and after." For example, point to the cup that has 5 objects in it. Ask: "What’s the number that comes right before this number?" If your child is unsure, point to the cup that comes right before, and count the objects. Continue with "before and after" numbers until your child can easily say them.
  • Variation: Have your child close their eyes and move the cups around. Open eyes and put the cups back in numerical order.

Activities such as these help your child reinforce number sense in a fun, stress-free way!


#4 Janie 2011-01-12 22:20
Some great ideas. Another free source for math games and activities based on the Common Core State Standards is:
#3 Sudoku Puzzles 2010-10-30 04:13
5th-8th graders can probably handle sudoku puzzles. Maybe in the 4x4 to 9x9 range?
#2 File Folder Math Games 2010-10-19 12:02
After reading your blog I just thought that you may be interested in my File Folder Math Games that I give away for free. What you get is 20+ FREE Math Games (All of Volume 1 FREE) http://mathfilefoldergames.com

The games are geared towards 5th to 8th grade students.
#1 Lynn C 2010-10-15 22:57
I like these ideas! Looking forward to trying them out with Ethan!

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?