How to Incorporate Math into Creative Play

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

How to Incorporate Math into Creative Play

August 16, 2013

We’re delighted to welcome Amy Hengerer, founder of Creative Kid Mission, where she shares budget-friendly crafts, games activities, science projects, books, music, field trips and even snack ideas based on weekly themes.

Tell us about your philosophy
For most of my life, I have been a professional actress. As an actress, you use your intellect, body and imagination to bring a character to life. In the spirit of play, I want my children to lead inspired lives, develop confidence as they learn, and relish the time we spend together. When parenting my kids, being creative and spontaneous comes naturally.

How do you invite the “spirit of play” into a subject like math?
By taking time to think in numbers and invite math play into everyday moments with kids, parents, teachers and caregivers can make ordinary activities extraordinary! While blowing bubbles, stringing beads, flying airplanes, eating a bowl of fruit, or playing hopscotch, incorporate math equations into playtime and the kids will think it’s all for fun.

Amy has created two special math activities to share with Add It Up readers:

Sink the Pirate Ship!

Argh, this is a fun activity from Pirate Week. In this activity, little pirates build a ship out of aluminum foil. Give all players the same amount of aluminum foil and have them build a ship that can float (in the sink, bath, a water filled cooler, etc). The goal is to sink your opponent’s ship using real coins.

Wee Ones- Slowly pile pennies in the ship. Whose ship can hold the most pennies before sinking? When all the ships have tipped over, line up the pennies, and use subtraction or addition to determine whose ship held the most coins.

Little Ones- Use nickels and dimes this time. When all the ships have tipped over, add up each player’s coins and also the monetary amount. Whose ship held the largest number of coins, and whose vessel held the highest monetary value?

Big Kids- Similar to the previous options, but substitute quarters for the nickels and dimes.
One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

Pillow sack and three- legged races during Dr. Seuss Week inspired this wacky math game. All you need is a coin, two dice, and a deck of cards. Distinguish a start and finish line marked on the ground.

Wee Ones- Roll two dice and flip a coin. If the player can add the numbers together correctly, then she can move forward or backward that number. If the coin is heads, hop forward; if tails, hop backward the total number on the dice.

Little Kids- Same activity as beginner. If the player can subtract the numbers correctly, then they can move forward or backward that number.

Big Kids- Same activity as above, substitute a deck of cards for the dice to determine hop values.

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About the Author

Bedtime Math

Bedtime Math

Bedtime Math’s mission is to make nightly math as common and beloved as the bedtime story.

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