Fun Activities to Promote Math Skills: For The Physical Learner

Count and sort household items. Mix up the knives, forks, and spoons from the silverware drawer and have your child group them by type and count how many there are in each group. Do the same with your sock drawer (by color, by size), your child's stuffed animal collection (group the animals by big and small; put all the bears together). Have your child help you fold and sort laundry. How many socks are there? How many T-shirts? Have him divide them into groups.

Go on a shape search around the house. Look for squares, triangles, circles, stars — any kind of shape. Your child will be expected to recognize, draw, and manipulate shapes well into 1st grade (not to mention high school geometry!).

Play with shape puzzles and blocks. Manipulating three-dimensional objects — playing with a shape-sorter box, for example — will introduce your child to basic geometry as well as help develop his fine motor skills and spatial reasoning.

Make a counting book. This activity has a reading and a math component: With some help from you, have your child go through an old catalog or magazine and cut out all the items that start with the letter "A" and paste them onto a piece of construction paper. When you've gone through the list, count all the pictures on each page.

Make a game out of snack time. For example, give your child a handful of goldfish crackers, and draw a picture of a fishbowl on a piece of white paper. Put the fish in the fishbowl and have your child count them. Take one out, and count again.

Play pattern games. For example, give your child green and purple grapes. Have him arrange them in different patterns: purple, green, purple, green. Or green, green, purple, green, green. Look for patterns in nature: rings on a caterpillar, the whorl on a snail shell, or things that come in pairs such as eyes, ears, or two peanuts in a shell. This activity will develop your child's problem-solving skills and his ability to think abstractly.