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Fun Maths Games for 3-5 Year Olds
Listed below are a number of free games that build your child's maths skills from a young age. Children learn new maths skills quickly because the games provided are short, provide an opportunity to be revised and can be fitted in around busy lifestyles or while travelling. Games for 3-5 Year Olds also contains some best parenting tips and information or advice that you may not have thought of.
For example: If your child is counting dots on two die encourage them to start with the dice with the largest number of dots first, that way they learn the more complex dice pattern more quickly and the counting on is quicker and more accurate for them.
Choose Fun Maths Games from the list below
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This is a really easy game to keep young children occupied on a long trip. When we first played this game we concentrated on the numbers to ten but quickly modified it up to twenty.
Each car member guesses what colour the tenth car will be. The children count the cars as they go past and identify what colour the tenth car is. The winner of that round keeps score on their fingers. The first to five is the winner.
ONE UP ONE DOWN
My favourite game of all
This is a great fast-paced game that teaches children the correct sequence of numbers to ten while emphasizing the number before and after a given number. You can play this game at speed or slow it down according to the skill of the child involved.
Initially remove all cards except for the numbers from 1-10 with the Ace being one. Deal out fifteen cards each. (There should be ten left for the draw pile.)
The object of the game is to get rid of all of the cards in your hand. The person next to the dealer begins by putting a card face up on the table. Players can add to each card by either putting the card above, or below that card, on the top of the pile. E.g. 3 is the card on the table, so players can add either a 2 or a 4. If an 8 is played a 7 or 9 would need to be added next time. The faster people play the harder it is for their opponent. If no one can go, both players take a card from the draw pile and then go again.
The person with no cards left in their hand is the winner.
Put out a number of items initially to five, then six, then seven for your child to guess. (A die is great for this as your child will begin to learn the pattern of dots to six.) Players have to guess the number they think the answer will be. Children can real count to check the amount.
Some children will attempt to count the amount of objects with their eyes and that should not be discouraged. It's actually a good thing because that's the next level of counting: from real counting objects by moving or touching them to being able to follow objects with their eyes.
The closest to the answer is the winner.
I'VE GOT TEN
This is another great car game. Excluding passing vehicles, everyone in the car has to guess what they think they can get a group of ten of. Each person calls out what they're collecting at the start of each game. If you're passing through the country side, the thing people are collecting could be an animal or a tree or a fence post, but in the city it could be a street sign or bus shelter, etc. You can make the game as specific as you like: e.g. 'Give Way' sign rather than just a sign.
As each new item is sighted the person counting calls out the next number in their series and points it out to the group.
The first to make their collection of ten is the winner.
A variation could be that others in the car have to guess what they've been collecting.
HOW MANY TILL THEY FALL?
This is a game involving both fine motor skill and counting.
The object of the game is to stack the greatest number of blocks before they fall. You can play single rounds or again make it the first to five using counters to keep score.
Make two groups of objects and place them in a group. Each player has to check that they both have the same amount of items:
1.By initially placing the items into two lines compare them exactly.
2. As the child becomes more skilled they will be able to count the items by touching them and will know that six is greater than five.
3. You can each take turns to add numerals to the collections.
There is no winner as such. The object is to take turns at making it fair. You may like to ham it up to see if you can get away with having more than your child. And it turn they will see if they can get away with having more in their group than you have.
Set up a pretend shop and have your child buy the items. This is a great activity can be done in stages according to the children's skill level.
The Shopper pays for individual items one at a time with claps which they count into the shop keepers hand.
The Shopper uses a number of tokens or coins and counts them out to complete the purchase.
The Shopper matches the numeral on the coin, or token, to the item on their purchase and pays for it that way.
The Shopper uses a pre prepared shopping list to locate the items using visual images, reinforced with words, and again can pay with claps or coins as above.
The Shopper can refer to a poster of items for sale and ask for amounts of a specific item. e.g. Four apples and they each cost four coins. How are they going to work it out?
SPOTS STRIPES AND PLAINS
N.B. You can use any items you have a collection of.
Begin by asking: Do you think there are more yellow bears or more green bears.
The objective is get your child to real count rather than guess which has the most. (This skill is called Conservation of Number.) You can line them up each matching the place next to the other and then count. Move them into different arrangements and then count and compare.
N.B. You can substitute any items that have some form of pattern upon them. Clothing would suffice if you don't have plastic animals as in the example.
Children sort the animals into those with spots, with stripes and those that are plain. Players choose the one they think will have the most.
Count and check.
The winner has the most animals.
SAME AND DIFFERENT
N.B. You could substitute the fish for toy cars, pieces of similar construction equipment or even cutlery (As long is its not sharp)
Put a range of similar items/animals out for the children to sort. Children identify those that are the same. One of the players turns around and adds one more item to one pile. Alternatively they can remove an item.
Can the other player identify the one that is different. Repeat with the other player.
HOW MANY LEGS?
Sort the creatures into those with eight legs, six legs, four legs, two legs and no legs. You can count which of them there are more of and discuss. You can guess which pile has the most legs?
N.B. I've used models of real animals because that way young children can count the legs by touching them. You can also use copies of pictures and your child can sort them similarly
This is great way of spring-boarding onto learning different animal names and then onto classifications of animals such as reptiles, amphibians, insects, arachnids, etc.
BIG SHARK LITTLE SHARK
Arrange a group of sea creatures from longest to shortest. Discuss the shark can't eat something that's bigger than it, so each shark has to be behind a bigger shark.
You can substitute any items you may have, such as trucks or dolls instead.
If you have no toys, use fruits and vegetables, or plastic bottles.
Roll two die. The objective is to roll a six.
Every time someone rolls six dots they get a counter. The first to five counters wins.
This practises number combinations 5+1, 4+2 and 3+3
SUBSTITUTE as your child gets better.
Roll Seven. Seven is a great because it covers 5 +2, 6+1, 4+3
Roll Eight:2+6, 5+3, 4+4
Roll Nine: 3+6, 5+4
Roll Ten: 4+6, 5+5
SAFETY: IF YOU'RE DOING THIS GAME WITH YOUR CHILDREN YOU MUST SUPERVISE IT TO ENSURE THAT THEY DO NOT SWING THE MAGNET AS IT COULD HIT THEM IN THE EYE. I SUGGEST USING A MAGNET THAT HAS NO SHARP EDGES AND KEEPING THE STRING SHORT.
Put a numeral on one side of a fish shape and put the corresponding number of dots on the other side of the fish. Put a paper clip where the fish's mouth is. The child has to catch a fish then guess the numeral. They can turn the fish over and check that they're correct. If they're correct they get to keep the fish till the end of the game.
The one with the most fish at the end of the game is the winner.
Roll two die, one with dots the other with numerals. Every time they get a match they get a counter.
The first to five counters wins. To help remember the numerals I describe them:
1: 1 stick 1 (because one looks like a stick); 2 swan 2 (because two looks like a swan); Bump, bump 3 (because three has two bumps); flying 4 (because it looks like an old fashioned aeroplane); flat head 5 (because it has a flat head); sit down 6 because it sits down on its big round bottom.
If you don't have a die with the numerals on them you can throw a counter onto a page with numerals written on them.
You can introduce other numerals as they learn the first six.
Slippery dip 7 (because it is like a slippery dip): 8 ate too much (because he had a fat head and a fat tummy); naughty 9 (looks like six but turned himself upside down)
Take a Screen shot of the card below, print it off and record your score on the score card below.
Roll two dice. Count the number of dots on each counter. Put a scarf or piece of paper over the dice with the largest number of dots on it. Bank the number that is under the scarf and count on using their fingers to work out how many dots they had in total. If they add it correctly they get a counter.
The object of the game is to get to five counters.
For more fun games go to the following links:
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