Tag Archives: Math

Low Prep Math: Number Order


Number Order


Vocabulary: before, after


Deck of cards

First, I laid out the cards in order and she matched each card.

Next, I had her lay out the cards in order without laying them on top. She did use the previous line of card to help her.

She told me, “Let’s make it harder!” so I laid out 3 cards, and her job was to lay out the numbers that came before and after.

She did a really good job! 

“What should I be doing to get my child ready for Kindergarten?”

Teachers are a lot like doctors and nurses.

When you have a weird rash or you feel like maybe you’re dying but don’t want to go into the doctor’s office, you ask your nurse/doctor friend for advice or put out a facebook post saying “Doctor and Nurse friends…?”

When you have a question like “Should my kid know how to add yet?” or “What’s with this Common Core crap?” (Yes, I have been asked that.) or “How can I get my child to read more?” you probably ask a teacher friend.

A few months ago, my friend asked me how she should be preparing her son for Kindergarten.


Disclaimer: Kindergarten is an entirely different world from the rest of elementary and I do NOT and will not teach it!  God bless our K teachers and a big THANK YOU for preparing them for 1st grade so well!! However, I’ve had 2 Kindergarten daughters and have taught 1st/2nd grade for 12 years along with 4 years of college experience + 6 years of summer/after school jobs working with children. (That’s 22 years if you’re keeping track.)

After she asked, she said my blog needed to be up ASAP and I needed to address this.  She totally freaked me out because who am I to tell her what her child needs to know by Kindergarten??? Then I remembered the doctor/nurse thing.

So after much thought, I will be doing two things.

  1. Providing the list of pre-Kindergarten skills my 5-year-old’s teacher gave us.
  2. Start a blog series of what I’m doing with my 4-year-old this year before she starts Kindergarten – labeled Kindergarten Prep.

Pre-Kindergarten Skills:

*Number Recognition: counting to 30 and recognizing 0-10 randomly

*Letter Recognition: Identify both upper and lower case

*Write their name: First and last with correct capitalization and clear handwriting

*Belts & Buttons: Practice these things so they can be independent at school

*Listening to stories: Sit still and listen to a story, and be able to talk about the story

Remember: You can do these things (and more) in a natural way. 


I never planned “lessons” for my kids because I’m not that organized. Their learning has been through natural, every day ways. We counted steps or objects when we were out and about, drew shapes while coloring, talked about the colors of Play-doh, rhymed silly words, thought of words that started with certain letters, play with dice, learn letters in fun ways, and do workbooks for fun. Most importantly, we read to them every night and talk about the pictures and story.

Also rememberEvery child is so different!

My oldest daughter could read sentences before Kindergarten, and my current Kindergartener can read a few 3-letter words.  The most important thing, in my opinion, is to instill a love of learning and school. As long as my kids are happy at school and enjoying learning, I am not concerned with them being above average learners.


And, last thing to rememberSocial Skills

What’s more important than what your child knows is how he or she treats the teacher and classmates. Teach your child social skills of showing respect, listening, taking turns, accepting “no” for an answer, being polite, and taking responsibility for things and actions.

To see how I am preparing my 4-year-old for Kindergarten, look for the tag “Kindergarten Prep”.

Low-Prep Math: Dice and Chalk

I have to be honest. Many of the learning activities my kids do are usually thought up by them. This one was totally the 4-year-old’s idea!  She found some dice in the garage and said she wanted to roll it and write her numbers.

So that’s what we did!

My Kindergartener joined right in, and it was fun to see her teaching her little sister. They are 17 months apart so they are often learning very similar things.

Number 5 was difficult, so biggest sister had to get in there to help.

Breckyn had no idea how to make a few of the numbers, so I would write the number for her to trace.

What are some ways you use chalk for learning? We draw shapes, write letters, play hopscotch, and just draw!

Low Prep Math Activities: Dice

I use dice a ton in my 1st/2nd grade classrooms, but they could easily be used at home for math practice!

With my preschooler, we rolled and did an action. For example, here she rolled a 2 and did 2 big jumps.

This is a great way to get your kiddo moving and learning at the same time! Here she rolled a 4 and did giant steps.

5 push-ups!

Next, we tried to find each number of objects. She rolled a 5 and was counting the flowers to check if there were 5 flowers. After counting, she figured out there were way more than 5.

Counting the bars on the deck to find the number 6.

Your older child can practice adding 2 or 3 (or more!) numbers together.

I always have the kids write an equation to match. Use dice with dots for more support.

Dice can also be used to practice subtraction.

This 2nd grader added the 2 dice together, and then subtracted the dice, knowing the biggest number comes first!

More ways to use dice

Compare – which one is bigger?

Compare using symbols < > =

What number comes before?

What number comes after?

Rolling two and saying the 2-digit number

Roll the dotted dice and write the number

Low Prep Math Activities: Missing Numbers

I LOVE math. It is my FAVORITE thing to teach at school, so of course I enjoy practicing it with my kids!

This low-prep math activity works on:


*Identifying numbers

*Finding a missing number

*Hand-eye coordination

Simply write a number sequence on a jumbo craft stick and the missing number on a clothespin. (Mine are from Target $ Spot, but similar to these cute ones.) Repeat as many times as you’d like!

These colorful clothespins were purchased in the Dollar Spot at Target last summer, and we always have craft sticks on hand. Trust me, keep some of those bad boys around and you’ll find plenty to do with them!

My girl was so proud of herself that she completed it 3 times, and had to show her sisters and Daddy when they got home!

If your child is a bit older, you could use it to practice:

*Skip counting with missing numbers

*Any type of equation with the answer on the clothespin

*Counting backwards with missing numbers

*Equation with missing sign: +, -, x, or divide.  (ie:  4 __ 5 = 9)

*Number names

Comment below if you think of any other ways to use this simple, but fun activity!