Parents are always looking for fun and educational at-home activities for children, without screen time. It’s time to find a new way to practice math and make learning a part of everyday life. For 1st graders, math is all around them. Understanding the importance of counting, measuring, making shapes, and telling time is easier when it’s used every day. From counting cookies for a snack to knowing what time they may be on their screens, children can experience math anywhere. Let’s go over why 1st grade math is so important and some fun ways to practice those skills at home.
Importance of mastering 1st grade math skills
1st grade is the beginning of building the foundation of education. This journey is especially important with math. Math builds upon itself, so no matter how far a student goes into learning math, what they learn in 1st grade is still important. Skills like counting, addition, subtraction, geometry, and everyday skills like telling time, all start in 1st grade. Children will pick up new skills more smoothly with a strong understanding of these basic concepts. Math is an adventure, mastering and practicing the skills to move forward in your journey is the best way to step up to the next level in school, life, and knowledge.
1) Counting and Problem-Solving
What kind of math are kids expected to know in 1st Grade? Students must learn the fundamentals of counting, addition, subtraction, and problem-solving. This includes counting up to 120 and being able to do addition and subtraction up to the number 20. The most critical skills students pick up in 1st grade range from learning with physical objects and word problems to solving written equations and doing mental math. Find fun ways to use math at home and show how that can be written down as math problems. This is a fun way to support the math kids are learning in school.
Activities for Using Counting and Problem-Solving at Home
- Snack Time: Count the number of fruits or cookies in snack time. It’s the tastiest way to work on your subtraction too!
- Playtime: Use toys to work out counting and math problems. Find out how big your child can make a tower of blocks before it falls over, or make extra time for math games during screen time. Try and find ways to incorporate math into the games they love, like how many points it takes to defeat a monster in Roblox or how much they can mine in Minecraft.
- Bedtime: Include simple counting with bedtime stories. From the 3 Little Pigs to the 7 Dwarfs, these are great ways to incorporate math into story time.
Shapes are one of the first things children learn that has to do with math. Sometimes it’s hard to remember the importance of simple shapes in school, math, and everyday life. With shapes, 1st graders learn the basics about counting sides, angles, and dimensions. Become creative by using different shapes to build new structures. Kids learn to build their ideas into real physical items all with simple shapes. Kids can become creators using math and shapes. At home, children can use those skills to have fun building and making their world unique.
Activities for Using Shapes at Home
- Snack Time: When making a sandwich with a child, ask what shape they want it in. 2 triangles, 2 Rectangles, big squares, or even 4 little squares. Learn how to make shapes out of other shapes. Circles are best for jelly sandwiches
- Play Time: Use construction paper to make shapes like squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles. Then use those shapes to build new things. See what animals you can make out of paper shapes, or a crown using only triangles.
- Bed Time: Shapes are all around, so before bed, help children find their favorite shapes in their room. You can even try and find pillows and stuffed toys in different shapes to add variety to the shapes in a kid’s life.
3) Measurement and Time
Telling time is a skill everyone will use most days of their lives, and it all starts in 1st grade. Time and measurement are common skills most people feel like they’ve just always known. The importance of using numbers to explain greater concepts might feel second nature, but it is important to focus at the beginning of math education. From school to fixing things around the house, using measurement and time is something that’s used every single day.
Activities for Using Measurement and Time at Home
- Snack Time: Food and measurement go hand in hand. Try to make a snack from scratch with kids. Nothing teaches the importance of measurement more than cooking.
- Playtime: Measurement and playtime are built for each other. How far can you throw a ball or jump across a field? Sports are a fun way to get exercise and keep track of numbers at the same time. Try and go a little further than before or faster than before to measure growth.
- Bed Time: Learning time is a major skill for first graders, and the end of the day is the best time to work on using time. Set up a schedule using 5, 10, and 15-minute intervals from dinner to storytime. A schedule helps kids learn to read time and helps build a routine.
1st Grade math may seem so far away for parents, but making sure a child has mastered the 1st grade math Common Core Standard knowledge is getting them ready for math throughout their lives. Growing up, people may take the little things they learned as a child for granted, but those may be the most pivotal moments in building a passion for learning math. Math happens all day, every day, so making it a part of a child’s home life can turn the stress of doing math work, into the fun of solving problems throughout the day.