Simple Strategies to Help Your Kindergartener Through Second Grader Learn About Math

Here are a few ideas to keep the learning going at home! Math is all around us, but sometimes we simply don’t know how to show our kids this. Here are some fun things you can do at each level of learning from Kindergarten through Second Grade. 


Recognize that objects can be associated with numbers. Example, laying out 3 toys to choose from. You can count how many there are before your child chooses the one they want to play with. 

Teach your child how to count. But, beware! Start with zero through nine first. Going straight into 10, 11, 12, etc can be tricky unless they really understand 0-9. 

Tell stories with numbers. “We made 12 cookies on this cookie sheet. Let’s eat 2 of them. How many do we have left?” Your child will begin to associate things like addition and subtraction when you start to talk like this. 

Show shapes and count the sides. Talk about the name of the shapes and how many sides there are. You can even get into the fact that some sides may be longer or shorter than others. 

Read books that have math in them like their counting books. Or, if you are reading a picture book that has many repeated things in it, you can count those objects. 

You can use workbooks when your child is ready for it, but don’t start too early. This may lead to frustration. 

Play board games or card games with your child. Games like Candyland, chutes and Ladders and Go Fish are perfect for teaching math skills. 

1st Grade

Playing with Legos is a great way for kids to learn about math. As they build with them, they can begin to understand how sizes can be the same, smaller, or larger. You can also add up groups of same sized Legos. You can take a larger group of Legos and pull some out and find the differences. When doing the subtraction, be sure to place the larger set of Legos on the left side so they get used to the idea of the larger number listed in the correct spot. 

You can also learn addition by starting with a Lego of a particular size, and then adding two more of the same size. Use this to illustrate 1 + 2 and how it is equal to 3. Use those terms when talking with your child. 

When working in the kitchen, have your child estimate if the amount will fit in a particular container. When looking at items in bowls at the supper table, consider talking about the one that has more than the others or less than the others. Use measuring cups to discover measurements and fractions. Rice is a great option for this. 

Read math problems aloud to your child and use math vocabulary. Sum means the answer to an addition problem. Difference means the answer to a subtraction problem. 

When shopping, use real money so your child can see how money works. Help them learn about the coins and the bills you are using. 

Use a real analog clock in your home. Help your child learn how the clock works. Try to help them understand the hour hand and the clock hand. They are old enough to understand o’clock (hour times) and half-past or thirty times, like 3:30 or half past 3. 

Play math games like Tic-Tac-Toe and Connect Four. 

2nd Grade

Speak positively about math. Even if you do not like it. A second grader may suddenly go from loving math to not liking it as they are learning more difficult concepts. 

It is really important to solidify their understanding of addition and subtraction. Be as hands-on as you can with a concept. Use the pennies you have sitting around, and make groups where you are adding to and taking away so they really understand sums and differences. Once they really understand the simpler problems up to 10’s then you can move to the 20’s. 

As you work in the kitchen, be sure you consider fractions. Make a sandwich cut in ½. Talk about the fact that you have 2 pieces, but you will eat one of them first. You are now going to eat ½ of the sandwich. You can cut it into different sized pieces and do the same thing. 

Start to show the analog clock and how it relates to the digital clock. Talk about the calendar. Think about speaking about time in terms of days, months, years. 

As you work with time, think about how you can teach it while cooking. If your cookies take 10 minutes in the oven and you set a timer, look at both the analog clock and the digital clock and determine what time will show on those clocks. 

Play games. You may be ready for something more challenging in the game department. Try checker or Uno! 

I hope these activities inspire a love of learning and help support your child as they learn about math. 

Tutoring with Sheryl supports learners in grades 2-5 with their math journey. If your child needs support click on the Book with Me link and I am happy to meet with you and see how I can support you!

For more information about Tutoring with Sheryl go to

Published by Tutoring with Sheryl

I have 32 years of experience teaching in public schools in Nebraska. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincon. I hold a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane University. I have 2 Google for Education Certifications. I have been tutoring online for 1 year. I have worked with countless students of all ages to support their education. I also support teachers with planning and management in their classrooms.

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