I’m Rachel and I’m excited to be helping out today, and trying my hand at blogging.

I have four little ones running around my house; and this summer we have taken a break from having official learning days. We all know that taking a break from learning is never a good thing, so I have become very intentional about bringing learning into the small moments of our daily lives.

My oldest boy, who just turned 5, loves math. At 3, he was counting his fingers, and adding them up. He noticed numbers in the grocery store, and counted everything. I didn’t start out planning to have math conversations all the time, but his little brain and all his curiosity have led me to find math throughout the day.

### Easy Ways to Build Number Sense During Dinner Time

Our meal times became an easy way to full his curiosity. There were manipulatives right in front of him that he could touch, and I didn’t have to pull out and put away anything. (Well except the dirty dishes I already had to do!)

Before I share how we bring math to the dinner table, I would love to offer a few words of advice.

- When we are having our math conversations I very rarely will say, “No, that isn’t the right answer. Try again.”
- I want this to be a fun, risk free time. If they come up with the wrong answer, I may say something like, “Well, let’s see if you are right.” Then I will model how to solve it, and share my thinking aloud. I sometimes even do that when they got the right answer. It is good for the ones who didn’t answer to see how I solved the problem! My 20 month old twins are learning just by listening to their brothers and me.
- Don’t do it every meal. Even just once a day will make a big difference, but don’t be surprised when they create their own math problems!
- Do different types of problems. Even if it is something you don’t think they can do, give it a try. Just remember to share how you “figured” your problem out.
- Throw the equation out there. Unless you have a child that thrives on numbers, they probably are not going to get this right away. It will start building connections that they can draw on, and it helps them see what they just did is math.

With that said, what are a few questions you can ask at dinner time to start building number sense?

#### One to One Correspondence – {This is an easy one.}

- How many pieces of pizza are there? Rolls? Forks and spoons? Plates? Glasses?

- Can you hand out the cookies for us? How many do we need? Can you get that many for us?

#### Addition

- Wow, you ate three rolls. Your brother ate two. How many rolls did you guys eat? What if I ate one? Now how many have we eaten now?
- There are three pepperoni pieces and four cheese slices, how many pieces are left?

#### Subtraction

- You only have four carrots left. How many do you need to eat before you will only have two left?
- If I eat one more roll, how many rolls will be left?

- How many more forks do we need to get the table set? (They will probably count the empty places, but show them this is subtraction by saying something like, “That’s right. We have six people in our family, we have two forks on the table, so we need four more. Six minus two equals four.”)

#### Multiplication, Skip Counting

This takes a little more planning, but still doable. My five year old is just now getting where he can solve these, but I still have to talk him through it.

- Look there are five booths. If three people sat in each booth, how many people would be on that side of the restaurant.
- If I put five carrots on each of our plates, how many carrots will be on all of our plates?
- If we all are going to get three gummies, how many gummies do we need?

#### Division

At the preschool age, they can do this if you allow it to be hands on. Wash their little hands very well, and let them equally pass out one part of the dinner. I would suggest letting them make an educated guess, and then when they are done ask for the answer. You will need to point out that what one person has is the answer. I always try to add the equation in. “We had 12 rolls and six people. Each person got 2. Soooooo (dramatic pause) 12 divide by 6 equals 2!”

Once they get good at this, mix it up by throwing in one left over. If you plan it where they are just sharing between two people you can discuss how we can continue to divide the food up equally by splitting the remainder piece of food in half. (Older children really struggle with changing a remainder into a fraction. If you are letting them work it out now, it won’t be such a challenge when they are faced with a row of division problems where they are required to change that remainder to a fraction.)

I hope that gives you some ideas on how to throw some math into your daily routines. I’ve enjoyed sharing with you!!

### More Math Ideas You May Enjoy:

- Grab a Handful! {learning about greater than, less than, and equal to}
- Pattern Block Graph & Tally Pack
- Learning to Add & Subtract
- Pattern Block Read, Build, and Write Mats
- Double Digit Addition with Dominoes
- Frogs & Flies: Counting to 5 {guest post}
- Telling Time Playdough Mats
- Exploring and Creating Patterns

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~Becky

sarahelisabeth says

Thank you-maths can be part of life and completely non-stressful. We found laying the table was a useful way of practicing addition particularly as there are eight of us and we often have visitors or the older children go out.