Activities for Everyday

Seeing, doing and talking about how we use math everyday helps build a strong math foundation for your child. Math is everywhere!

Counting and using numbers

Questions to ask
  • How many are there?
  • How do you know?
  • If you don’t know, how can you find out?
  • Does that make sense?
Things to do
  • Counting:
  • Let your child see and hear you counting.
  • Count everything – touch each thing while counting.
  • Use number rhymes and songs.
  • While setting the table, ask: How many forks do we need?
  • Play games and have your child say the numbers.
  • Number recognition:
  • Play card games.
  • Find numbers on signs or in newspapers (for example, find all the threes).
  • Use magnetic numerals.
  • Make play dough numerals.
  • Sorting:
  • Sort the laundry.
  • Put away the cutlery and toys.
  • Arrange books (sort by size or subject).
  • Collect items to use for sorting (such as buttons, rocks, nuts and bolts, or beads) and sort them using muffin tins or egg cartons.
  • Sort playing cards or dominoes.
  • Ordering:
  • Use nesting toys.
  • Ask which flower is the tallest or shortest.
  • Order various materials by length, volume, size (such as ribbon, buttons, lids, pieces of paper).
  • Use playing cards or dominoes.
  • Number concepts:
  • Find out how many items there are (use common things, like doors in the house, cars on the street, cups on the table, or traffic lights on a trip to the store).
  • Tap your finger ____ times and have your child tell you the numeral or point to the number on a numeral card.
  • Make groups of 3, 4, 5, 6 things.
  • Make “8” as many ways as you can (for example, 4 and 4, 5 and 3, 2 and 6).
  • Match numeral cards with the correct number of things (such as matching the numeral 8 card with eight objects).
  • Look at dominoes and find all the ones that have a total of ___ dots.

Spatial thinking

Questions to ask
  • What do you see?
  • What would happen if______?
  • Can you tell me why______?
Things to do
  • Recognize dot patterns on dice without counting them. Let your child call out the numbers on the dice.
  • Conduct a shape search playing “I Spy” (for example, “I spy something that is round”).
  • Build with blocks. Make designs with shape blocks.
  • Play shape tickle by drawing shapes on your child’s back so that she or he can identify them.
  • Play with puzzles and games that involve fitting shapes into a space.
  • Make jigsaw puzzles using pictures and then put them back together.
  • Make a map of your bedroom, your house, or your neighbourhood.
  • Practice position words by having a treasure hunt—follow clues like over, under, above, below, next to, beside.
  • Put cutlery into the right space in the tray.


Questions to ask
  • How do you know?
  • Does that make sense?
  • If you don’t know, how can you find out?
  • Is there another way to find out?
  • How many _____do you think there are?
  • Which one has more, is longer, is heavier?
Things to do
  • Estimate first and then find:
  • Something that is longer, shorter, lighter, heavier, than _______.
  • How many crayons end-to-end would go from the couch to the fireplace?
  • How many blocks will fit in this box?
  • Which will take longer: walking to the door or writing your name?
  • How many minutes does it take for your food to come after you order?
  • How many pennies will it take to cover a book?


Questions to ask
  • How do you know?
  • Does that make sense?
  • If you don’t know, how can you find out?
  • Do you see a pattern? Tell me about it.
  • What will come next?
Things to do
  • Look for repeating patterns on cloth, wallpaper, or clothing.
  • Look for repeating patterns in time (such as seasons, months, or daily routines).
  • Listen for patterns in songs and clap or dance the rhythm.
  • Start patterns with blocks, beads, playing cards, or toys and get children to make them longer.
  • Count by tens, fives, and twos.