Snow Math


We’ve had lots of snow days here in Colorado lately.  Have you ever thought of doing a little math with your kids while they are out playing in the snow?  You could even sneak it in without your kids realizing they are practicing math.  Here are some examples for younger kids:

  1. Count how many snowballs you can each make.  Compare the numbers.  Who made more?  Who made less?  How many more?  How many fewer?  Write the numbers in the snow using a stick or your gloved hand.
  2. Make a snowman.  Measure the circumference (Around) of each snowball.  How big can you make the bottom?  How small does the top have to be? Measure the height of your snowman.  Is it taller than you?  Shorter than you?
  3. Going sledding?  How many seconds does it take you to sled down the hill? What could you do to make yourself go faster?  What could you do to slow yourself down?  How many steps does it take you to walk up the hill after you sled down?

Enjoy the snow and stay warm!


Oh No, It’s Report Card Time

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You have gotten your child’s report card and he/she is not doing as well as you had hoped in some subjects. How do you help your child succeed in the remainder of the school year?

Here are six tips to help your child:

  1. Read every single day-You should be reading to and with your young child daily, including Saturdays and Sundays. Your child can do the reading, you can do the reading, or you can read together. Be sure you pre-read (predict what the book will be about), ask questions during reading (about the characters, setting, problem, events, and solution), and ask questions after reading (summarize or retell).
  2. Practice math facts every single day-Your child must know his or her math facts to make learning math concepts easier. Daily, your child should be playing a game with facts or working on flash cards for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Write something every single day-Your child should be writing daily. This could be writing a thank you note, a list for the store, a creative story, or about a book.
  4. Monitor homework-Depending on your child’s age, you should be sitting with your child while he/she is doing homework so you can help or you should let your child know where you will be if homework help is needed. Your child should be doing his/her homework alone, but you are there for guidance and support.
  5. Hire a tutor-If your child is struggling with a concept that you don’t understand, hire a professional tutor to help. If your child’s teacher suggests that tutoring might benefit your child, hire a tutor. Tutors can help your child feel more confident in learning as well as help with specific concepts and skills.
  6. Communicate with the teacher-Email or talk to your child’s teacher more than once a quarter at conferences. Ask your child’s teacher for specifics on what you can work on with your child. Ask the teacher for a progress report every couple of weeks so that you can stay on top of your child’s success.


Following these tips, will help you help your child succeed!



Counting Christmas


As I was driving home from tutoring tonight, I saw so many Christmas lights on the houses and trees. It gave me a good idea for how to have some counting fun with Christmas lights.

Before you go on a drive to see the lights, make a list of different things your child can look for as you’re driving around town. For example:

Lighted star_______________

All blue lights______________

Blow up snowman____________

Blow up Santa______________

Manger scene______________

Icicle lights_______________


Then, put the list on a clipboard and give it to your child with a pencil or crayon. As you’re seeing lights, have your child put a tally mark next to the correct kind of lights your child saw. Remember to do four tallies straight and tall and the fifth tally goes diagonal. When you get home, count up the tallies. Ask questions like:

Which kind of lights did you see the most? The least?

How many ___________ did you see?

Did you see more ____________ or more ___________?

How many more ________ did you see than __________?

How many fewer ________ did you see than ___________?

How many lights did you see in all?



Math is everywhere and in everything we do!

Get Baking with the Kids



I’ll bet lots of you will be cooking and baking this holiday season. Getting your kids involved can be educational and the kids won’t even know they’re learning!

Before you begin in the kitchen, take your child to the grocery store with you. Give him/her certain items to find in the store. This promotes good self-esteem, independence, and direction following. Have your child add up the amount of money each item costs. This promotes math skills.

Once you’re in the kitchen, your child can help you read recipes, help with measuring ingredients, help with setting the correct temperature on the oven/stove, etc. This promotes reading skills, math skills, following directions, good self-esteem, and cooperation.

Bake up something yummy with the help of your child and he/she will reap the benefits of a little learning snuck in!

Christmas List with an Educational Twist

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Do your kids make Christmas wish lists? Want to make those list making sessions a little more educational? Here’s how:

As your child is making a list, have him/her find the items wanted in catalogs or online. This promotes reading and research. Once each item is found, have your child write the prices of the items on the list. When your child begins making the list, give him/her a dollar amount that you are willing to spend. After your child has the list with prices next to each item, he/she will need to do a little addition and subtraction to get to the dollar amount you have set.

If your child enjoys making lists, researching, and adding/subtracting, you can have him/her help you make lists for the other people you need to buy for this Christmas. Have your child help you write a list of gifts for siblings, teachers, grandparents, etc.

Have fun with list making this holiday season!

Math War to Learn Math Facts

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Math war is a fun, interactive game that will help your kids learn their math facts. All you need is a deck of playing cards and at least two players. (Or, you can buy a Math War game at your local education store. See picture below.)

To Play- Each player puts down two cards. Add the two cards to get the sum. The person with the highest sum wins both cards. If two players get the same sum it’s a war. Each player lays down two more cards and gets that sum. The player with the largest sum gets all the cards. Continue to play until all the cards have been used.

The game can be used for subtraction as well. Just remember when playing for subtraction that your child subtracts the small number from the big number to get the difference.

You can also play for multiplication facts to see who gets the biggest product.

Have fun!!

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How do I help my child practice math facts?


When your child needs to learn math facts, flash cards are a good way to practice.  The key to working on memorizing math facts is to keep it short and sweet. Children do not have a long attention span when it comes to flash cards, so don’t try to do too many at one time or practice for too long at one time. Instead, you can practice in short 5 minute time periods. Right before school and then again during homework time would be good. There are three ways to use flash cards effectively.

  1. Begin with the 1s facts. Once your child has memorized the 1s, move to the 2s, then the 3s, and so on. Do not move on to a new set of facts until your child has memorized the set you’re working on currently.


  1. Start with 10 flash cards.  Have your child learn the facts on those ten cards.  Once a fact is learned (said in 3 seconds or less with no finger counting), replace that card with a new one.  So, your child is only ever working on ten cards at a time.  This makes flash cards more manageable.


  1. Play math war with the facts. You can buy a math war game at your local education store. Or, you can use a deck of playing cards. To play-Each player puts down two cards. Add (or subtract or multiply) the two cards. The person with the highest answer wins both cards.


Sing the Multiples

Kids need to know how to count by 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 10s in math. Knowing these multiples will help in multiplication, division, telling time, counting money and beyond. Learning the 2s, 5s, and 10s seems to be pretty easy for kids. The 3s and 4s are a little more challenging. But, you can sing to learn the multiples and make 3s and 4s easy too.


3s song (tune Jingle Bells)

3,     6,   9,   12, 15,   18,     21,   24, 27, 30 now we’re done. Hey!

Jin-gle bells, jin-gle bells, jingle all the way


4s song (Row Row Row Your Boat)

4,       8,   12, 16,   20,   24,     28,   32,   36, and more

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream

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