A simple child-made countdown chart, leading up to a holiday or birthday, can be a marvelous way to add in some fun math games. Here are ten ways countdown charts can be used for all sorts of practical math skills.
Countdown chart :: fun math games
Using a simple child-made countdown chart in the lead up to a holiday, birthday or other celebration is a great way for children to learn a range of math skills.
These kind of every-day math activities:
:: make math real, and show children how math is a vital skill that everyone needs to learn about – not just some text-book, abstract ‘school work’ chore.
:: make math relevant to your child. How many buckets of water John can carry, or how fast train A is going might be interesting to some, but for most learners the lesson gets far more attention when the subject is directly related to them – it just makes things more personal.
:: make math fun. Everything is more fun when it’s linked to something exciting! Tying in math learning with something your child is excited about, like their birthday or a holiday, already fixes the activity in their mind as something fun
So, just by using a piece of card (in your child’s favourite colour, a pencil and a calendar to put together a simple countdown chart gives you the opportunity to…
#1 learn about time, talking about days, weeks and months, looking at how a date is written and how a calendar works
#2 count with a practical purpose, as you work out how many days until your big event
#3 count down for a change, as we so often count up
#4 work on one-to-one correspondence – that each section on their chart relates to one individual day
#5 divide, sharing the amount of space available on your chart between the number of days you need to have
#6 measure, using a ruler to work out how many centimeters each section of their chart needs to have
#7 think about parallel lines, as you make your chart as neat as you can
#8 practice writing numbers
#9 sneak in some writing too, as you give your countdown chart a heading and write in dates
#10 subtract, working out how many days you have until your party when you’ve already crossed out eleven days on your chart – exciting!
Differentiation and correcting mistakes
With a family or class of children, everyone can make their own individual chart, giving each person the chance to work on the skills that suit their own stage. And of course, you can adapt your expectations to suit each individual. When I might encourage my 10-year-old to think carefully about her spellings, I’m delighted that my 6-year-old is making a great attempt at writing down the sounds she hears in words. I also know my elder daughter is able to write her numbers the right way round, but with my younger one it’s more important in this activity to have a try at writing them, even if she has a wobble here and there.
Stick your chart up in a prominent place – which in our house is always the fridge door! – and you have an eye-catching pull to practice a little math thinking every day.
More fun math games
If you like this countdown chart idea and would like some more ways to include fun math in your day, i think you will love our
or browse our full math archive