I know most of us grew up playing hopscotch and didnt think twice about what math skills we might be learning. But when your little one is playing hopscotch, he or she is interacting with a lifesize number line. And children learn so naturally through movement.
So, on this pretty day, I propose that you get outside with your little one, chalk up a hopscotch grid OR go to your local park or school that has a hopscotch painted on the concrete and keep these skills in mind:
1. Counting practice – draw the hopscotch with numbers up to twenty! I know that is a long hopscotch but children need more practice with numbers 10-20.
Start off just asking your little one to help you count the number spaces out in order.
2. Identifying numbers
Try to hop on one foot from 1 to 20 so that your little one has to identify the numbers in one- to- one correspondance. If you toss a rock to a number, have them call out the number they are hopping to and then call out the numbers they hop on to get there.
3. Identify the numbers coming before or after a given number
After playing the game regularly at first, tell your little one that it’s time to play a new version of the game. “This time we are going to play ‘hop to the number that comes BEFORE the number that the rock lands on.'” Play this again but then hopping to the number that comes AFTER the number the rock lands on.
4. Identifying a number coming between two numbers.
Play “Can You hop to the number that comes between _ and __.”
5. Count forward or backward from a given number.
Have your little one count out loud as he/she hops forward or backward from the number they land on. You want your little one to have the skill of knowing how to “count on” or “count back” from any given number because this will help your little one solve math problems in the future.
6. You can even use the hopscotch grid to practice simple addition and subtraction:
-examples of addition: if you hop one space and then two more what number will you land on? (three) or if you are on the number five and hop two spaces what number will you land on? (seven)
-examples of subtraction: if you are on the number 8 and you hop back three spaces what number will you land on? (five). Or, if you are on the number three and hop back two spaces which number would you land on? (one)
Did you have any idea there could be six plus versions of hopscotch teaching all those skills? Have fun!