Math With Dice

Preschool math with dice -- free printable math games for addition and probability
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Colorful dice

I picked up a few big foam dice (i guess that would technically be “die”) recently, thinking we could probably use them somehow to do math with dice at home. The novelty of the size and color certainly helped make math a bit more enticing :).

{By the way, if you’ve been following my blog and read my last post about cultivating a love for reading and writing, don’t worry – I have several more posts coming in that series! I just happened to write this one this week and wanted to publish it now instead of waiting until my other series was finished ;).} 

Counting and writing numbers

I showed N how to roll (lol, more like throw, bounce, and drop!) the dice, then count the number of dots. We did a little bit of practice writing the numbers that matched each face of the dice. He prefers to always try to write numbers and letters on his own first, based on what he knows they look like … but as soon as he gets frustrated, he asks me for help ;). At that point, I’ll usually draw dots for the numbers/letters he wants help with, or bring out our food mats (see image below) with the alphabet or hundred chart so he can try to copy the one he wants.

Preschool math with dice -- free printable math games for addition and probability
Where did the 7 come from??

Simple Addition

It seemed like a great opportunity to practice addition (ha, aren’t they all?!) so I grabbed a piece of paper. He rolled the dice, drew the dots, wrote the numbers, then counted up the total number of dots to finish the equation. We made it through about 3 rounds of this before attention spans ran out 0_0.

Counting On

Later we worked on learning a new math trick: “counting on.” (If there’s a better name for this, please let me know!)

I taught him how he didn’t need to count from 1 every time he was adding. He could start with the biggest number, then count out the rest of the numbers. This was a little bit too abstract at first, so I tried to make it a bit more concrete.

I asked him which number was smaller (This is a good skill to practice too!) and he would hold up that many fingers. Then he would shout (because louder is always better when you’re four) the first number and touch his fingers one at a time to his nose while he counted up to find the total.

For example: To solve 5 + 4, he would figure out which number was smaller. (Usually if I ask him whether he would rather have 4 cookies or 5 he automatically understands how the numbers compare!) He would say “4” and hold up 4 fingers. Then he would shout “5!” then touch each of his four fingers to his nose as he continued counting “6, 7, 8, 9.”

FREE printable

I turned this activity into a bit more complete mini-unit on doing math with dice. I added in a section on probability, since it seemed like such a natural extension.

Preschool math with dice -- free printable math games for addition and probability
Working on the real worksheet

Here’s N doing the addition game using the fancier worksheet. 🙂 At first he wanted nothing to do with this, but as soon as I rolled the dice and started drawing dots he told me to stop because he wanted to do it. Yes, sir!

Here’s a preview of the complete mini-unit that I’ve made for you.

Preschool math with dice -- free printable math games for addition and probability

Preschool math with dice -- free printable math games for addition and probability

Preschool math with dice -- free printable math games for addition and probability

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