My 4-year-old son Joey counts from 1 to 20. What other kindergarten interview math skills should he learn for kindergarten testing (FLI for Horace Mann/Riverdale) and admission?
- Place a handful of Legos, macaroni, Cheerios, etc, in a pile and ask your child to count. Successful counting will include moving the counted items away from the pile as Joey points and says one number for each object (1:1 correspondence).
- Play board games with dice – Joey can count the dots on one die and move the same number of spaces on a game board. Once he quickly labels the amount just by looking at a die (subitizing), have him use two dice. Joey should “count on” from the first die.
- Make sure Joey can count backward from 10 to 1 – a subtraction skill!
- A strong counter will understand that moving a handful of paperclips from one location to another won’t change the number of paperclips (number conservation).
Patterning and Sequencing
- Using different types of dry cereal, pasta, or different colored Legos, beads, or toys, start a pattern and have Joey complete it. Start with an AB pattern (e.g., Cheerio, Corn Pop, Cheerio, Corn Pop, etc.). Progress to these patterns: AAB, AABB, ABC, ABCD. Patterns will help Joey with reasoning and prediction.
- Time is a kindergarten interview math skill! Practice days of the week, months of the year, and seasons. When grasped, ask Joey, “What season comes before winter?” etc.
Recognize Numbers 1-20
- Write numbers 1-20 on small pieces of paper and mix them face-up. Your child can label them as they are picked up. Begin with picking the numbers up in order.
- For a challenge, add a polyhedral die to this task. Joey should label the number he rolls and find the matching number. He can place the numbers in order as he rolls them, which is a great opportunity to work on “before” and “after” (e.g., What comes before 6? What comes after 13?).
- Connect the dots are typically motivating.
Writing Numbers 0-9
- If Joey has trouble writing numbers, he may just need some practice. Sometimes providing language for number formation (Handwriting Without Tears) is helpful, or try these number rhymes.
- Tic Tac Toe – Instead of using X and O, target numbers he needs to practice. Say the number language together as each number is written for multi-sensory input.
- Phone number – Joey can practice writing your phone number, and he’ll learn the sequence.
Count to 100
- Start with counting by 10s! Write the sequence on index cards and place them a foot apart on the floor. Have Joey jump with two feet together from number to number as he labels them. Support him as needed, and when he’s ready, take the cards away.
- Missing Numbers 100s chart – Write in the missing numbers as Joey states them, and then have him count from 1-100 on his own. Next step – count 100 objects!
- Double Digit numbers – Joey can label random numbers you write.
- Combine skills – Encourage Joey to write the numbers of objects he counts.
- Make up fun addition and subtraction word problems. At first, answers should not exceed 5, and when he’s ready, answers should go up to 10, etc. Try to alternate addition and subtraction problems, and vary the lingo.
- Addition – altogether, all, in all, together, total, total number
- Subtraction – have left, minus, take away
- Anna had 5 soccer balls, but 2 rolled into the street! How many does she have left?
- Daddy ate 2 cookies, and then he ate 4 more. How many cookies did he have altogether?
- Pull math skills together with a fun math game like Sum Swamp where you can target following directions, addition, subtraction, recognizing symbols (+, -, =), understanding greater/more than vs. less than (bigger/smaller), 1:1 correspondence, and playing a competitive game.
- 2D shapes – Joey might identify and label basic shapes, but he should practice drawing them too. Count the sides of these shapes, and when he’s ready, practice polygons (e.g., pentagon, hexagon, octagon).
- 3D shapes – Talk about these shapes in your environment or pictures (e.g., the columns on The Met (cylinders), spin the Astor Place cube, check out the sphere at Columbus Circle, point out construction cones, look at the pyramid/tetrahedron of the VIA 57 West). Have a scavenger hunt in your home to find 3D shapes.
Measurement and Data
- Measurement terms are linked to language, so emphasize vocabulary as it comes up: comparisons (taller, heavier), prepositions (behind, next to), colors, materials, and sizes.
- Use a common object (e.g., spoon, crayon) to measure how long something is (e.g., couch, toy train track) and then compare the lengths.
If your child has difficulty with these kindergarten interview math skills, or you want to learn about other areas of NYC kindergarten testing and interviews or individualized kindergarten prep for your child, please reach out to me, Stephanie Sigal, at 646-295-4473 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!