Math Stories

Posted In: All posts, Math

Playful Learning: Math Stories

When I was in elementary school, my Dad would often help me with my homework. He had a great way of incorporating stories into the work, and I always looked forward to that time with him. Children love stories and story telling and I’ve found that it’s easy for them to learn new things while lost inside a tale. With this thought in mind, we’ve started a new game around here that focuses on simple addition and subtraction. It started with a homework assignment, and has grown into something more…


Math Stories


All you need to play the game is a group of objects, preferably of the same nature. You can use a favorite set of toys or even dried beans.  We used a set of unfinished peg dolls for this post, but have also used ponies and paper dolls. The concept is simple, set up an invitation to play with your objects and perhaps and few little props. Take turns telling a story using your objects and props, inserting a few key questions about the amount of objects along the way. My children tend to like it when I tell the story and they do the counting and act it out with the objects.


Math Stories


For example, a story may go something like this…A group of people were spending an afternoon playing at the park. How many people were in the group? One Mom and her two children decided to go home for lunch.  Now how many people are left at the park? The stories can be as simple or complex as you’d like. My children really love counting and answering the questions. My oldest, six, is able to do the simple addition and subtraction easily, so I try to make the story a bit more complicated so she feels challenged. She also likes to make up stories herself. My four year old is fairly new to these concepts and loves counting the objects out each time to answer the questions. The objects serve as a great visual, concrete representation of mathematical concepts and the story makes things fun! Math Stories


Randi Edwards is a regular contributor to Playful Learning, who specializes in crafts for kids. She also manages our wonderful contributors and helps to make this a beautiful place with a little design magic. She puts her passion for daydreaming to work over at her blog, Swoon where she shares ideas, original projects, and favorite things. She loves to laugh and considers herself a lifelong student. She lives in Seattle with her husband and three young children, and strives to make her home a beautiful, playful, and accessible place to grow up.



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  1. This is great inspiration for me today, I’m beginning to work on addition for my kindergartener and I’m sure this will make it much more fun for him!

  2. I’m a dyslexia teacher and looking for multi sensory activities for students who have difficulties connecting letter sounds to form a word(s). And other activities that will help my students with multi sensory learning. You have some activities that I will use for math, they are great ideas. I’m interesting activities for 5th & 6th grade.
    Thank you

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