Skip to main content

Easy Math Games with Dice

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is nothing like the genius that is the Montessori math materials. Nothing. If I can give my kids anything, it is the concrete understanding of the mathematical world that Montessori brings. That being said, I can't have all the math materials in my home. I just can't. I don't have that kind of space, experience, or money. What I can do is try to provide opportunities for concrete math experiences that support their learning at school - especially now when we find ourselves suddenly homeschooling for the foreseeable future. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

One way that we have done this lately with Nora (5 years) and Henry (9 years) is with dice games. Both are at very different stages in their math journeys but can use this same material to meet their needs. It's a very simple set up including: 
  • 10 sided dice. These dice have number 0 to 9 on them so they work really well. Regular dice also work they just can't build as big of numbers. 
  • Number tiles. Ours were from a thrift store and are glass, but really any number cards would work. You could try a wooden option, or even making numbers with paper. 
  • Tray. Keep it all organized!
There are two ways that we use this material for the bigger kids. One is for slightly younger kids, once they are very familiar with concrete number work but still working on the abstract language of building numbers. 

Building Numbers (4 to 6 years) 

Nora is at this stage. She understands numbers and even can do fairly complicated functions. But she is still learning the language of numbers and remembering to build them from left to right. So, for her this game is about language. She rolls the dice and then builds that number from the tiles. Then she has to name the number she makes. 

So here, she rolled. Made the 65 and then has to say "sixty-five." She's learning that it's not the same number to put the 5 first and remembering the proper name for "six tens." Over time, we will add in the other dice from the set so she is building and naming bigger and bigger numbers with ease. 

Math Facts (6 to 9 years)

Now, for Henry, he is very comfortable with the language of numbers but he is working on other skills - memorizing math facts. He is personally on multiplication, but other children might be working on addition or subtraction. We used a variation on this game for years to help make facts fun and concrete. So what we do is roll the dice and then he has to build the sum of the numbers shown. 

Since children in the second plane often like working together and games, I will often also roll and we will record our totals. Then after a certain number of rounds, we will add up who got the highest total. It creates an additional larger math work into a fun and concrete game. 

These Montessori inspired activities are perfect educational ways to bring math into your home for older kids. This easy setup helps to make math concrete and fun.

And that's it! It's an easy way to incorporate some math into your home whether your kids are in school or not. How do you bring math skills into your home with your older kids? 



Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 

So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return. 

That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains, 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
"A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables a…

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…