Fun Math for Families

All Out May 1st

I’m planning to keep my kids out of school on May 1st (see: #AllOutMay1 and #SCforEd, and news coverage), but I’ve begun planning for mathematically themed activities for us to do together. Recognizing that I spend hours every day thinking about math, my kids, and math with my kids, I have a lot of resources and ideas about things to do, so I’m hoping to compile a list of resources here.

My goals for this list:

  • Activities must be fun for both adults and kids. Fun is my top priority.
  • My kids are young (age 5 and age 8), so I want things that don’t require too much background.
  • I want the list to be usable for parents of all sorts, not just those with backgrounds in STEM
  • Everything required should be stuff available in your house, so no fancy classroom toys, expensive building blocks, board games, etc.

I’ll toss together a few things I know about off the top of my head and I hope to add to this list as I find more resources! If you know of others that should be added, send me a tweet with a link: @katemath 

Fun & Cheap Activities for Family Mathematics

  1. My favorite PDF ever is by Joel David Hamkins (@JDHamkins)  and it’s on the “Fold & Cut Challenge.” All you need is to print it and find some scissors: PDF File for the entire project
  2. Alex Bellos (@alexbellos) has authored a couple of different pattern-based coloring books (like Patterns of the Universe), and they’re fabulous for both kids and adults. PDF File of some Sample Pages ready to print.
  3. Paula Krieg (@PaulaKrieg) is constantly doing beautiful math, usually involving geometry, origami, and tiling projects. She has so much great stuff I don’t know what to link to! Here’s “Origami Boats and Meandering Number Lines with 4-year-olds” and here’s a ton of materials about hexagons. Check the bottom for a link to a ton of PDFs for hexagon printing.
  4. Mike Lawler (@mikeandallie) is famous for Mike’s Math Page & his enjoyment of math with his kids, with hundreds (thousands?) of videos as evidence. Here’s his post “10 pretty easy to implement math activities for kids
  5. Dave Richeson (@divbyzero) made a cool Rubik’s Cube themed hexaflexagon. It’s a fun paper-folding project and turns out really well. My kids thought I was a magician when I showed them the one I made from Dave’s PDF.
  6. …stay tuned!

Right now I’m proctoring around 80 College of Charleston students working diligently on their Final Exams. They’ve all worked so hard this semester & I apologize for the typos in this post — it’s difficult to blog while cheering students on at the same time!

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