What Math Is Taught In Kindergarten?

Written by Dan

Last updated

As a parent, you want to ensure your child gets the best education possible. Math is one of the most essential elements in their schooling, and there’s no better time to start learning math than kindergarten.

But with so many math concepts available – from counting numbers and shapes to measurements and problem-solving – it can be difficult to figure out what is taught in kindergarten classrooms today.

In this blog post, we’ll break down all the essential topics covered in kindergarten math classes to prepare you for your child’s educational journey!

Related: For more, check out our article on What Science Is Taught In Kindergarten  here.

What Math Is Taught In Kindergarten?

The Common Core Math Standards for Kindergarten

The Common Core Math Standards for Kindergarten are designed to provide a strong foundation in mathematical concepts and skills for young learners.

These standards focus on developing critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and a deep understanding of math principles students will build upon throughout their educational journey.

The Kindergarten Math Standards are organized into five domains: Counting and Cardinality, Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Numbers and Operations in Base Ten, Measurement and Data, and Geometry.

1. Counting and Cardinality

In this domain, students learn the basic principles of counting and develop an understanding of numbers. They will be able to:

  • Recognize and count numbers from 1 to 100
  • Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities
  • Compare numbers and identify greater than, less than, or equal to
  • Develop strategies for counting objects in various arrangements

2. Operations and Algebraic Thinking

Students in Kindergarten begin to explore simple mathematical operations and algebraic thinking. They will learn how to:

  • Understand addition as putting together and subtraction as taking apart
  • Solve addition and subtraction word problems within 10
  • Fluently add and subtract within 5
  • Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 in more than one way

3. Number and Operations in Base Ten

This domain focuses on helping students understand the place value system and working with numbers 11-19. They will learn to:

  • Compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 using place value concepts
  • Understand that the numbers 11-19 are composed of a ten and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones

4. Measurement and Data

Students will learn about measurement and data collection in Kindergarten, including:

  • Describing measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight
  • Directly comparing two objects with a measurable attribute in common
  • Classifying objects into categories and counting the number of objects in each category

5. Geometry

In the Geometry domain, Kindergarten students will explore shapes and their properties. They will learn to:

  • Identify and describe shapes (squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, hexagons, cubes, cones, cylinders, and spheres)
  • Analyze, compare, and create shapes using attributes such as sides and angles
  • Understand concepts of spatial sense, including above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to
  • Model shapes in the world by building and drawing

By mastering these Common Core Math Standards for Kindergarten, students will develop essential mathematical skills that serve as the foundation for their future education and success in mathematics.

Understanding The Concept Of Addition and Subtraction 

Here’s a closer look at how addition and subtraction are introduced to kindergarteners.

Introducing Addition

Addition is the process of combining two or more numbers to find their total or sum. Children learn addition through hands-on activities, engaging visuals, and simple number sentences in kindergarten. Here are some ways to introduce an addition to kindergarteners:

  1. Using manipulatives: Provide students with small objects like counting bears, blocks, or buttons to help them visualize the process of adding numbers together. For example, if you want to teach them 3 + 2, give them three objects and then add two more, asking them to count the total.
  2. Number lines: Draw a number line on the board or use a printed one to show students how to add by counting forward. Start at the first number and have students move forward the number of spaces equal to the second number.
  3. Simple number sentences: Write basic addition sentences on the board, such as 1 + 1 = 2 or 4 + 3 = 7, and ask students to solve them using their fingers, manipulatives, or a number line.

Introducing Subtraction

Subtraction is the process of removing a certain number of items from a group to find the remaining amount, or difference. Like addition, subtraction can be taught using hands-on activities, visuals, and simple number sentences. Here are some ways to introduce subtraction to kindergarteners:

  1. Using manipulatives: Give students a specific number of objects and ask them to take away a smaller number of those objects. For example, if you want to teach them 5 – 2, give them five objects, ask them to remove two, and then count the remaining objects.
  2. Number lines: Use a number line to show students how to subtract by counting backward. Start at the first number and have them move back the number of spaces equal to the second number.
  3. Simple number sentences: Write basic subtraction sentences on the board, such as 6 – 3 = 3 or 8 – 4 = 4, and ask students to solve them using their fingers, manipulatives, or a number line.

Reinforcing the Concepts

To help kindergarteners build a strong understanding of addition and subtraction, it’s essential to provide ample opportunities for practice and reinforcement. Incorporate fun activities like interactive games, puzzles, and story problems that engage students in applying their newly acquired skills.

Additionally, incorporate real-life situations where children can see the practical applications of addition and subtraction, such as counting items in a grocery store, sharing toys with friends, or dividing snacks among siblings.

Introducing the concepts of addition and subtraction in kindergarten is crucial for building a solid foundation in mathematics.

Young learners can develop a strong understanding of these essential mathematical operations by using hands-on activities, engaging visuals, simple number sentences, and providing practice opportunities.

Understanding Basic Geometry Principles 

Geometry is the branch of mathematics that deals with shapes, sizes, spatial relationships, and properties of figures. Children are introduced to basic geometry principles in kindergarten by exploring two-dimensional (2D) shapes and three-dimensional (3D) objects.

By learning about these foundational concepts, young learners can develop their spatial reasoning skills and lay the groundwork for more advanced mathematical concepts. Here’s an overview of how basic geometry principles are introduced to kindergarteners.

Learning About 2D Shapes

In kindergarten, students begin by learning to identify and describe common 2D shapes such as circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles. They explore the properties of these shapes, including the number of sides and corners. Teachers can use various strategies to introduce and reinforce these concepts:

  1. Shape recognition: Show students different examples of each regular and irregular shape and encourage them to name and describe the shapes they see.
  2. Sorting activities: Provide a collection of 2D shapes and ask students to sort them into groups based on their properties, such as the number of sides or corners.
  3. Shape creation: Give students materials like straws, pipe cleaners, or popsicle sticks to create their 2D shapes, then discuss the properties of each shape they create.
  4. Shape hunt: Encourage students to search for and identify 2D shapes in their environment, such as in the classroom, on the playground, or at home.

Exploring 3D Objects

Kindergarteners also learn about 3D objects like cones, cylinders, spheres, cubes, and rectangular prisms. They explore the properties of these objects, including the faces, edges, and vertices. Teachers can introduce and reinforce these concepts using a variety of strategies:

  1. Object recognition: Show students different examples of each 3D object and encourage them to name and describe the things they see.
  2. Comparing objects: Provide students with various 3D objects and ask them to compare and contrast their properties, such as the number of faces, edges, or vertices.
  3. Building objects: Give students materials like blocks, playdough, or paper to create their own 3D objects, then discuss the properties of each object they create.
  4. Object hunt: Encourage students to search for and identify 3D objects in their environment, such as in the classroom, on the playground, or at home.

Developing Spatial Reasoning Skills

Spatial reasoning is understanding and manipulating shapes, objects, and figures in space. Kindergarteners can develop their spatial reasoning skills through activities that involve:

  1. Patterning: Encourage students to create and extend patterns using 2D shapes and 3D objects.
  2. Symmetry: Introduce the concept of symmetry by showing students examples of symmetrical shapes and objects, and have them create their own symmetrical designs.
  3. Positional language: Teach students words like above, below, beside, in front of, and behind, and encourage them to use this language to describe the position of shapes and objects about one another.
  4. Transformations: Help students explore basic transformations like flipping (reflection), sliding (translation), and turning (rotation) with 2D shapes.

Introducing basic geometry principles in kindergarten is vital for building a solid foundation in mathematics. By teaching young learners about 2D shapes, 3D objects, and developing their spatial reasoning skills, they can understand essential geometric concepts that will serve them well in their future math education.

Surveying How To Count and Identify Numbers 

Teaching young children how to count and identify numbers is crucial to their early education. In kindergarten, students develop their number sense, the foundation for more advanced mathematical concepts.

1. Number Sense Activities

Introducing number sense activities early in kindergarten helps children build a strong foundation in counting and number recognition. Some engaging activities include:

a. Counting Objects

Give students various objects like blocks, buttons, or beads, and encourage them to count them. This hands-on approach helps children connect the concept of counting with real-world objects.

b. Number Matching Games

Create a simple matching game by pairing cards with numerals on one side and the corresponding number of objects (such as dots or shapes) on the other. Children can then match the numeral cards to the object cards, reinforcing their understanding of numbers.

c. Number Line Activities

Create a number line on the floor using tape or paper, and have students practice counting and identifying numbers by hopping along the line. This kinesthetic activity helps reinforce number recognition and sequencing.

2. Songs and Rhymes

Incorporating songs and rhymes into the curriculum can make learning to count and identify numbers more enjoyable for young children. Songs like “Five Little Monkeys” and “Ten in the Bed” encourage children to count down from a specific number, while “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” introduces number sequencing.

3. Visual Aids

Visual aids such as posters, flashcards, and number charts can help children become familiar with numerals and their corresponding values. Please encourage students to practice identifying numbers by pointing to the numeral on the visual aid and asking them to say it aloud.

4. Group Activities

Group activities can help promote teamwork and collaboration while teaching children to count and identify numbers. For example, have students sit in a circle and take turns counting aloud, or play a game where children must find a partner with a matching number card.

5. Incorporating Technology

Educational apps and websites offer interactive games and activities to help children practice counting and number recognition. Using technology can make learning more engaging and enjoyable for young children, but balancing screen time with hands-on activities and social interactions is essential.

Helping kindergarten students develop strong counting and number identification skills is vital for their future success in mathematics. By incorporating various techniques, such as hands-on activities, songs, visual aids, group activities, and technology, teachers can create an engaging and supportive learning environment that fosters the development of essential early math skills.

Compare Different Numeric Values

Kindergarten is a crucial stage for children to start building their foundation in mathematics. One of the essential skills they need to learn at this age is comparing different numeric values, such as lengths and weights. By introducing these concepts through engaging activities and hands-on experiences, educators can help kindergarteners develop a strong understanding of basic math concepts.

Introducing Length and Weight

Introduce the vocabulary related to these concepts to begin teaching kindergarteners about length and weight comparisons. Use simple terms like “long,” “short,” “heavy,” and “light” to describe various objects in the classroom. Encourage students to use these words when discussing the properties of different items.

Hands-on Activities for Comparing Lengths

  1. Sorting by Length: Provide students with a collection of objects, such as pencils, crayons, or toy cars. Ask them to sort the items into groups based on their length – shortest to longest or vice versa. This activity will help students develop their observation skills and understand the concept of ordering by size.
  2. Measuring with Non-Standard Units: Teach students how to measure the length of objects using non-standard units, like paper clips, blocks, or their own hands. This activity will give them a concrete understanding of length and help them relate it to familiar objects.
  3. Creating a Classroom Length Chart: Using butcher paper or a large piece of poster board, create a length chart that students can add to throughout the year. Encourage students to find objects in the classroom that are the same length as the items already on the chart. This ongoing project will help reinforce the concept of comparing lengths and give students a visual representation of different sizes.

Hands-on Activities for Comparing Weights

  1. Balancing Scales: Introduce students to weight by using a simple balance scale. Allow students to experiment with different items, placing them on each side of the scale to compare their weights. Discuss which items are heavier or lighter and encourage students to make predictions before placing the objects on the scale.
  2. Weight Sorting: Provide students with various objects and ask them to sort them based on their weight – lightest to heaviest or vice versa. This activity will help students develop their estimation skills and understand ordering by weight.
  3. Weighing with Non-Standard Units: Teach students how to measure the weight of objects using non-standard units, such as small blocks or marbles. Have them count how many units it takes to balance the scale with the object they’re weighing. This hands-on activity will give students a concrete understanding of weight and help them relate it to familiar objects.

Incorporating these engaging activities into your kindergarten curriculum can help young learners develop a strong foundation in comparing numeric values, such as lengths and weights. These hands-on experiences will make math fun and lay the groundwork for more advanced mathematical concepts in the future.

Practical Problem-Solving Strategies In Math

1. Counting Objects

One of the simplest ways to introduce problem-solving in math is through counting activities. Kindergarten students can practice counting objects like blocks, buttons, or toys.

This helps them understand the concept of numbers and their values. Teachers and parents can encourage children to count objects in groups, such as counting by twos, fives, or tens, to enhance their understanding of number patterns.

2. Using Manipulatives

Manipulatives are physical objects that children can handle and manipulate to explore mathematical concepts. Examples include blocks, beads, counters, and puzzles.

Using manipulatives allows kindergarten students to visualize problems and experiment with different solutions. This hands-on approach helps them better understand mathematical principles and improves their problem-solving skills.

3. Drawing Pictures

Encouraging students to draw pictures can be an effective strategy for solving math problems. By illustrating the problem, children can visualize it more clearly, which helps them understand the relationships between numbers and quantities.

For example, if the problem involves adding two groups of objects, students can draw the objects and then count the total number of items in both groups.

4. Acting Out Problems

Kindergarten students often learn best through play and movement. Acting out math problems can help them understand the concepts in a fun and engaging way.

Teachers and parents can create simple story problems that involve actions like jumping, clapping, or walking a certain number of steps. This helps children associate the numbers with physical actions, making it easier for them to grasp the concept.

5. Using Number Lines

Number lines are a visual representation of numbers that help students understand the order and relationships between them. A simple number line can be used in kindergarten to teach basic addition and subtraction problems. Presenting problems using a number line helps students see the connection between numbers and provides a strategy for solving problems involving larger numbers.

6. Encouraging Communication

Discussing math problems and solutions with peers or adults can help kindergarten students develop their problem-solving skills. Teachers and parents should encourage children to explain their thinking and reasoning when solving a problem. This helps them learn to articulate their thought process and deepens their understanding of mathematical concepts.

Teaching practical problem-solving strategies in math to kindergarten students is essential for building a strong foundation in mathematics.

By incorporating activities like counting objects, using manipulatives, drawing pictures, acting out problems, and using number lines, teachers and parents can help young learners develop the skills they need to become confident problem solvers.

It is essential to be informed about what math topics are taught in kindergarten and beyond. Equipping children with the knowledge of math concepts at an early age can help them succeed in future mathematics courses and other academic subjects.

Math activities also provide many benefits for children; they engage students, help children understand the world around them, and build problem-solving skills. Kindergarten teachers are an essential part of this process, using hands-on experiences to give children the necessary understanding of mathematics.

It is through a teacher’s efforts that allow children to make the connection between abstract concepts and concrete objects, which makes mathematics comprehensible.

As parents and educators, we should feel encouraged to support our kindergarteners’ knowledge and increase their understanding of each math concept to ensure continued growth in the future.

So let us all encourage our young ones while they learn as much as they can during this critical stage of learning! For more information on the learning process of maths in kindergarten, please read our other articles on this topic!

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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