Number Stories at the Park

Number stories, a.k.a. word problems, are very common in the elementary years. My daughters have been solving them and writing their own from the point where they first starting doing basic addition. I talked earlier about what they are and how parents can help with number story homework, and now I want to share some fun ways to practice this math concept.
As far as I’m concerned, my kids get plenty of time with workbooks and worksheets in the classroom and for homework. If we’re going to do some extra practice at home, I want to do something different. I want to make it fun for them, but still help reinforce the skills they are learning in school. Luckily, with number stories, there are so many fun things you can do with your child.
Come along! Let’s head to the park for some number stories at the playground.


It’s so easy to squeeze in a few minutes of extra math practice while your kids are enjoying the park. (And it doesn’t even have to be the park, we were using our backyard play set.) All you need is your imagination and a knowledge of the skills your child needs to work on. Right now we’re still at the subtraction stage with my oldest and my youngest is doing basic addition.
As the kids are playing, work together to come up with your number stories. Incorporate the stories into your play.
For example:
If E slid down the slide 2 times and A slid down the slide 5 times. How many times did they slide down all together? 

Let them slide to find out!

If there are 5 steps on the ladder and E climbs up 3 steps. How many steps does she have left to climb?

Let them climb to find out!

What else can you and your child come up with?
If there are 10 kids at the park and 3 go home, how many kids are left?
If there are 3 kids on the swing set and each swings 5 times, how many times did they swing altogether? (Yes, you can throw in some multiplication.)
Use the playground for inspiration. Use movement to help solve problems. Challenge your kids to come up with their own ideas. And when you’re done…
You’re already at the park, so have fun and play!
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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her at Better Than Homework where she shares fun learning activities or Creative Family Fun where she shares art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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