More Outdoor (and Wet!) Math Games for Kids
Feeling inspired for some math in the sun? We sure are! Last May we rounded up the best ideas from our Community Classroom tutors and curated these seven outdoor math games for kids. The warm weather and sunshine have us yearning for more outdoor math game fun! But this time we decided to add a twist—some water. Learn how to turn water balloons into learning tools below!
Wet Outdoor Math Games
Wet Outdoor Math Game #1: Water Balloon Match and Splat
Ages: Preschool-2nd grade(ish)
What it teaches: number sense, counting, number representation, visually identify a number in a set without counting (for all of you fancy folks, that’s called “subitizing”)
Materials: Chalk, sidewalk, water balloons, water, permanent marker, clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet
The gist: Match sets of dots on a balloon to the correct written number on a sidewalk. When you find the match, throw the water balloon at it
The details: Fill balloons with water and tie. Draw sets of dots on each filled balloon (carefully, or you may get a cool off!). We used the numbers 0-10. Then write the numbers 0-10 in chalk on a sidewalk. You are ready to play!
Wet Outdoor Math Game #2: Product Number Squirt
What it teaches: Addition, subtraction, number recognition, multiplication, division, mathematical reasoning
The gist: Use empty toilet paper tubes or empty aluminum cans. Place numbers on each and put them in a line. Grab a water squirter and take aim! Find the sum, difference, product, or quotient of the tubes you knock over.
2-player variation: Be the first player to reach … (number). Take turns knocking down targets until the goal is reached!
The details: FInd them here.
Wet Outdoor Math Game #3:
Water Balloon Skip Counting
Ages: Toddler + (we recommend practicing counting with your child and then move to skip counting at about 5 or 6)
What it teaches: number sense, identifying patterns, addition, foundation of multiplication
Materials: water balloons, water, clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting wet
The gist: Throw a water balloon between partners as you practice skip counting. If you make it to or past 100, that person has to sit on and break the water balloon!
The details: Decide on what you will be counting by. Stand across from a partner. One person starts with the water balloon, and throws it to their partner, starting with the first number. The second person catches the balloon (hopefully!) and then throws the balloon back to their partner, stating the next number in the skip counting sequence.
Wet Outdoor Math Game #4:
Number Line Relay Race
Ages: Toddler +
What it teaches: number sense, identifying patterns, foundation of multiplication
Materials: 2 buckets per team, water balloons, a spoon per team, index cards, markers, chalk, a sidewalk, clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting wet
The gist: Participate in a classic relay race with a twist: follow a rule and step on the correct numbers on the number line to move all the water balloons from one place to another.
The details: For older kiddos (K-1st up): Have your kids make up rules that they can write on index cards. Or you can borrow some of our rules! Examples include: You can only step on odd numbers, you can only step on even numbers, you can only step on prime numbers, you can only step on multiples of 3, make up your own rules!
For younger kids: No rules! Just have them step on and count the numbers as they go. We also suggest not using a spoon for toddlers if that is too frustrating for them. Just let ‘em run and count!
Write one rule per card. Draw a number line in chalk on a sidewalk (we created a number line with 0-10). Fill up10 water balloons per team and place them in a bucket by the beginning of the number line. Place an empty bucket for each team at the top of the number line. Give each team a spoon. Each team must move all 10 balloons to the empty bucket at teh top of the number line. If a balloon bursts on the way, that balloon doesn’t count.
Feeling inspired for some more fun math games and ideas? Check out these additional resources:
- These outdoor math activities
- This list of teacher-recommended math games
- These directions to create your own math walk.