Mathing With Your Kids: Math Monsters!

Jan 25, 2016 | Sharyland



(Image via Macaroni Kid)

If there's one thing we love, it's a good math craft... especially when it doubles as a manipulative! Jennifer Schorr's adorable math monsters craft on Macaroni Kiddefinitely fits the bill, combining creative time with an opportunity to work with your kids on their number facts. All you need are some brightly colored paper, craft eyeballs/"googly eyes", scissors, clear contact paper, a dry erase marker... and your imagination! Check out her monster-making instructions here.

Once you've made your monsters, it's time for some mathing! With the dry erase marker, write a simple addition or subtraction problem on each monster. Then, have your child use the "googly eyes" to solve each problem. For instance, for "8 - 7 = _____," place eight eyes on the monster and then take away seven. Problem solved? Wipe it away and try another one!

Using certain phrases and breaking down problems into simpler components can help your child gain a more concrete understanding when numbers seem like abstract concepts! Here are some examples:


"Fill in the gap":

8 + ___ = 13

To find the missing number, we can fill in the gap between 8 and 13 by solving:

8 +___ = 10 and 10 +___ = 13

Once the two easier problems are solved, adding the two answers will give the child the desired result:

Since 8 + 2 = 10 and 10 + 3 = 13, the “gap” is 5 (2 + 3).


You can use "How much is left?" when the numbers are fairly far apart—as an example, think of 12 – 3 as "How much is left when you take 3 away from 12?"

Use "How far apart?" when the numbers are fairly close to each other—as an example, think of 12 – 9 as “How far is it from 9 up to 12?”

What's your favorite way to math with your kids?