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Welcome to my Spring Series called “Bringing Spring into your Homeschool”. Today’s post is by Rachel Margaillan about bringing your math lessons outdoors. Check out her bio below and enjoy reading! Also make sure to check out other posts in this series and guest author bios by clicking on “Bringing Spring into your Homeschool” under Blog in the menu.

To Bring Spring into the Math Lessons or the Math Lessons out in the Spring?

Written by Rachel Margaillan | April 23, 2018

Hi , I Am Rachel, I grew up in the French Alps, studied and taught music, traveled around a bit and taught in some schools and orphanages in Africa  and Ukraine . I settled down in Italy in beautiful Tuscany, with my awesome Italian husband. We have 3 wonderful  kids and I am homeschooling them, my boys are 9 and 8  and my girl is turning 5 soon. I want to give my kids a love for learning and a strong foundation in God’s word.  One year ago I started a blog, “Je joue,tu joues, nous apprenons”   (In English ” I play, you play , we learn”)  to share with other moms  educative material that I created for my kids, like readers,  grammar and Math games and activities in French and English. My favorite  teaching approach  is  games and stories.  I  also want to share my experiences with other moms in the hope that it can be an encouragement to them as well as to provide them with resources that can be  a blessing. My guest post will be about trading the worksheets for Math games that you can play outside in the spring sunshine. these ideas of games  can be  adapted to different levels and topics as you follow your curriculum or planned lessons. online and on the show!

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Spring is finally here! I don’t know where you live, but here in Italy spring really took it’s time to come by! We have been talking about spring for a while, doing art or craft projects about spring. We found some cute flowery or full of bunnies sight words work sheets or math activities. This is all great but now kids are eager to experience spring outside! In fact I have the hardest time making them sit at their desk more than half an hour in a row these days! We have a famous saying in French (oh yes, I forgot to mention, we live in Italy but I’m French) that comes from a classic movie. It says: “If you don’t come to Lagardère (He is a knight or something like that), Lagardère will come to you” well I changed it to “If you don’t come to the Math lesson, the Math lesson will come to you!”

Anyways, here is a list of games and activities that you can adapt to different levels and topics depending on what you are studying at the moment. Most of them require very little preparation, some not at all.

Games for additions and subtractions

1. Simple treasure hunt

Very easy to prepare. On a piece of paper, you write an addition or a subtraction and fold it , write the answer on the cover of the next one and a new addition on the inside of it. It goes on like that.

Kids open the first addition( or subtraction) and search for the paper that has the right result. When they find the right answer they open the slip of paper, read the new addition and continue the hunt. make sure to hide a little treasure at the end , (stickers, a little snack…)

2. Mouse and cat game

You need a place where you can write with chalk on the ground like a driveway, or a paved yard. If not you could also use big squares or circles of cardboard dispatched on the lawn.

Trace circles with chalk big enough for kids to stand inside them . Inside the circles write an addition ( or subtraction) . Choose math problems that all equal for example 8, 9 or 10.

How to play:

You are the cat and you call out :” I’m going to catch all the mice that are not safely standing on the circles that make ten! They have to think and move fast! If they are not on the right circle then it’s their turn to be the “Cat” or you can chose that they are “out” for one turn . The cat continues the game by announcing ” everybody goes on spaces that makes 8…”

Games for Multiplications or Divisions

1. “Mother May I”

You probably played that game when you were a kid. One person stands or sits at one end of the yard and the others stand in line at a distance . One person in the group asks the person in the front, “Mother, how many steps can I take ?” The person at the front then says, “You may take five times four ants steps, or 21 divided by 3 bunny hops , two times seven monkey steps , 24 divided by 4 frog leaps… or whatever you like . The first person to tag the person in the front wins and is the next person in the front

2. Basketball Division Game

For boys and girls who love basketball…

You call out “the challenge is to put 12 baskets divided by 3 players. How many baskets do we need to put each ?” when completed you continue ” 8 baskets divided by 4″ or “24 baskets divided by 6”.

3. Simon Says

Simon says: “let’s review the 3 times table!” Simon says: “three times one pat on your head”, Simon says: “three times two jumping Jacks”, Simon says: ” three times three push-ups”…

4. Scrambling and Aiming

You have some paper to recycle? ( From Daddy’s office or from old worksheets. ) Bring also some shoe boxes or little baskets and a marker . Put stickers on the baskets or boxes with the products o the multiplication table you’re learning . Write the multiplications on the papers . Kids take turns to pick them, have fun scrambling them into a ball and throwing them into the basket that has the right answer.

5. Snack Time

Pick up berries, cherries or plums ( we have plum trees that give LOTS of plums ) and share equally for each kids ,or divide fruits in little baskets for neighbors ( equally shared also!)

Skip Counting and Multiples

 1. Jump and skip

On a driveway , sidewalk or a cemented alley, draw lines across that would look like a ladder. In between the lines write numbers from 1 to 40 or 50 if you can. Tell kids to jump on the numbers to skip count by twos , then by threes…

2. Mouse and cat

Same as for the addition game , but this time write numbers that are all the multiples of 5 for example, write also some that will not be . You announce ” every one finds a safe circle on a multiple of 5. The game continues as you tell everyone to change place each time they all found a circle.


1. Collections

Send kids to collect pebbles, sticks, rocks, leaves of different colors or shapes ,feathers, flowers…anything they want.

Gather your treasures together and on a white board classify them using fractions.

It would look something like that : “On a total of 24 objects, how may are flowers?

6/24 are flowers. And on a total of 6 flowers how many are yellow? 2/6 are yellow.”

You can also ask: “How many rocks? Show me ¼ of the rocks.” Possibilities are endless.

It’s also possible to do it with toys like we did: “in this group of animals how many are mammals? 8/10 are mammals.”

 2. Frog and Bunny Races

You need ropes or strings, and laundry pegs, little white boards and markers.

Get 2 ropes of same length write 0 on one end and 1 on the other (write on paper and clip in with peg). Using the laundry pegs divide the ropes in parts for example in 20 parts.

Kids throw their dice and if they get 4, they write it as a fraction: 4/20 and jump 4 parts. Next turn if for example they make 5 , they need to write 4/20 + 5/20 is 9/20 and jump till there.

For more advanced kids you can work on equivalent fractions by dividing the first rope in parts for example in 16 parts, and the other rope in 8 parts.

The child who is the bunny gets 2 dices and gets the rope divided in more sections. The other child is the frog and gets the rope divided in less parts and one dice. Now the goal of the game is to see if kids can arrive at same point to create an equivalent fraction .

3. Bike ride, Car ride or Walk

(Works better if you have a GPS, or a speedometer for bikes or something like that)

Count how much of the way you still need to go: we have 6 km to go, we already went 2 km. We went 2 /6 or 1/ 3 already. We still have 2/3 to go.

The park is one km away from our house. We approximatively walked 7/10 how much do we still need to do?

Area and perimeter

Measure your front yard, back yard, build a flower patch or a vegetable corner or a sand box, calculate the perimeter and the area.

Measuring the perimeter of the vegetable garden and putting a fence ( Rabbits are cute but salad and carrots are for us!)

Ok that’s all for now! And it would be fun to hear which games you tried and which ones were the favorites or your kids.

Have fun!

Check out more of Rachel’s most popular posts below.

Amber Marie

Welcome to my homeschooling blog. I’m a former educator turned homeschool mom. Homeschooling is a relatively new adventure for our family. Click my picture to learn more about my story and why I homeschool my family.

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