Looking for some stealthy ways to get your kids to learn? Check out these awesome 10 hands-on learning materials for sneaky math fun. Help your kids have have fun & learn when they don't even realize it!

Have you ever heard of “sneaky” or “stealth” school?  If so, you know the joys of helping your kids learn-when they don’t even realize it!  If not, find out how we use these 10 Hands-On Learning Materials For Sneaky Math Fun.

Get even more great Stealthy Homeschooling tips by scrolling down to end of this post and clicking over to iHomeschool Network.  A bunch of groovy homeschool bloggers are sharing their ideas and resources for incorporating sneaky school into homeschooling.  Use these tips to engage your kids while you slip in some educational fun.  Isn’t the flexibility and creativity of homeschooling a blast?

What Is “Sneaky” Math (Or School)?


Let’s chat a bit more about sneaky math (or school for a more general approach to learning) before I share my tips for hands-on learning for math fun.  Think back over your parenting experiences.  How many times did you hit a bump in helping your kids understand or master a concept?  Maybe tying shoe laces or remembering home phone number was not clicking?  What did you do to teach your child these skills?

I bet that you figured out a way to teach your child based on how they learn.  You considered your child’s age, personality, and skill level.  Possibly, you thought about how they process information and comprehend communication.

With those factors accounted for and considered, you found a way to grab your child’s attention.  You understood that if you don’t have their focus that they will never get what you are trying to teach them.  How did you get their attention?  Sing a song?  Provide a focal point for your child to concentrate on?  Maybe draw a picture to provide a visual representation of the concept?

In any case, the steps that you took to teach your child a new concept very well could have been “sneaky school”.  Your child probably had no idea that they were learning a new skill.  They were more than likely caught up in that song or picture.10 #Hands-On Learning Materials For Sneaky #Math Fun #ihsnet Click To Tweet

Sneaky school is great for a variety of reasons in homeschooling.  If you have a reluctant learner, sneaky school can help you get their attention.  For kids who struggle in one or more subject areas, sneaky school can provide a positive atmosphere with less stress.  Most importantly, sneaky school is just plain fun.  It helps you and your kids break out of traditional approaches to education and discover new ways to cover subjects.

10 Hands-On Learning Materials For Sneaky Math Fun

Math is often one of the most dreaded subject areas in homeschooling.  Textbooks and worksheets work for some kids but can become boring and repetitive.  Math drills and problems can seem dry and are ineffective for some students.

Hands-on learning materials are fantastic for having some sneaky math fun.  These types of activities are often used for younger kids but I encourage you to consider their use for all ages and types of math.  I provide a few examples with each of these activities and hope that you continue the creative learning fun by hatching your own ideas for hands-on math activities for all.

1. Playdough:

I love using playdough in our homeschool!  I love using playdough in our homeschool!It is my #1 go-to material for teaching concepts.  All of my boys-ages 2 to 13-use playdough build, construct, and demonstrate.  There is something special about the texture and transforming qualities that make this learning material so great.  We create anything from simple to complex, real to imaginary.

Possible Uses:  counting, patterns, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, geometric shapes, practicing numbers (toothpick works great as a stylus) and problems, measurement, skip counting

 

2.  Pom Poms:

Colorful and soft, pom poms are super fun for sneaky math.  Little fingers can benefit from manipulating smaller sizes into piles or empty ice cube trays.  The addition of plastic tweezers can increase fine motor skills practice.

Possible Uses:  counting, patterns, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, word problems, arrays, skip counting

 

3.  Small Toys

You know those small cheap toys that all families somehow end up accumulating?  The ones that you wonder how you got them and why you don’t throw them away?  Well, don’t throw them away!  Use them for some sneaky math fun! Gather all those small toys, especially the ones that your kids absolutely adore, and put them to use.

Possible Uses:  counting, patterns, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, word problems, measurement, skip counting, comparisons, graphing

 

4.  Buttons

I shared 10 frugal ways we use buttons in our homeschool.  Buttons are great for working on fine motor skills.

Possible Uses:  counting, skip counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, word problems, graphing, patterns

 

5.  Nature

Head outside and do some sneaky math!  Or bring all those lovely nature materials like acorns, sticks, rocks, and leaves indoors for math time.  One of the most frugal ways to enjoy sneak math!

Possible Uses:  counting, skip counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, word problems, measurement, graphing, patterns

 

6.  Stickers

Who doesn’t love stickers?  In a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, stickers are super fun for use in sneaky math. Your kids can even make their own stickers!

Possible Uses:  counting, skip counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, word problems, graphing, forming geometric shape (trace line on paper and cover), patterns

7.  Pipe Cleaners

These bendable materials are great for sneaky math.  Twist into shapes for geometry practice.  Cut into small pieces and form bundles.  My boys have used pipe cleaners to practice tally marks.

Possible Uses:  counting, skip counting, patterns, tally marks, geometry (shapes), measurement, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, word problems, graphing, forming numbers

8.  Water

A small tub or even the sink can provide hours of sneaky math fun.  Kids visualize and experience a variety of math skills.

Possible Uses:  word problems, comparisons, volume, measurement, addition, subtraction

 

9.  Healthy Snacks

It seems like when we include food in any subject, my boys instantly come to attention.  Pretzel sticks, crackers, string cheese, and raisins can be used for math manipulatives and snack time.

Possible Uses:  counting, skip counting, patterns, tally marks (pretzel sticks & string cheese) , geometry (shapes), measurement, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, word problems, graphing, forming numbers (draw number on paper and cover with snack)

10.  Candy

Candy can be a fabulous way to have occasional sneaky math fun.  We have used several books that demonstrate math concepts with candy.  My boys LOVE when I bring a bag of candy to our homeschool table.  They do not care what they have to do as long as they can get some special treat at the end!

Possible Uses:  counting, skip counting, patterns, tally marks (Twizzlers®) , geometry (shapes), addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, word problems, graphing, forming numbers (draw number on paper and cover with snack)

 

What type of hands-on learning materials do you use for sneaky math?
How else would you use the suggested materials?

Part of iHomeschool Network’s Hands-On Homeschooling Ideas Link-Up:

Get great hands-on homeschooling ideas at iHomeschool Network's link-up!

Don’t forget to click below to discover more great Stealth Homeschooling Ideas & Tips!

Discover tips on sneaky math fun & more stealth homeschooling ideas over at iHomeschool Network!