We use Making Math Meaningful by David Quine and I have to say I am head over heels for this math curriculum. My kids enjoy it and I enjoy doing it with them.
Mr. Quine breaks everything down for the kids and really takes his time explaining new concepts. Some of the curriculum we've tried in the past just rushed the kids along and provided formulas for them to memorize in order to figure out the problem. Mr. Quine teaches the kids why they are doing the things they're doing. It's not about getting through the curriculum, but about learning and enjoying it and understanding it.
One of my favorite things he uses to teach kindergartners is the greater than gator.
I used his idea to make this very quick and fun activity for my son....
I made this up in about 5 minutes, so I know you can too!! I used 3x5 cards and markers, 4 oz. mason jars and skittles. You could use anything you want in place of the skittles.
I wrote the numbers 1-10 on the back of index cards in bright, fun colors. I did this twice, so I would have two sets.
I cut smaller pieces out of an index card and created a gator on each one. A less than symbol and a greater than symbol for the mouth. Then, I embellished it for the imagination with teeth, body, and tail. Don't forget to make an "equal" sign!
The greater than gator is hungry, so he always goes for the jar with the most food in it!
I try to make sure that we keep the conversation fun and yet work in the math "lingo" like, 9 is greater than 4, 3 is less than 9 etc.
I change the number of skittles in the jar. He counts them. Then, he picks out the number card to match the number of skittles in the jar. Finally, he chooses which gator to use.
We also mix in some numbers that are equal.
He really enjoys this exercise as do I. I love hands on math over workbooks especially for younger kids.
I hope you enjoy the greater than gator!! :)