12 Real-Life Word Problems for K-5 Math Practice

  • One key way for families to support learning at home is to incorporate real-life math word problems for children in grades K-5. Here are 12 at-home situations to give your student some grade-specific math practice at home.

    Kindergarten

    1. Ask your child questions that require counting as many as 20 things. For example, ask, “How many books do you have about dogs?”

    2. Ask your child questions that require comparing numbers up to 20. “Who has more grapes on his plate, you or your brother?”


    1st Grade

    3. If you open a new carton of a dozen eggs, and you use four eggs to make a cake, close the carton and ask your child how many eggs are left in the carton.

    4. Play the “I’m thinking of a number” game. For example, “I’m thinking of a number that makes 14 when added to 6. What is my number?”


    2nd Grade

    5. When measuring your child’s height, ask how many inches he or she has grown since the very first time you measured. How many inches since the last time you measured?

    6. When making a grocery list, look up prices online. Empty out the change jar and ask your child to count out the right coins to buy each item.


    3rd Grade

    7. Notice the everyday occasions when you find yourself using multiplication such as when you need to determine how many days there are in a certain number of weeks. Ask your child to help with the calculation, showing equal groups to prove his or her thinking.

    8. Involve your child when you notice yourself using division to “work backwards” in multiplication. For example, based on the available number of baby carrots in the bag, how many would your child and his or her siblings get at snack time? Ask your child to help you make equal shares to prove their thinking.


    4th Grade

    9. Ask your child to compare numbers using phrases like “times as much.” For example, “If the baby weighs 21 pounds and your brother weighs four times as much, how much does your brother weigh?”

    10. Ask your child to help you compare decimal or fractional amounts. For example, if one recipe calls for one-third of a cup of butter, but another recipe calls for three-fourths of a cup of butter, which recipe uses more butter?


    5th Grade

    11. When making a grocery list, look up prices online. Ask your student about helping you find the total if you were to buy several of one item. For example, “If I need to buy milk, and a gallon costs $2.59, how much would it cost me to buy three gallons of milk?”

    12. Ask your child to help you add fractional amounts. For example, if one recipe calls for one-third of a cup of butter, and a second calls for three-fourths cup of butter, how much butter would you need to have on hand to make both recipes?