about the program

Math Magic is an in-person game-based math pilot program that focuses on building number sense and fundamental math skills for preschoolers and K-5 students. Through fun activities like group games, magic, puppet shows, and storytelling, we will help children to construct an in-depth understanding of math concepts and skills.This pilot program is part of our effort to provide families and educators with resources to help children to achieve in-depth math understanding in a fun and relaxing way. Please visit our website CoconutMath for our online resources.

motivation for the program

Early math skills are by far the number one predictor of later academic achievement, ahead of reading and attention skills. Yet there is a lack of awareness of this importance and a lack of resources to help children build number sense.Evidence of children’s lack of math understanding typically shows at 4th grade or later. By then, children have missed the important years for developing number sense.Young children learn best through in-person activities. When children are engaged in play-based math games, the human interaction, their effort in team work, and their desire to win will motivate them to try their best to understand the math concepts in the games, to come up with the best strategies to solve the problems, and to learn from their teammates (or even from their competitors).

recap on our pilot programs

Homeschoolers' session- Addition & Subtraction Fall 2023

In addition to our regular Number Sense program for 3-5 year old, we started a topic-based 8-week homeschoolers session in the fall of 2023. With the focuses of place value and ten-frame, participants developed understanding and fluency of addition and subtraction strategies. It was amazing to see our participants achieving fluency in making 10 by visualizing ten frame in their heads (without counting). They also wowed us by showing their strategies to add up three-digit numbers with their solid understanding of place value.

We developed a three-step ten frame strategy to help children with fluency in making ten: dot-to-dot; dot-to-number; and number-to-number. After engaging in the activities for three times (10-15 mins each time), they became fluent with making-10 by visualizing the ten-fram in their heads.


We held two 8-day summer camps during the summer of 2023. One for rising 1st and 2nd graders that focus on addition and subtraction. And one for rising 3rd and 4th graders that focus on multiplication and division. We had a blast and witness so much math learning through playing.


In the fall of 2022 and spring of 2023, we held two 8-week pilot programs with 3-5 years old participants. The enthusiasm and learning progress achieved by those young children is beyond our anticipation. We witness the magical learning power when children are highly engaged in games they like.

We are truly encouraged by how much kids have learned by "just playing and having fun". Some of our favorite games are inspired by casual conversations with our young participants. That is why we are motivated to keep growing this program.

upcoming programs

Hickory Creek Church
10660 W. Lincoln Hwy Frankfort, IL 60423

9:30 am-10:15 am (number sense session)
10:30 am-11:15 am (multiplication and division)
January 22nd to March 18th, 2024, skipping Feburary 19th .

MathMagic (Number sense session): 3-5 years old
MathMagic Multiplied (multiplication and division, home schoolers' session):
This is a topic-based session for homeschool kids with the goal of learning multiplication and division through games, mistake detectives, and word problem theater. There is no age requirement, but to ensure that all of our participants are ready for the topics and can make the most of our lessons, we do expect all of our participants to be fluent (accurate and fast) with addition and subtraction in numbers up to 100. If you are not sure about your children's fluency in addition and subtraction, or if you need resources to help your children achieve fluency, please feel free to reach out to Crystal through the email listed.
Parents are welcome to stay or to work on schoolwork with siblings in another area/room nearby.16 spots available for each session

MathMagic Number Sense (3-5 years old) here.
MathMagic Multiplied (advanced addition and subtraction) here.*This is a free pilot program. But we kindly request participants to commit to attending weekly sessions. Because spots are limited, please contact us and cancel your registration if things change and you can no longer participate. We may cancel your registration if there are no-shows without notification.

Content and Activities
MathMagic: Number sense for 3-5 years old:
Math skills:
1.Subitizing (recognizing a small amount without counting);
2.Verbal counting, enumeration, production of numbers;
3. Number/length/size comparison;
Observation of patterns and differences;
4. Basic concept of addition and subtraction.
Formats of activities:
1. Group games
2. Magic
3. Puppet shows
4. Storytime
MathMagic Multiplied:
Multiplication and division:

Math skills:
1. Place value;
2. Hundred chart;
3. Multiplication Table;
3. Multiplication strategies;
4. Division strategies;
5. Word problems.
Formats of activities:
1. Group games and races;
2. Word problem theater;
3. Mistakes detectives;
4. Math talks round table;
Throughout the activities, we will incorporate these social skills:
1. Taking turns
2. Teamwork
3. Identifying and correcting mistakes with a positive attitude

about our math puppet show

Being able to identify mistakes and correct them are crucial for learning, especially for addressing one's math misconceptions. However, young children tend to interpret mistakes as a reflection on their lack of ability, instead of seeing mistakes as a chance to learn. So they tend to either deny or ignore their mistakes.We will use puppets to help children ease this fear of mistakes and learn to focus on the math tasks.During each of our session, there will be a 5-10 minute interactive puppet show. The characters in the show will make some math mistakes that children often run into. Participants are invited to identify the mistakes and help the characters to correct their mistakes. And we will cheer for the character's learning through mistakes.

about our word problem theater

Word problems are a tool to help children connect math concepts in textbooks with the application of these concepts in real life. Through solving word problems, children get to practice using math as an effective and efficient solution to deal with situations they may experience in real life. The key to solving a word problem is to understand the story in the problem and figure out what needs to be done.Unfortunately, many children view word problems as meaningless tasks that they have to dread dealing with. Without understanding the story in the problem, children often respond to a word problem by guessing how to fit all the given numbers into an equation that they learn. Or they may be taught different ways to decode the word problem sentences, so they can make a better guess of what to do with the numbers.We would like to bring your child's understanding of word problems back to their most original meanings--the stories in the problems. Once they understand the scenario, they will see the math as part of the story, and understand the relationships between the given numbers and the unknown number.Once children understand word problems as stories with a math part in them, it will be natural and easy for them to figure out the answer as the "so, what's next?" part of the story.

about our mistakes dectectives

Being able to identify mistakes and correct them is crucial for learning, especially for addressing one's math misconceptions. However, children tend to interpret mistakes as a reflection of their lack of ability, instead of seeing mistakes as a chance to learn. Therefore they tend to either deny or ignore their mistakes. Adults often don't feel comfortable addressing children's mistakes directly either, worrying that such responses will hurt their children's feelings or self-esteem.We will post math problems (some with correct answers and some with incorrect answers) on the white board. Participants will be invited to be detectives and identify the problems with incorrect answers. And we will discuss why certain answers are wrong and how to correct them.We know all kids are great at finding other people's mistakes, and they won't be shy talking about correcting them.

about me

Yingying Crystal Feil has a Ph.D. in educational psychology (with a focus of math education and learning motivation) and an M.S. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has many years of research experience in mathematics curriculum development and teaching strategies. And one of her biggest passions is to increase children's motivation in learning.Her work on math education has been focused on bridging the gap between what has been found in research and what is available to parents and families. While many math learning efforts target schools, she firmly believes that families play a vital role in a child’s education. Therefore, the focus at Math Magic has been on creating math games that can be played at home or in small group settings.Crystal is also a mother of two children (age 13 and 10). During her years as a mom, she has discovered many effective and fun math learning activities that are not traditionally used at schools. She is hoping more children can benefit from building number sense and learning math through hands-on games and activites.

contact me

email: [email protected]
group discussion: I would like to invite anyone who is interested in the program to join our Facebook group for:
1. Discussion on the rationals of our games;
2. Feedback on the games (if your child participants in our program, or if you try our games at home with your children);
3. Suggestions for new games, or if you simple would like us to develop a game for a particular math concept/skill.