At EducationWise, we want to provide you with the tools you need to help your children master and enjoy their school subjects. We have found math to be one of the most challenging subjects for young students. While many parents struggle to make math fun and easy, the right techniques can go a long way in improving a child’s math skills.
Studying math does not have to be a chore or a bore! These four simple ideas can help you incorporate math into everyday activities in easy, playful ways. Read on and have some fun!
1. Plan dinner
Children love parties, especially when it includes family! Ask your children to help you plan your next dinner, and work together to add up the items on the grocery list and count the number of items needed for the party. Get your children to setting the table, and ask them to count by two while setting the fork and spoon beside each plate. It also helps to ask them simple math questions in between these activities to activate their addition and subtraction skills. During dinner, have them count the total number of people present at the table.
The more advanced of our little mathematicians can help with meal planning. How many potatoes will you need to peel and mash so there is enough for everyone (remember the rule – two per person and two for the pot)? How many meals will you get out of your package of disposable napkins? If the original recipe serves six, how much will you need to multiply or divide it to make the right amount for your family? What if you invite your extended family? These simple responsibilities will go a long way to improve your child’s math skills in a fun way!
2. Bake together
Sweets and treats provide another fun way to include math lessons into your children’s day. Depending on their ages, there are a number of ways to incorporate math in the kitchen. For the little ones, you can have them count the number of eggs needed, or ask them to count the number of spaces in a baking tray. As you bake, ask them questions like: “There are five eggs in the carton. If I take away two to use for the cake, how many will be left over?” These subtle questions become a fun math lesson you and your kids can enjoy repeatedly. For the older children, why not double or triple the recipe? By getting them to double the measurements themselves, they get to see multiplying fractions in action. Working in the kitchen together provides a lot of opportunities for children to put their math skills to good use!
3. Count their toys
How many toys does your child have? How many of those toys are their favourite? How many are gifts from Mom, Dad, Uncle, or Grandpa? How many are they willing to donate to charity? These are simple questions you can ask your children while they play with their toys. Children know who gave them what toys, especially their favourites!
More advanced students can tackle more advanced problems. How many toys will go to the garage sale if your children reduce their collection by a third? What percentage is older than a year, and what is the ratio between family toys and your child’s personal toys?
4. Go shopping
A grocery trip can be another fun way to engage your child’s math skills. A preschooler can count the items you purchase one by one, and slightly older children can count by twos or fives to determine how many eggs or paper towel rolls you are buying. Are you buying multiples? Have your elementary child multiply to estimate the total cost, or divide to find the unit price for a package of goods.
Rounding skills and mental math can be sharpened by estimating the final cost of your grocery items. You could even make a contest of this, and see who can guess the price most accurately. Children looking for a challenge can add up the bill and make sure you are not over-charged. If you happen to be paying in cash, this is a great opportunity to explore addition, fractions, and monetary value.
Math is all around us! It is an essential part of our everyday lives, which is why it is such a vital part of our education. By showing your child some of the many ways that math is used outside of the classroom, will show them that Math is useful – and that it can be fun! They will start to see Math in a different light. A light that brings it to life!