Math was my least favorite subject in school. I remember asking one of my high school teachers to explain the point of Algebra to me! As I matured, it became obvious why I needed to be able to have the reason and logic skills that math taught me, and I learned that math could actually be fun. I don’t want my daughter to have to question the point of math, so my husband and I are intentional about creating an appreciation for math that we hope she’ll carry through her entire school career. You can make learning math enjoyable for your children by checking out these tips:
My daughter and I love to bake together. I let her gather all of the supplies that we need, pour ingredients into the measuring cup, and start the timer to keep track of our baking time. She is able to practice her number recognition, simple addition, and measuring. Older children can read recipes and help you determine how to adjust based on quantity. They could even help you calculate calories the treats that you make. And if the practical math experience wasn’t already a prize…you’ll also have something yummy to eat after the “lesson”!
A Family That Plays Together…Loves Math Together
I was an adult before it dawned on me how some of my favorite childhood games were great for encouraging math skills. Play a game of Monopoly with your children to give them an opportunity to practice their addition and subtraction in a low stress, high fun situation! Games like Battleship, which encourages children to learn coordinated pairs, and Chutes and Ladders for little ones just learning to recognize numbers, can even be adapted to be more challenging depending on your child’s ability.
Math Gets Physical
Who ever said you had to be sitting at a desk to learn about math? Many of your child’s favorite physical activities have an element of math that you can emphasize with little effort. Head to the basketball court for a game of 21 (you can earn 2 or 3 points for each successful basket depending on your location. The player that gets to 21 first wins). You can create a family bowling league, and have your child be the score keeper for your “season”, or make a graph to track the number of miles or steps the family walks for a week or a month.
One of the simplest ways to teach children math in a fun way is by letting them play with money! Preschoolers can separate coins based on size and value, or run an imaginary store with play money. Older kids can help you plan for groceries each week, complete with a budget. You can challenge them to look for ways to save money, and even reward them if they beat the budget.
There are all sorts of fun ways to have fun while teaching your child math, just look around you! It’s easy to add math learning in your young person’s life, you just have to be deliberate and thoughtful about how you are going to do it. The more you can show them how practical and accessible math really is, the better chance you have at having a child that embraces and excels at it in school. And what parent doesn’t want a genius in the family?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brandi Jeter-Riley lives in Northern California with her daughter and husband (both of whom she shamelessly posts pictures all over the internet!). She is the co-founder of the Pushing Lovely writing group, and blogs at http://www.mamaknowsitall.com. Tweet her @BrandiJeter