Family Activities That Promote Mathematical Learning
The fact is, math is all around you. It’s even in the air. Equations surround you by nature. If you want to make math a less scary subject for your kids, doing it a more consistent part of their lives will give them the experience and confidence to go even higher than you thought in their math learning.
* Shopping – Every shopping trip is all about math, no matter what you are shopping for. You need to know what a fair price is, what cost you can afford, and how that value affects your bank account. Plus, you need to know how much of something you want to buy for recipes or instructions. All of that requires that you use math.
* Road Trips – Anytime you go on a road trip, you can make it about math by talking to the kids about how far you’re going, how much gas costs, and other circumstances involving numbers on your trip. Let them use their abilities to figure out your mileage, the estimated time it will take, and how much it will cost. You can even make a math game out of how many steps you walk once you get to your destination.
* Board Games – Pretty much all board games include at least counting, but if you can find some that are more mathematical, it will encourage more. For example, any game including money or growing a business, like Monopoly, Life, and games like that.
*Baking – Baking needs precise measurements, which are always great for learning math, like fractions. As you bake with your child, openly explain the math that you are doing. Tell them things like, “We need 1/2 cup of flour for this recipe. This is a fraction of a whole cup. It’s one-half of a cup. If you distribute this cup of flour into two, you have 1/2 cup of flour.”
* Tossing a Ball – It might look weird to be able to teach math with nothing more than a ball, but you can. You can measure how far you can throw it, how high you can toss it, and if you have something to use to measure, even how quick you are throwing it. Each number learned can be discussed in many ways to help improve the concepts.
* Build a Square Foot Garden – Gardening in and of itself is math-related, too; you need to figure out how much water, how many vitamins and minerals, and how to mix the soil in the proper dimensions. When you make something, you also need to use measurements and math to get it right.
* Do Some Art – Art is also a perfect way to teach math like proportion, angles, polytypes, perspective, and more. It’s all mathematical and can be represented using mathematical expressions. As your child gets to draw using math, they will start to learn math concepts in nature.
While some of the math will fall in by merely playing, it’s best to play and talk. Talk about the numbers involved and demonstrate their connection to subjects they will study in school. You’ll open a brand-new world of possibility to your children by making math feel natural – because it is.