Friday, December 27, 2013

Incorporating Math Into Family Fun

As a Math teacher, I would often hear "Math is hard."  "Math is boring."  "We're never going to use this stuff."  Until children and teens can experience and understand the relevance of Math, they will continue to exhibit this attitude.

As parents and grandparents, you can play a vital role in a child's growth in mathematics.  You can help the child learn  to appreciate, and possibly, even enjoy what mathematics have to offer them.  Parents and grandparents can incorporate math, as we do other subjects, into daily family activities.  This will not only allow your children and grandchildren the ability to practice what they're learning in school, but give them an idea of how relevant math is in our lives.

So, I've put together a list of activities that the whole family can enjoy, while incorporating the math as well.

Start early, as the child is just learning to count.
  • Hi Ho Cherry-O is a classic counting game.  Perfect for those just learning to count.  Parents are always highly encouraged to play with your children.
  • On family road trips, see how many landmarks, red cars, gas stations, etc. your child can count until the next stop.  This gives the child something to do, so that he or she is not antsy during the ride.  And it may cut down on how many times they ask "Are we there yet?!"

Let kids help in the kitchen.
  • When looking at a recipe, let your child point out any fractions.  Allow him or her to add and subtract the fractions.  Increase the rigor by using fractions with different denominators.
  • The child can also double or triple a recipe by using multiplication, or even cut a recipe in half using division.
  • You can also have your child do conversions:  teaspoons to tablespoons, quarts to cups, etc.
Enjoy the outdoors!
  • Some children love playing outside. Incorporate math in their favorite outdoor games.  When playing Mother, May I?, tell the child to take 2 + 3 steps forward, instead of 5.  Subtraction can be used also.
  • Use a game of basketball to review for an upcoming math test.  I used to do this in the classroom when I taught (of course, we used a trash can and small ball).  For every question the child gets correct, he or she can move closer to the goal and take a shot at making a basket.

Spend the day with Daddy.
  • Moms usually tend to a child and their homework.  Increase the time a child spends with their father studying.  Boys, and girls too, can learn measurements while helping Dad with handiwork.
  • They can also use conversions again:  feet to inches, millimeters to centimeters, etc.
Build a garden together.
  • Let the child determine the area of the garden, so you know how much soil to purchase.
  • They can also calculate the perimeter for the garden for the lovely stones, fencing, etc. that will surround your garden.

Get technical with your child.
  •  If it's electronics that your child must have, make sure it is educational.  Find games that incorporate math.  LeapFrog has a great selection of games.  You can select them based on age, and even track your child's progress.
  • So, children never have to get bored learning math, or ever think that it's irrelevant.  As adults, we can help them have a greater appreciation for it, and have fun at the same time.

How do you incorporate math in your home?

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