12 Creative Ways to Help Your Child Learn Basic Math Concepts

mathKids do much better in school when learning is reinforced at home, and when parents show in interest in their schoolwork. As kids get older, parents may not be able to keep up with some of the more demanding lessons their children will be given. This is especially true when it comes to the subject of math, but in the beginning, ,there are lots of fun and creative ways to help your child learn basic math concepts.

  1. Use Number Magnets– Most little ones love playing with magnets, and if you have number magnets, the refrigerator make the perfect place for playing with them. These work well for number recognition, which is the first step in building good math skills. Be sure to use large, solid magnets rather than large plastic numbers with small magnetic pieces to prevent accidental ingestion.
  2. Count Things Together – Make a game out of simple counting for your youngster. Ask questions like, “How many fingers to you have?” “How many feet?” When counting is a game that’s encouraged with humor and fun, kids really enjoy seeing how far they can go with their number knowledge. Just be prepared for it to last longer than you planned!
  3. Work on Simple Addition – For example, one orange plus another orange makes two oranges. If you add another orange how many will you have? Keep it simple and keep it fun.
  4. Sort Colored Objects – You can use colored blocks, pieces of candy, crayons or whatever you have available to work on pattern recognition and sorting skills. Teach your child to sort different amounts into different piles, i.e., five blue candies in this pile; three red ones in this pile; six orange ones here, and so on.
  5. Speak Math – When it makes sense, use math terms with your child so she will get used to hearing them. You can always add and subtract things and even when doing laundry two socks added together equal a pair. The more math terms you can slip into your vocabulary, the more you child will become familiar with them.
  6. Create Math Games – When your child is ready, think of ways to use objects such as balls, blocks, and coins to create visual representations of simple math problems. For example, using coins, show how multiplying by 2 works. If you add sound effects when you demonstrate the movement of the objects, the concept may even stick a little better.
  7. Play Card Games – A regular deck of cards can be used to help with math skills. Certain games require addition and subtraction skills, and those are the ones you’ll want to work with. Teach your kids how to play, and watch the math skills increase. This strategy works very well for kids under seven years old because they will learn number recognition and develop addition skills. They will also have a lot of fun while learning.
  8. Play Sudoku Together – This number game has gained great popularity, and really uses the brain cells. Sudoku puzzles contain grid cells in which numbers 1 through 9 are placed but no row is complete. The player must figure out which numbers are missing and fill them in so that each row up and across has only one of each number in the series. It’s a lot of fun, and it really hones the math skills.
  9. Don’t Turn Your Nose Up at Computer Games– There are scores of computer games available for every level of skill and if you play with your child, it can be a time for bonding as well as learning. Even if you’re limiting screen time, this is one electronic pursuit that’s effective enough to warrant the occasional exception.
  10. Give Kids a Retail Education – Perhaps you’ve heard of retail therapy. To make math fun and practical for your kids, try a little retail education! Kids are always making a fuss about how there isn’t anything to eat at home or how they don’t have any clothes to wear. Give your child a certain amount of money to take him shopping, and let him figure out what he can afford with the money he has on hand. You will be reinforcing addition and subtraction skills no matter what, but if things are on sale there may be some percentages in there to figure out as well.
  11. Cook Together – One of the easiest methods of helping kids learn about fractions is through cooking. One cup of a particular ingredient can be broken down into its various components. Clear measuring cups work wonderfully for showing kids how the different parts make up the whole. Get the kids to help figure out how to double or cut recipes in half.
  12. Celebrate Pi – That’s right, there is actually a day to celebrate the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Math aficionados the world over pay homage to this math symbol annually on March 14. On this day discussions abound relating to the significance of Pi. Cool memorabilia is available for purchase for those who are so inclined. So make some pie and talk about Pi!

Re-printed with permission from http://www.babysittingjobs.com

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