Parents often confide in me their anxiety about helping their children with math once they start school. Usually they are worried their own negative attitude and fear of math will be transferred to their children. I always reassure them that they can show confidence and help children enjoy and understand math by simply having a little fun with math around the house.
Every day things that families do, such as the ones listed below, are all activities that help children to understand some basic math concepts.
- While preparing food in the kitchen have your child assist you. Let him or her measure and pour ingredients, calculate portions, and cut foods into equal amounts. Ask your child questions like, “Would you like your sandwich cut in two halves?” On another day ask, “Should we cut it in triangles or squares?”
- When planning a birthday party or other family occasion involve your child by asking them to help with the guest list, estimate the amount of food needed, estimate seating arrangements, cutlery and tableware needs.
- At dinner parties, have your child take play waiter and take orders from guests. Have your child count the orders for those in the kitchen. For example, how many people asked for pie only, how many asked for pie and ice cream, and how many asked for ice cream only.
- Another way to help children learn about numbers is by gathering their own statistics. Help your child collect personal stats such as shoe and clothing sizes, his or her address, phone number, or their height and weight.
- Ask your child to lend a hand with the laundry by helping to sort by colour or match socks. Let them measure the amounts of detergent and fabric softener to use.
- Have math fun while in the car by counting cars or identifying their size and colour, or have your child distinguish the different shapes of road signs.
Other fun activities include:
•playing Crazy Eights • clapping out a rhyme • paying for apples
• playing Snakes and Ladders • asking how many people want hamburgers
• singing Five Little Ducks • counting little toes before a bath
• counting how many sleeps until a birthday or holidays • baking from scratch
These interactive activities will help your child associate math with fun. Parents make it exciting to learn simple math skills by being enthusiastic and positive.
Do you have any other suggestions to share? We love to hear from you. There are a number of ways you can reach us:
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About this guest blogger: Sharon Campbell-Springstead is an Early Literacy Specialist with the Ontario Early Years Centres in Halton. She has worked in this capacity for the last 11 years. Prior to this she worked as a teacher, Early Childhood Educator and administrator in programs for 25 years.