A lot of us parents dreaded math in school, and studies show that we can unwittingly transfer that anxiety to our children. (https://scienceoflearning.uchicago.edu/news/susan-levine-traces-kids-math-skills-back-early-parent-talk)
The good news: The same study shows that talking to your children about math from an early age — even in simple terms such as taller, curved and straight — helps children in school and later in life. You can break the cycle.
Here are a few ideas to infuse math easily in your routine at home or on the go.
- Measuring. Let your kids help you measure when cooking (or if that’s too messy, give them different size measuring cups and spoons in the bath so they can practice seeing how much water will fit in each size).
- Estimating. Math doesn’t always have to be precise. Help your children estimate the cost of groceries in your cart or the number of blocks they can stack before the tower tips. Ask your children how many toys they think they can fit in a box or to guess how many inches they’ve grown.
- Logic. Talk to your child about cause and effect. Ask her what she thinks would happen if she built a stack of blocks as tall as she is or if she pulls out the bottom block from the stack.
- Matching. Play matching games with your children from simple card games to pointing out a color or shape in a waiting room and seeing if your child can find an identical one.
- Comparing. Point out two sizes of cars and ask which is larger or compare the sizes of your child’s stuffed animals.
- Thinking in percents. Percentages don’t have to be intimidating. If you are halfway through making dinner, say that you’re 50% ready. If your child says he is excited, ask him what percent he’s excited… 80%, 100%? Encourage your children to use percentages to describe their progress in a project or cleaning their rooms.
Most importantly, try to use positive terms when talking about math with your children. Show them that math can be fun and an essential part of life.
IDEA Lab Kids
IDEA Lab Kids believes in making math — and all learning — fun. Whether kids in our programs build robots, bake a cake or make a music video, they gain practical skills while having a blast.
Learn about after-school workshops, summer camps, leagues and birthday parties at www.idealabkids.com.