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Teaching Kids Math Through the Power of Play

Aug 17, 2007
Math is one of the most important subjects to teach your kids. A strong math foundation will carry them through a wide assortment of courses and life tasks but, unfortunately, it is one of the most difficult subjects to teach children. Many find it boring and mundane, and struggle with concepts and ideas.

My own kids really had a hard time focusing on their math lessons in the beginning. They would beg and plead with me to take a break, and it really concerned me. So, I took it upon myself to investigate what makes math fun for kids, and why my own attitude had a profound effect on how they saw mathematics.

Mathematics certainly doesn't have to be boring to kids! In fact, there are a wide assortment of educational math toys that not only make learning easier, but a whole lot of fun. When shopping for
toys and activities, think about things in terms of visual and moving elements. Gears, sorting items, play money and other tools make math real to many children.

Role playing is another easy way to introduce math to young students. A "pretend" shopping trip will not only entertain your kids, but teach them how to make change. Try giving your children a budget and letting them loose in a dollar store, and don't forget to factor in taxes! One of the most satisfying activities for my own kids was a simple trip to the grocery store. I shopped with list in hand, while they had a pad and paper to tally up the shopping total. The child that got the total correct won a piece of candy or other goody at the end of the trip.

The trick to making math fun is to go with what your child is already interested in. If your child loves dinosaurs or soccer, try to find ways to introduce math concepts associated with that topic. Maybe they can calculate scoring averages for their favorite teams, or figure out how many pounds of food a T-Rex would eat over the course of a week. The possibilities are endless!

Lastly, learn to love math yourself. If you hate balancing your checkbook, your kids will pick up on it and learn to hate math as well. So the next time you grunt and groan about tallying up the bill at a restaurant, put on a smile and try to have fun with it.
About the Author
Sarah Jones loves teaching. When she isn't homeschooling her own children, she is busy sharing her love of education with others.
Find a wide assortment of Lesson Plans , crafts for kids, and homeschooling tips at her site, KnowMore.com.
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