Teaching numbers and math in general can be really dry and boring. This is especially true for the hands-on learner. For kids that need to be active and like to get messy, sitting and doing rote memorization can seem like real torture. Since math is quite often taught through memorization, I find that this is the subject my kids like to avoid. That means that I sometimes have to get a little more creative and find ways to bring math into our already loved activities. Here are some ideas we like to use…
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There are an almost infinite amount of possibilities for math in the kitchen. From fractions to math facts, the kitchen is really where it’s at when you want to bring math into the real world. When your kids ask you when they will ever use what they are learning, point them to the kitchen. Here is a list of some great math activities involving the kitchen.
- Compare fruits and vegetables by shape, size, weight or color
- Measure the volume of a food container such as a peanut butter jar
- Use kitchen items as math manipulative (cereal works great for this)
- Create story problems involving the kitchen
- Ratios and Equivalents by altering a recipe
Grocery Shopping Math
The grocery store is another place to bring math into the real world. After all, they have a whole math class called consumer math, right? Why not get your child ready for adulthood by helping them manage the math that it the grocery store. It does go beyond just learning money though. This list has a few more ideas to incorporate math into your shopping trips.
- Give your preschooler a list with the number of each item. Have them count them out. Example: 5 pears, 6 peaches, 2 cucumbers, and 7 apples
- Have your child estimate how much the items on his list will come to and then compare with actual math when you get home.
- Give your child mental math problems they have to complete on the spot without a calculator or pen and paper. Example: pears are $1.25 per pound. How much will I spend if I want 3 pounds?
- Compare the deal. Have your child decide which is the better buy based on comparison.
Play Dough Math
As preschoolers, my boys used to love making their numbers with play dough. This is a great way for little ones to learn to write their numbers. You can easily make a numbers play dough mat by laminating a sheet of large numbers. Then have your child copy the numbers on the mat with their play dough.
Minecraft is a wonderful tool for learning math skills. Everything is made from blocks, which lend themselves easily to geometry skills. Give your child challenges such as, can you create a cat with just 15 blocks? Or how many blocks will it take to fill in a 10 by 24 block wall? There are quite a few books out on Amazon with great Minecraft math problems.
Just like Minecraft, Legos are great for spacial relationships and geometry. They can be used to teach the basic math facts, counting, and so much more. As you play Legos with your child, begin asking them real world story problems. Example: If this brick has 6 connectors and that brick has 4 connectors, how many do they have together?
Teaching numbers and math does not need to mundane and boring. Math is literally all around us. If we work to highlight this fact to our children, math will no longer seem foreign and difficult. At its core, math is simply problem solving. If you have ever watched a young child, you know that they are intrinsically great problem solvers.
Blogging Through the Alphabet
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- Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
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- Christine @ Lifes’s Special Necessities
- Yvonne Billian @ The Life We Build
- Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag
- Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane
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- Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach