(or …. How to Teach Math Without Letting Them Know)
In recent posts, I discussed when you should teach math to kids. In case you missed either of these posts, you can read them here.
Some of you think I suggest not teaching or using math during younger years. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If you read the case study about Hunter, you’ll see that he loved math & used math while he was young. He simply did not do math workbooks, textbooks or curricula.
Our family still used math when our kids were young. Here are 10 ways to help you answer how to make math fun . . .no workbook, no textbooks, no dvd nor formal academics during younger years. It’s a natural approach to learning math. You’ll be teaching math without them knowing it.
1. Read Math Storybooks
This is by-far one of my favorite ways to teach math to kids before 10 years old. We all love stories, so why not use stories to teach math concepts.
Great public speakers know we remember concepts connected to stories, so they share stories in their workshops or sermons.
You’re scratching your head & asking, “how”?
It’s really quite simple. Find math storybooks that are written for math concepts you want your kids to learn.
Or, Multiplying Menace books that tell stories about multiplication or division.
Next, move into geometry with the Sir Cumference series. Your kids won’t even know they are learning math as you read & discuss these books. Click here for a list of Sir Cumference books. Click on any title to get a detailed review.
NOTE: Here’s a 1 week special for those that want to get The Whole Enchilada of Math Story books in print right now. You can save 25% and get FREE SHIPPING. Click Here to get The Whole Enchilada of Math Story books
2. Read Math Biographies
I’m not talking about dry biographies. If you want to inspire your kids to love math & understand math concepts, try Mathematicians are People Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians.
Each book has short biographies of 10-15 mathematicians. Written in a captivating style, your kids will enjoy learning about math & the people behind math.
When we read about Pythagoras, my son got excited about his theorem and we worked out problems right after reading the story. Not a formal math workbook, but he was learning math.
3. Math At Home
For younger ones, let them count the forks, spoons & knives for each meal. Talk about the total number of silverware pieces. You can even show them ho to multiply (or count by 3’s) to get the total.
When your kids are helping with laundry, let them measure the right amount of detergent.
Or, figure out how much paint you’ll need to paint your child’s room.
Lot’s measurement & real-life math
4. Cooking & Baking
I still think Hunter bakes some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve eaten. He learned to bake at an early age and knows the measurements by heart. So, do my girls!
Another one of our family favorite ways to learn math is cooking because we all love to eat! Your kids will learn fractions, measurement, multiplying by 2 or 1/2, temperatures.
Set a thermometer outside your kitchen or back door. Let your child read a real thermometer (instead of a cardboard one) to see what the temperature is each day.
You can also look at weather maps. Compare temperatures at your home with grandparents, friends or missionaries’ homes. Find the difference (subtraction). Or find the average of all the temperatures in a specific area.
6. Board Games
Another fun way to learn math. Monopoly comes to mind first. Lots of addition, money, math strategies are used to win Monopoly.
But, the simple game of dominoes also teaches math. Not to bring up Hunter again, but the older men at our church didn’t mind having Hunter on their dominoes team because he could calculate in his head. Hunter was about 9 years old and NOT doing formal math at the time.
What other board games will teach math to your kids?
Risk – Calculate odds
Poker, Black Jack – Strategy, addition, subtraction. Our family uses chips, not money 🙂
Yahtzee – Addition & strategy
Scrabble – I wasn’t sure about adding this to our math list but Steve reminded me that you use letter values to form the most profitable words
Set up a savings account and help your child manage it. Allow them to work for savings money, as well as chances to buy something of value to them. Not only will they learn about banking, they can learn about researching purchases.
Although we set up a savings account for each of our children, we were not great at using it as a teaching tool.
8. Lemonade Stand – Or other Kids Business
All of my kids had lemonade stands. They also sold pumpkin bread & chocolate chip cookies to raise money for missionary Christmas gifts. They had to pay me back for ingredients they used, so they learned about cost of goods sold.
Hunter had a marshmallow gun business. Ashley & Gentry enjoyed babysitting.
If you want help setting up your kids’ business, I recommend either of these resources:
When you’re at the grocery store, let your kids help decide which item is the best buy. They can use the calculator on your phone to decide.
Use sales circulars to write a grocery list. Calculate the total amount you expect to pay. If you have coupons, figure that into the total.
When my kids were a bit older, I took them grocery shopping with me and gave them a list of 2-3 items to retrieve. They had to decide which item was the best for our family. Sometimes it was based on our personal preference; sometimes on best price.
If you child wants to save money for a large purchase, let him or her research the best deal. This could compare online prices with local sales circulars.
I grew up sewing and taught my girls how to sew. One loves it; the other doesn’t. But, they both used fractions, measurement, and ratios while cutting patterns, sizing quilt blocks & sewing.
Many of these activities are the way Hunter learned math from 6 to 11 years old. The only time I was concerned was in the Little League dugout. The boys were talking about multiplication facts and Hunter didn’t know them as quickly as others. Yet, we persevered; he learned facts in his own timing.
As I said before, Hunter won the high school math award as a sophomore. He also makes A’s in math, accounting & finance. All of those courses are “practical” in their use of math.
Did skipping formal math from 6 to 11 hurt him? Nope!
In fact, I believe it helped him because he has a love for math that was never squelched through formal workbooks & textbooks.
Let’s face it: Math is Fun! Why not use the fun in math to teach your kids?
Question: How do you teach math to your kids? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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