Fundamental math concepts can be used by everyone, even kids, every day. Children can start reaping the benefits of learning math at an early age. It teaches them how to recognize and understand numbers and use numbers in their daily lives by performing simple operations. Thanks to math, children can easily understand sentences like, “Bring me three apples” or “Your allowance has been doubled.”
However, mathematics goes deeper than just operations. Exploring the depths of math can help children even if they don’t go on to become mathematicians.
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Here are three surprising ways math benefits children:
1.Math improves problem-solving skills.
Problem-solving is one of the most impactful benefits of practicing and learning math. Math teaches children a systematic way of arriving at solutions to problems through reasoning.
This means children can look at unfamiliar situations, analyze them, and arrive at the next logical step, allowing children to develop a mindset that helps them figure out a sequence of steps to solve any problem. This is not to say that children can solve every problem they encounter through mathematical thinking, but it can definitely steer them in the right direction.
As your children practice mathematics, they become more observant of how they solve problems. This, along with practice and guidance, enables them to learn how to communicate the solution to others. Being able to explain how a problem can be solved takes critical reasoning. Children can take it up a notch and use their creativity to figure out different ways to solve the same problem. For example, if your child is trying to build a replica of your house out of blocks, they might use logic to arrange the pieces in ways that make sense to help them reach their desired outcome.
Other problem-solving benefits include:
- Learning to tackle problems from multiple perspectives can foster an attitude of curiosity and inventiveness.
- Overcoming mathematical challenges builds resilience in children, preventing them from quickly feeling frustrated or unmotivated when they encounter a tough challenge.
- Having a positive attitude about math was connected to better function of the memory center in the children’s brains.
- Learning to ask for help when it’s needed. Children will learn to recognize problems they can’t handle on their own and ask for assistance from the appropriate person.
2. Math strengthens the brain.
When we want to strengthen the body, we hit the gym, grab the weights, and start exercising. To strengthen our brains, we need to engage in mental exercises. Math is an excellent exercise for stimulating the brain since it involves a lot of thinking and reasoning.
Like most things that are done repeatedly, when your child keeps practicing math, they eventually understand the process and arrive at solutions more easily. For instance, when we first learned addition and subtraction, we needed to use our fingers or an abacus to help us work with numbers. Over time, we become more adept at performing basic calculations in our heads. This is because constantly engaging in thinking strengthens neural pathways, allowing us to recognize and memorize patterns much more quickly.
3. Math can be good for mental health.
By encouraging children to solve math problems in their heads, you can teach them social and emotional learning.
“There’s a deep connection between persistence and math,” she says. “Being able to encourage that persistence is where those social and emotional learning skills come in,” explains Jessica Young, developmental psychologist and mathematics researcher.
Other Ways Math is Enjoyable for Kids
Math is fun
Most everyone can admit that getting things right brings a great deal of joy. And the more challenging the situation is, the greater the satisfaction once it’s completed successfully. As children challenge themselves and succeed with math, they will increasingly see mathematics as something to enjoy. However, parents and teachers must understand that not everyone learns the same way, and therefore it’s important to teach math in engaging ways that utilize different learning approaches and multiple ways of solving problems.
Here are a few ways in which parents and educators make learning fun:
- Make math a game: Games are fun, which is why children love them. Games offer a great learning platform, especially when they allow children to solve problems uniquely. Furthermore, games give children hands-on experiences that get them excited to learn math in other fun ways.
- Make math meaningful: It is important to make math relevant to children. One way to do this is by pointing out when they are using math and don’t even know it. For example, have them add up all the food items they want at a restaurant and give them a budget or have them help determine how big of a cage to make for a pet guinea pig.
Once your child knows why they are learning math, they will have a greater connection to it. Furthermore, they will have a deeper appreciation for math because they will understand what they can achieve with it and be able to apply it to their real lives.
- Make math visual: Using visual aids such as images, videos, flashcards, and charts can make math more engaging. This is especially important if there are visual learners in the classroom. If teachers and parents use attention-grabbing visuals when they teach math concepts, they can trigger a mnemonic response which will help them determine how to solve problems in the future.
- Make math interactive: These days, children learn to use technology like computers and iPads early on. These devices can be loaded with math games and other interactive challenges. Simple games like counting fish, connecting the dots, and other four-in-a-row types of math games can be more fun when paired with the right graphics, sounds, and feedback.
The good thing about interactive math is that many websites offer it for free. Teachers and parents can also find a variety of quizzes online that can challenge their students. The fact that a child gets to use the internet to learn math can make it inherently fun.
Math helps create connections.
When it comes to the benefits of math, making friends is not something most people would consider right off the bat. But typically, your child can find one or two friends in the classroom that they can bond with over their love of math. And, they will never get bored as there will always be new math problems to tackle and facts to learn.
Math may encourage your child to ask questions.
Sometimes children are afraid to ask questions for fear of embarrassment. With the right encouragement and feedback from the adults in their life, they will begin to see that asking questions about problem-solving and mathematical applications has many benefits and can be positive and fun. The hope is that this thirst for knowledge will filter into other subjects and areas of their lives.
Children who are encouraged to see the value and relevance of mathematics will gain so much beyond the ability to add and subtract. They will become better problem-solvers and gain confidence in themselves. They will strengthen their brains, learn to ask questions, and maybe even make a few friends. That equation adds up to a very positive sum!
At BYJU’S FutureSchool, we celebrate learning in all its forms and would love to help your child expand their mathematical mindset. We teach math, coding, and music (with an expanded curriculum on the way). Regardless of your child’s age or knowledge, there’s a course that’s perfect for them. Check out our website to browse our catalog and sign up for a FREE trial.