Math is an essential subject of study, but teaching it to children can be challenging. The subject is not easy, and most children are reluctant to take an interest in it. However, if you can get your child to relate math to the world around them, it will make it easier for you to teach math and will pique your child’s interest in the subject for a long time.
According to research, proper approach allows children to quickly grasp the primary mathematical concept and various research papers and studies have been conducted worldwide to prove this. For example, in 2005,2 the Department of Mathematics at the University of Bergen conducted a study on mathematics in everyday life. Another study presented at the mathematics education research conferences and papers focused on early childhood mathematics teaching and learning.1
Even before they begin formal schooling, children can learn math if it’s made relatable and fun. The good news is that math is all around us, making it a simple task to teach children. Are you curious as to how? Don’t worry, this article will show you how to teach math to your child using a variety of activities and everyday objects.
5 Ways Your Children can Learn Math Using Daily Objects
Some of us find math to be boring, but with a bit of encouragement and effort from parents and teachers, it can become a fun subject for children. They can gain a better understanding of math and develop life-long skills that will help them in their education and careers. Here are a few ways parents can use to teach math to their children using everyday activities and items.
Shopping is a significant part of our lives, and we go shopping whenever we need to buy something, even if isn’t on a regular basis. Do you know it can also be used to teach our children a bit of math? Whether it is before you go shopping, while you are shopping, or after you return home, math is involved in every step of the shopping process. Thus, this activity can teach your child a lot of basic everyday math; it is a relatable and hands-on skill that they can use for the rest of their lives.
Some of us make a to-do list of what we need to buy before going shopping, and a few of us may even sort the money required separately. While you are doing so, bring your child along and let them help you out. Tell them to count the items on the to-do list or, better yet, calculate the total amount required. This will teach them how to count in a meaningful way and how to perform simple calculations that they will need in everyday life.
While shopping, you can teach them about comparison, sorting, and classifying. For example, ask them to compare the prices of different products, or help them in segregating different market sections. And after you return home from shopping, show your child how to properly sort the bought items. Letting them calculate the amount spent can also be a great math lesson.
- Playing Games5
Playing games is one of the most enjoyable ways to teach math to your child. It might surprise you, but children unconsciously apply their number skills in games. If adequately taught, they can spontaneously learn new mathematical concepts without knowing it. Board games such as Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly, and number games like Sudoku and Tombola, among others, can be transformed into fantastic fun math lessons.
Play with children or watch them as they play these games to see how they calculate, find patterns, and have fun. Dice games, for example, are excellent for teaching addition and subtraction, whereas number games teach them patterns and logical thinking. Furthermore, games like puzzles can teach them about shapes, sizes, and geometry.
Cooking, an unavoidable part of our daily lives, can be used to teach math to your children. Cooking or working in the kitchen entails the concepts of measuring, weight, and patterning. Consider baking a cake or cookies. Allow your child to help you with all the processes involved in baking, from weighing the amount of flour needed to plating a portion of the cake. In the case of cooking daily items like curry, you can let them measure the amount of salt, spices, or sugar needed. This will promote an understanding of measurements and concepts such as multiplication, estimation, and so on.
Children enjoy tasty meals, and even there lies an opportunity for parents to teach them math. Activities before and after cooking can help children understand mathematical concepts. Setting the table before dinner or lunch, for example, or plating food can teach children counting, shapes, patterns, and proportions. Initiate conversations about math with your child while at the dinner table; ask them to compare the amount of food left on your plates to the spoonful of food they had. Besides teaching math, eating can also be a session of table manners for your child.
Talking is the most effective method of instilling math lessons in your child’s mind. We do it not only out of habit, but also because we enjoy conversing. Make the most out of your fun talking session with your child by explaining simple math concepts or randomly asking them about them. For instance, ask your children to count their fingers or to add, subtract, or multiply items in their immediate vicinity, such as toys, pencils, etc. You can also bring them up in conversations about numbers on the spur of the moment. This practice will help your child understand that math is a part of daily life, and it may even spark an interest in the subject at an young age.
Math is not as complicated as many people believe. However, later in life, during formal schooling, it may be difficult for your child to suddenly grasp the list of concepts that math includes. It is thus best to present the simple ideas one by one at first. And the best way to do this is to use everyday activities and objects because using real-life objects and actions to teach mathematical concepts to your child will help them learn and navigate life more effectively.
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1Björklund, C., van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, M., & Kullberg, A. (2020). Research on early childhood mathematics teaching and learning. ZDM 2020 52:4, 52(4), 607–619. https://doi.org/10.1007/S11858-020-01177-3
2Mosvold, R. (2005). Mathematics in everyday life A study of beliefs and actions.
3Teaching Math to Kids at the Grocery Store. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.verywellfamily.com/teach-kids-math-at-the-grocery-store-620963
4Math All Day: 14 Ways to Teach Young Children Math Skills During Daily Routines – Brookes Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://blog.brookespublishing.com/math-all-day-14-ways-to-teach-young-children-math-skills-during-daily-routines/
5How Children Can Learn Mathematics From Daily Lives – The Progressive Teacher. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.progressiveteacher.in/how-children-can-learn-mathematics-from-daily-lives/