Math Is Everywhere
Math is important!
Math is fun!
Be positive towards math!
Helping young children develop mathematical thinking early impacts academic success later on. Some great news for parents is that math is everywhere. Just look around for fun, natural ways to talk about math. These math discussions are critical in building a mathematical foundation.
Ways parents can help their children achieve mathematical success...
Count anything and everything, including nothing.
- Young children need to build an understanding of zero as well other numbers. Young children can experience counting when helping set the table, counting out snacks, or counting steps as they walk. Next, children can practice skip counting.
- By the end of first grade, children should be able to count forward and backward from any number 0-120. This includes skip counting by fives and tens. Children should still be counting in grades 2-4. Only now, they are able to count forward and backward from any number 0-1000. This includes counting by twos, threes, fives, and tens. Hopefully, they are also counting by fours, sixes, sevens, eights, and nines since they will be practicing multiplication too.
Invite the children to help you bake or cook something.
- Kitchen activities are endless. Recipes can be doubled, lending itself to repeated addition or multiplication. Students can familiarize themselves with some standard forms of measurements. Children get exposed to fractions. Parents can ask questions such as "How many chocolate chips do you think will fill one cup?" Then count them out. Practice counting by 1's, 2's, 3's, 5's, 10's, etc.
"What time is it?"
- This is a question posed often by children. Even though life is becoming more digital, children still need to understand how to read a traditional analog clock. Please ask your child to tell you what time it is rather than the other way. Ask them. "What time it will be in 30 minutes?" Another question could be, "What time was it an hour ago."
- It is easy to practice estimating. Remember estimating is using what you know about the relationship of numbers to determine a reasonable response. Ask your child, "How many steps do you think it is from the table to the counter?" Then count it out and follow it up with a discussion about how close was your answer.
- Another idea is to have your child throw a ball and measure how far they were able to throw it. Maybe compare the difference between multiple throws. This information could even be graphed.
Mix math into the bedtime routine.
- Children love their stories before bed. Have you ever thought about adding a math problem or math story? There are lots of children's math books, but you can always create your own.
Our pizza that we had for supper was cut into 10 pieces. I put the 2 pieces that were left in the refrigerator. How many pieces of pizza did we eat?
- Another idea to help direct math talk with your child before bed is a free app called, Bedtime Math. All these conversations could take less than 5 minutes, but have an enormous impact on mathematical learning.
Remember it is important to have these conversations with your child all year long. Take time this summer to play games with your child to help them build their mathematical understanding. Students have been using a free program, Moby Max, to help them increase their math skills. This program can be used all summer long as well. I will be sending more information about accessing this site at home with students.
Experience the fun of math. You might be surprised at how creative math can be. Enjoy it together with your child. Those moments can't be duplicated, but they can be treasured.