If your child is having trouble understanding math, you’d be surprised how much math practice you can sneak in around the house. From pizza to card games, Circle of Moms members share four creative ways to practice math around the house.
1. Pizza Math
Pat N. taught her child fractions using pizza. Since pizza can be cut into many different slices, it’s great learning tool, not only for fractions, but for addition and subtractions as well. If you don’t want the mess of using real pizza, you can even make a cardboard one to use for practice.
- Pizza fractions: cut the pizza into a certain number of slices, letting your child know that all the slices together make the whole. (For example, 8 of 8, or 8/8 = 1.) Then you can teach your child that one slice is one out of eight (1/8) and go from there.
- Pizza subtraction and addition: Use the same pizza and slices and create word problems, such as: If I have eight pieces of pizza and you eat two, how many are left? or If I order a new pizza, how many slices will we have altogether?
2. Money Math
Money is a tough concept for kids to learn, but Circle of Moms members have come up with some good real life tricks to help them out. Mom Candice C. advises letting your child use real money when playing these games. Most play money doesn’t look enough like real currency to help kids learn the relative values of actual coins and bills.
Here are some ways to practice with that money:
- Making Change: Your child can practice making change and counting money by using sales flyers. Angel H. gives her daughter these ads and some play money and then has her role play. Your child can pretend to be shopper, cashier, or both, using a calculator to add up her purchases, counting out the money, and making change.
- Double-Digit Addition and Subtraction: "Let him 'play' with an adding machine or calculator to help you balance your budget or checkbook," suggests Alicia H. If you don’t mind letting your child see how much (or how little!) money you have, it’s a great way to help him learn to add and subtract with regrouping.
3. Card Game Math
Your child might not be old enough for the tables in Vegas, but using cards to teach math can help her out in the long run. Cards make learning both basic concepts and more difficult ones more fun.
- Number Sense: If your child is having trouble visualizing how many 7 is or what a group of 3 looks like, use the cards to help out. A Circle of Moms member who goes by the name “WJ” suggests removing the face cards and having him count the dots on the number cards.
- Addition and Estimation: The card game Blackjack is a good one to help your child with estimation and addition. Again, remove the face cards to avoid confusion and see who can get closest to 21. Your child will have to learn to add his cards together and estimate whether the next card will put him over 21 or not.
4. Board Game Math
Board games provide math practice for all ages without being blatant about it. As mom Sandra L. enthusiastically points out, "It makes it fun and they don't know that they're learning!" Here are some skills and good board games to practice them with:
- Patterns and Addition: Try Yahtzee. Though the rules for this dice game take some getting used to, your child will have to practice addition, recognize patterns in numbers, and be able to do some estimating, too.
- One-to-One Correspondence: This is a fancy way of saying your child is able to count items one by one. Any board game that requires a rolls of the dice and a move around the board can help these skills.
- Money Sense: Mom Tracie M. says playing games like Monopoly that require your child to be the banker and make change are great for honing math skills.
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