We tend to focus a lot on early literacy around here, but I also believe math readiness is just as important for our young children. Whether your child currently loves math or not, we should try to make learning math FUN at home!
For years, I’ve heard stories (tall tales?) about the battles over math flashcards between my husband and his mom. She would literally chase him around the dining room table, trying to convince him to sit down and practice. To this day, he shudders whenever I say the word “flashcards.”
In all my years of teaching (both as a classroom teacher and as a homeschooling mom), I’ve realized no two children learn the same. Very often, we hold a child responsible for his/her own learning challenges. We might call them inattentive or lazy, rather than look at the curriculum or teaching style.
Over the last two years, I’ve watched my own daughter struggle with mastering her math facts. Her issues mainly stem from a lack of confidence and feeling pressured when being timed. To counteract her negative feelings, we spend a lot of time talking positively about math.
Equipping our children to deal with math challenges often starts with learning about growth mindset. Discovering a child’s learning style can also help us (and them!) find specific, tailored strategies to attack the problem in a fun, fresh way.
Teaching my daughter (a visual learner) how to quickly draw a picture or make a diagram while solving word problems has made a world of difference. For the longest time, she thought she had to do all the work in her head!
My other daughter is an auditory learner. She has quickly picked up her math facts, just by listening to her sister practice with me each day. We also listen to a lot of skip-counting songs while we’re in the car.
Want to learn more about learning styles? Click here!
I’ve realized that all children deserve a solid math foundation in the early years. Rather than starting with workbooks at the age of 3 or 4, we can bring in fun math games and activities. Young children often do best learning through play!
Here are some of my favorite ideas for learning math at home in a fun way!
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UNO is a great game for number recognition! You can also use the cards for all kinds of “mix and match” learning activities.
Rack-O is fun for sequencing.
Pass the Pigs is fantastic game to practice adding!
Set is one of our favorite family math games. Everyone can play, from the 6-year-old to the 40-year-old. It’s great for sorting and problem-solving!
Math Play Activities
- Cooking is a great way to learn more about math–both measuring ingredients and talking about fractions. If you are looking for an easy recipe for your kids to create, why not try making homemade playdough? Our favorite recipe calls for mixing dry ingredients together before adding in the hot water, so your children can help in a safe way.
- Playing store can be a fun way to learn more about money–sorting coins by “type” and counting them by 1s, 5s, 10s, and 25s.
- Grocery shopping and going to restaurants (or recreating the experience at home in your play kitchen) can introduce the idea of budgets and making change. For older kids, you can talk about percentages in choosing a tip for a server.
It should come as no surprise that we LOVE math-themed books in our house! Here are some of our favorites:
See our must-have math toys here!
We also make learning math FUN by:
- celebrating silly holidays like Pi Day
- polling friends & family on Facebook (favorite color, favorite fruit) and then making a graph with the data
- playing Todo Math on our iPad
- creating STEM projects (check out our Pinterest board)
Want to learn more about doing math at home?
If you are:
- the parent of a child ages 2-7
- passionate about your child’s education
- committed to making learning at home as FUN as possible, and
- interested in child development…
then our Making Math Fun workshop is for YOU.
Learn 10 important math skills your children need to know for early math success AND fun ways to practice those skills at home.