In a recent study conducted by ACT, just 45% of students that graduate from high school are prepared for college-level math courses. A number of researchers have also found that in families where numbers and math are discussed and used, the children have less math anxiety or frustration and do better in school.
Letting kids do simple tasks where math and numbers are a part of their life definitely gives them more of a head start by the time that school begins. Below are some tips to help your child feel less math anxiety and learn to really appreciate all the great things they can do with math.
Parents who want to introduce their child to math can introduce their child to chores and daily experiences where math is used as part of a seemingly ordinary task. If your child wants to help in the kitchen, why not let them help cook? Let your child experience what it is like to read and to measure out each ingredient in a recipe, as well as set the oven on the temperature needed to bake and the timer on how long it will take to make it. Other tasks may include picking out the right amount of items at the store, measuring the daily temperature and calculating how it changes during the day through addition or subtraction.
Kids love hands-on craft projects. Nearly every craft or art project requires at least some math to do them. When kids are able to make things for themselves that are practical and useful, introducing math as part of the process can make math painless. For example, in a recent segment of PBS’ Ask This Old House, host Tom Silva introduces Katherine who is in the 4th grade to the joys of woodworking and using math in a practical manner. Other projects may include sewing, weaving, or crocheting where they have to figure out how much in terms of materials they will need to complete a project.
Kids naturally love all kinds of play, and one of the easiest and time-tested ways to get them to learn math and math concepts is to make a game out of it. Whether you choose to introduce math games through board games, online games, and even math apps, everything from addition to subtraction, multiplication or division can be turned into a game. Math Bingo is a perfect way to teach all of these. You can print out bingo cards from sites. The cards can be used at home or even be used in the classroom.
People around the world still use one of the oldest adding machine; the abacus. Kids can slide the colorful beads over the rods while they learn how to calculate using the abacus. Another fun way to introduce kids to math is with an old adding machine. You can sometimes find them in a thrift store or rummage sale for very little money. Most use standard printout tape to check the numbers and are even more fun than playing with a calculator.
Even if math does provide more of a challenge for them later in their education, introducing it early in their development will help them. With practice, these types of math activities may inspire your child to use math with far less anxiety and maybe even learn to love it.