We probably all know someone who, at some time, has uttered the words “I’m not a maths person”. The attitude that you either ‘get’ or ‘don’t get’ maths is so prevalent in society that it must affect some children’s impressions of the subject. Indeed, a lot of children that come to our centres do have difficulty with maths. They have often lost hope of grasping the subject or see maths as too abstract to have real benefit on their lives.
However, a great way of teaching children the importance of maths is by showing them how regularly maths features in our everyday life. As well as giving children a regular chance to practice their mathematical skills, the small, routine numerical problems we solve every day also demonstrates the importance of maths in modern life. Here are four great games you can play to help develop your child’s mathematical ability.
Test children on car journeys: Here’s the perfect solution to the dreaded “are we there yet?” question – ask them to calculate how long they have to go! Car journeys are a great opportunity to provide little tests and quizzes to children of all mathematical abilities. Whether using road signs to inspire simple addition or incorporating speed, acceleration and miles per gallon into your problems, there’s plenty of information available on your dashboard with which you can present a fun challenge to your children.
Board games: Some of the most famous board games incorporate core maths skills into their rules. Obviously, a game of monopoly involves lots of addition and subtraction, but even letting your child keep score in scrabble requires strong arithmetic skills. There are a plethora of board games which incorporate important mathematical and strategical skills, like ‘Ticket to Ride‘, a favourite of one of our tutors. Board games provide fun and interactive ways for children to practice their maths, without feeling like they are being quizzed!
Use maths in the supermarket or restaurants: Buying food at the supermarket gives ample opportunities to involve your child in a range mathematical problems. Whether it’s calculating the cost of items at the deli counter, working out the change you are due at the till, measuring the savings available on different offers or a simple game of ‘guess the bill’, numbers and problems are all around us when we are purchasing things.
Cooking: There are a number of reasons to allow your children to explore the kitchen with you, but one that is not often talked about is the opportunity to develop their maths skills. Baking, for example, can be a really fun way to demonstrate the real life applications of maths, as successful baking requires the use of proportions, ratios and fractions. However, even the simplest of meals require mathematical skills to measure or time your cooking correctly.
We’re passionate about helping children develop the skills they need in school and the rest of their lives. These are just a handful of ways you can help them and maybe even brush up on your own skills! We’d love to hear your ideas for developing maths skills outside the classroom.
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