Parents frequently ask what they can do to help their child with math. I find that the most meaningful method is to seize upon those teachable moments in everyday life. The following are some examples that may or may not work for you and your child. It’s important to keep your child’s confidence level high. Pushing a child beyond what they are capable of will do more harm than good, so take your cues from them and have fun with math in everyday life.
In an elevator
Notice the buttons- Use the buttons as a number line, and ask
If the elevator stopped on the 4th floor and we hadto walk to the 6th floor, how many more floors would we have to walk?
Would we walk upstairs or down?
What is the biggest number?
Compare several numbers and put them in order from least to most and most to least
Walking in NYC
Looking at the street sign- we are on 14th street. How many blocks away is 10th street?
Getting Anything… Cookies, stickers, kisses
How many do you want?
What if I gave you
1 more/ less
Pretend your child is buying something. Ask them how much they have? Then make up a price and ask if they have enough? Then ask how much more they need or how much left over money they would have.
Use actual pennies to work it out.
Compare points: who has more, how much more?
How much more does the losing team need to get to be equal or win?
Teach the value of penny, nickel and dime.
Count by 1’s 5’s and 10’s.
Count by 5’s and 10’s and then add pennies.
In the Kitchen
Your child may not be ready to add fractions but exposing them to units of measure will be helpful.
Do they know the difference vetween a teaspoon and tablespoon? Show them how many teaspoons equal a tablespoon. If your child is ready see if they can figure out how many ways to get 4 teaspoons. Play with measuring.
Pizza or pies – ask questions involving a certain number of people eating a slice and then how much will be leftover?
Throw in the word “each” as in if each person ate 2 pieces how much will be leftover. This requires three steps and understanding what “each” implies. First they have to count how many slices are in the pie, then add how much was eaten and finally subtract from the total. Using the real thing will teach this concept with relative ease.
Cut things in half and discuss equal parts.
Introduce halves and quarters.
Setting the Table
Ask your child to set the table but don’t give them enough. Then ask them how much more they need.
Board and card games are wonderful opportunities to incorporate math. You probably do not want to inundate your child with questions and take out the play….. but once in a while ask
How much more does one person have than the other?
How many more spaces to get to the end?
What do the numbers on the dice add up to?
When you share something with your child say: I have ___. If I give you ___ how many will I have left?
Once you see the opportunities you will understand that there are endless ways to teach math in everyday life. Keep it REAL, keep it FUN and keep it going.