Math Hacks: 5 ingenious ways to make kids love Math—and have fun with it too
Start kids early with math problem-solving activities. Minus the worksheets and stress— with daily opportunities to teach practical math.
Kids learn better, faster and more effectively through play, and that’s all it takes to multiply the fun.
1 Baking or Cooking is Math
Whip out a favorite dish or dessert by guiding kids through a recipe. Preparing ingredients opens them up to mathematical languages of weight and quantity. Talk them through it. Use math language: capacity (full, half full), standard measurements (litre, pint, tablespoon, teaspoon, cup), and fractions (two-thirds, quarter).
The kitchen turns into a classroom with this fun bonding activity. Plus you get to enjoy eating afterwards too.
2 Sharing is Math
Once you’ve finished cooking something up, continue the learning process by teaching children how to make sharing portions. Made pizza? Ask children how many people need to share the pie and how can it be divided equally. Slicing one whole pizza to share with family and friends is a simple yet effective study in fraction. It reinforces reduction, identification and equivalent fractions – and seeing the pizza sliced right before their eyes is essential visual learning. How about that cake?
3 Shopping is Math
Kids love to shop for toys, snacks, clothes and knickknacks. Turn a mall visit to an educational field trip—familiarize children with the local currency then count bills and coins with them. Traveling is a perfect time to introduce them to different currencies and basic equivalent values.
Instead of giving in and purchasing whatever they want, give your child a working budget. Show them how to read price tags too (a lesson on decimals). This way they will be fully involved in the buying process, learning arithmetic along the way. Spot red tags? Promotional sales also serve as an introduction to percentages.
Provide your kids with their own money pouch and make them pay at the till point. By guiding them through the payment at the cash register, you involve them in a money game.
4 Saving is Math
Our parents taught us that saving money should be prioritized over buying—and that it’s never too early to start. Show your children how to properly manage their money. Sort it in different categories: Save, Spend and Give. By having separate jars, children learn handle money at a comfortable level.
5 Solving a Mystery is Math
Instead of spending time playing purely digital entertainment games on their iPad or iPhone, introduce them to an effective educational game where children to forget they are actually solving math!
Bill Gates’ July 2012 highlights in his speech at the Education Commission of the States’ National Forum on Education Policy saying, “Imagine if kids poured their time and passion into a video game that taught them math concepts while they barely noticed because it was so enjoyable.”
In September of 2015, two moms from Singapore who were looking for such an edutainment app took it upon themselves to find a solution. What started out as a personal hunt for a suitable math game, later led them to develop one. The duo devised a customized app, tailor-fit for their childrens’ interest.
Their brainchild, DetecThink, is an iOs app that intuitively engages a child with immersive storytelling, gaming, and more importantly, active learning. Children play the role of a discerning detective (complete with changeable costumes and gadgets), solving puzzles and problems using math – like solving subtraction to get the secret passcode to free the princess! With different levels of math lessons that involve fun characters, math equations become your kid’s tool for cracking codes. In their studies, 8 out of 10 kids who tried wanted to keep playing more (and solving more math)!
Math play molds young kids into competent mathematicians and instills a love for the subject. As Galileo proved, the entire universe is written in the language of mathematics. By finding activities that inspire creative and inventive thinking, children overcome their fears about math and focus on enriching their inquiring minds.