5 Ways to Get Your Child Excited About Mathematics

fun math activities

Inspiring your child’s love of mathematics can be a challenge for many parents. Mathematics takes a lot of brain power and concentration, which most young children don’t perceive to be fun.

Introducing your child to mathematics in the right way can set them up for a positive attitude towards mathematics in later years.The problem solving nature of mathematics provides a wealth of opportunities for children to play and have fun whilst exploring numbers and mathematical concepts.

Many studies also show that early mathematics training in children provides huge benefits to a child’s development by rewiring the brain and helping children become more adept at problem solving.

Here are five ways to inspire your child’s love of mathematics at home:

1. Play mathematical games and puzzles

There are many mathematical games that suit young learners of all ages. Encourage your child to see mathematics as a game, not work, by playing logic puzzles, computer games, sports or family board games. A 2009 study conducted by Carnegie Mellon and the University of Maryland found that preschoolers who played Chutes and Ladders improved their mathematical skills significantly compared to those in the study who played a different board game or did non-mathematical tasks. Read some fun mathematical games and activities to do with your child at home.

2. Make mathematics meaningful and real

Children love to learn, but often they need to understand how the knowledge they’re learning will be made useful. Once your child can see how mathematics can be applied to real-life situations, they’ll become more eager to listen, ask questions, and look out for more opportunities to show you how well they’ve grasped the key concepts. You can integrate mathematics into everyday activities such as shopping, creating a weekly budget, cooking and watching sports. Read more ways to help your child apply mathematics to real world situations here.

3. Read books that include mathematical themes

There are many picture books for young readers which incorporate mathematics, such as having the main character solve a problem using mathematical logic. Some children’s book titles include One Hundred Angry Ants, How Many Bugs in a Box and Socrates and the Three Little Pigs. Choose books which incorporate mathematical concepts and integrate these into your regular reading routine.

4. Get familiar with early mathematical concepts

You can begin teaching your child mathematical concepts as early as the toddler stage. Get familiar with the early mathematical skills and concepts your child will need to know in their first years of school and help them prepare for formal mathematic instruction by introducing key concepts in a fun and play-based way. Some early mathematical concepts include fundamental number skills like number recognition, number words and counting, basic 2D shapes, and understanding simple concepts of size.

5. Use rewards and positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a valuable tool to help your child learn. Not only does it make them aware that they have done something correctly, it helps boost their confidence and keep them motivated to continue learning, and perhaps, start tackling more difficult mathematical concepts.

Simple rewards like an encouraging word, smile, or even a hug are effective ways to communicate to your child that they are on the right track. You may also choose to reward your child with something tangible, like a sticker, upon completion of a mathematical problem or question.

Mathseeds is the comprehensive online mathematics program that makes learning fun for children aged 3-6. Mathseeds includes interactive games, activities, e-books and lessons to help children learn early mathematical skills and concepts, and uses a fun rewards-based system to help them stay motivated to learn. Sign up for your free two week trial of Mathseeds and Reading Eggs here.

Active Learners: Fun Activities to Build Your Child’s Math Skills through Sports

math through sport

Would your child rather spend time on the football field than sit down to study equations?

This is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to your child’s learning. In fact, not only have recent studies explored the link between physical activity and academic achievement, playing sports can be a fun and easy way to teach your child important mathematical concepts.

The following activities will let you help your child make connections between mathematics and other disciplines such as sports, to help them appreciate mathematics and find it more accessible and enjoyable to learn (while staying fit and active at the same time!).

1. Keeping Score. Many children enjoy keeping score during a sporting game. Encourage your child to add together scores while playing or watching competitive sports such as basketball or football. You can set up a scoreboard in your backyard or use simple pen and paper to keep a tally during a game. If your child is feeling confident, they can even keep score of other factors, such as strikes and fouls, or the number of innings in a baseball or cricket match.

2. Heads or tails. Kick off your game with a coin toss and introduce your child to the concept of chance and probability. Probability tells us that for a single coin toss, there are two possible outcomes – heads or tails – so the chance of getting either one is 1 in 2, or 50%. You can also record the result of each coin toss over the course of a few weeks and experiment with probability and chance together.

3. Geometry. Many sporting games involve a lot of geometry, which provides a great opportunity to talk to your child about geometrical concepts. Observe the different shapes of the fields, as well as different lines and markings. At what angle should a player kick or hit the ball? Why are different sporting fields shaped differently? Measure the distance of important field placements, like the distance between goals or the circumference of a basketball or netball rim.

4. Performance graphs. Whether it’s your child’s own sporting team or one they love to watch on the television, you can help them compare a team’s final stats versus other games in the year by creating a performance graph. This can be a fun ongoing activity that you and your child look forward to doing together. Older children may also attempt to average each player’s contribution, like scores, yards and hits, and calculate the probability of each player’s scoring potential using past scoring numbers.

5. Multiplication. Several sporting games such as rugby, cricket and basketball include a levelled scoring system, which provides a great opportunity to build your child’s multiplication skills. If your child loves basketball, encourage them to count how many one, two or three point scores they make and to record them on a chart. At the end of the game, help them add up their overall score using multiplication. For a more challenging activity, you can create your own point system which includes double digits.

Most importantly, remember to keep things fun and flexible. Over time, your little athlete will become a natural mathlete by continuing to apply their mathematical skills on the sporting field!

Mathseeds is the fun online mathematics program for ages 3-6. Children work through a sequence of highly engaging interactive lessons designed to build essential early numeracy and problem solving skills.

Click here for your free 14-day trial of Mathseeds and Reading Eggs, the multi-award winning online reading program.

10 fun ways to build early numeracy skills

math skills for kids

Mathematics can either be fun or daunting for young children. But by encouraging your child to build important early numeracy skills in a relaxed, interesting and interactive way, you are giving them the best possible chance at succeeding in, and learning to love, mathematics!

1. Play dough shapes. Ask your child to look at different 2D and 3D shapes and form them using play dough. You can also use shape cutters to help guide them. This activity gives your child a hands-on opportunity to learn, observe and manipulate different shapes.

2. Count and sort a basket of toys. Sorting and classifying objects help children understand the nature of mathematics. Gather a basket or box of toys and sit down with your child to count them. Sort them based on size, colour or theme. This is also a great way to encourage them to put away their toys!

3. Experiment with volumes during bath time. Collect differently sized jars, cups and containers and use them during bath time to teach your child about ‘full’ and ‘empty’ and compare capacities. Talk about what’s happening as you play. For example, “My cup is full, no more water can fit in my cup”, or “Let’s pour water from my small cup to your big cup and see if it becomes full”.

4. Counting in the kitchen. Cooking together is a great way to learn about fractions and measurements in the kitchen. Show your child different measuring tools and talk about the concept of fractions, such as explaining how two ½ cups make one whole cup.

5. Don’t drop the ball. Take your mathematics lesson outside by counting the number of times you and your child can throw a ball to each other without dropping it. You can also ask another child to keep a tally.

6. Mathematics in nature. Taking a walk gives your child many opportunities to build early numeracy skills. Compare the sizes of different rocks, assess how many birds you spot, note similarities and differences between different leaves, and carry a notebook to put the things you see into categories.

7. Dry macaroni patterns. Patterns help children learn sequencing and to make predictions, which leads to stronger numeracy skills. Have fun with patterns by letting your child arrange dry macaroni into different patterns or designs. You can also use beads or different types of cereal.

8. Building block towers. Building and identifying sequences help your child develop a sense of order, logic, and reason. Building block towers is a fun way to introduce your child to sequencing, by following a step-by-step method with a final goal in mind.

9. Number safari. In the car, have your child look for numbers in street and shop signs, and on licence plates. See if they can find all numbers up to ten and encourage them to call out the numbers as they find them.

10. Connect the dots. Connect the dots is a fun ways to teach your child about number sequencing. You can download this free connect the dots activity featuring Reggie from Reading Eggs!

Mathseeds is the fun online mathematics program for ages 3-6. Children work through a sequence of highly engaging interactive lessons designed to build essential early numeracy and problem solving skills.

Click here for your free 14-day trial of Mathseeds and Reading Eggs, the multi-award winning online reading program.

5 Fun Number Activities for Kids

fun math games

Children can learn basic mathematics skills before starting their first year of school. The best part is it doesn’t need to involve writing tedious mathematics problems on a piece of paper!

Doing mathematics experientially is much more fun for young children. Here are five fun hands-on activities you can do to build your child’s early counting and number skills without them even knowing.

1. Spill the beans

Grab a dozen lima beans and paint one side of the beans with red nail polish or use non-toxic spray paint on a sheet of newspaper. Place 10 beans in a small container or breath mint tin, shake, and spill them on a table. How many beans show up red? How many beans show up white? How many beans in all? Shake again and again to learn all the ways to make sets of ten. Your child can also count the beans, make patterns and explore addition and subtraction.

2. Match the cotton balls

Take one ice cube tray and a bag of cotton balls. Put two cotton balls in the left side of the ice cube tray and ask your child to match it on the other side. They can begin making sets, or use the patterns for addition and subtraction. How many cotton balls in all? Once your child gets the hang of it, use the ice cube tray to teach place value. Make tens on the left side and ones on the right side.

3. Parking lot numbers

If your little one loves everything to do with cars, gather a bunch of toy cars and a single A4 sheet of paper. Draw out parking spaces and label each space with a number from 1 to 10. Say a number and ask your child to place a car in the correct space. If you have several toy cars of different colours, ask them to park a specific car into a specific parking space.

4. Counting with snacks

For a yummy mathematics treat, assemble a pile of your child’s favourite snack. Choose something small, such as jellybeans, gummy bears or raisins. Grab a dice and roll it. Count out the number you landed on. Roll the dice again and add or subtract that number of snacks to or from your snack pile. Repeat this activity until you only have one or two snacks left in the pile.

5. Paint with paper towel rolls

Cut five sheets of A4 paper into quarters so you have 20 evenly sized sheets. Write a number at the top of each page from 1 to 20. Take a sponge and apply a small amount of three different colours of paint (this will be used as a palette). Have your child read the number on each page and then print the correct number of circles by pressing the end of a paper towel roll onto a colour on the sponge. You can make this activity more difficult by focusing on the teen numbers and asking your child to stamp ten times in one colour, then work out how many more to make the teen number using a different colour (e.g. 13 is 10 and 3).

Mathseeds is the fun online mathematics program for ages 3-6. Children work through a sequence of highly engaging interactive lessons designed to build essential early mathematics and problem solving skills.

Visit www.readingeggs.com for your free 14-day trial of Mathseeds and Reading Eggs and let your child experience the fun way of learning mathematics.

 

5 Fun Ways to Teach Your Child about Patterns

Teaching Patterns Children

Patterns are all around us. Children have a natural tendency to find patterns; research shows that if you give a child a box full of cups, they will most likely stack them into a pyramid.

Patterns help children learn sequencing and to make predictions, which leads to stronger mathematical skills. Times tables, addition and skip counting all require an understanding in patterning. Parents can play a big role in helping their child discover and understand patterns, and often the best way to do it is through play.

1. Stack, sort and count blocks

If your child is in preschool, you can help them sort items before learning to recognise patterns. You can use different coloured blocks and have them stack, sort and count them.  By doing this simple and fun activity, your child will begin to notice things repeat in a certain order by size, shape or colour.

2. Match socks by size and colour

While folding the laundry, ask your child to help by matching socks by their size and colour, and then putting them into pairs. This introduces them to sorting and classifying based on pattern recognition. You can also use mittens and earrings. Count out loud by two’s with them so they become familiar with the concept of skip counting.

3. Sort kitchen items by category

Unpack your pots, frying pans, kitchen tongs and utensils and have your child help you sort them by category. You can guide them to sort the items by colour, shape, texture or size. Ask your child to name the groups of each category, like ‘containers’, ‘heavy objects’ or simply ‘black objects’. Sorting and classifying activities like this one encourage children to think analytically.

4. Beads on a string

Bean-making is a fun way to keep children occupied for hours, and is a great way to teach them simple sequencing and pattern creation. Whether you use paper beads or pasta beads, make sure there are at least two different shapes, sizes or colours. Label each type of bead with a letter (e.g. ‘A’ for purple beads and ‘B’ for pink beads) and ask your child to create a pattern on a string based on sequences you say aloud, for example, ‘A-B-A-B’.

5. ‘I spy’ patterns in nature

There are so many patterns to observe in nature, from the colour of leaves to the notes of a songbird. Play a guessing game ‘I spy a pattern’ to encourage your child to observe and create patterns. You can start off with something simple like, ‘I spy with my eye a pattern with stripes’. Your child can then take guesses by looking around while you give them more clues until they guess correctly.

Mathseeds is the fun online maths program for ages 3-6. Children work through a sequence of highly engaging interactive lessons designed to build essential early maths and problem solving skills.

Visit www.mathseeds.com for your free 14-day trial of Mathseeds and let your child experience the fun way of learning maths.