5 Easy Ways To Make Math Fun

Learning to calculate, high five success, black mother and child

Many students struggle with learning math. This is due to several factors, including shortened attention spans, increased reliance on calculators, and a lack of practice when it comes to building math skills. Understanding math is an essential part of building critical thinking skills. Falling behind in this subject can (and will) affect other areas of the student’s academic and personal life.

There is hope, however.

Starting young helps prepare a child’s brain for math concepts that will be important for good math skills for the future. Since children are much more eager to do things that they associate with play, making math fun can help the learning process.

Why children struggle with math

Some educators disagree on how to teach children math, when to introduce certain concepts, and how to evaluate their abilities after learning a new concept.

Children may learn one technique in second grade, only to have that technique erased and replaced in third grade. This lack of consistency can make math seem more intimidating than it is. It also fails to give the child the foundation he or she needs to go from the basics into more difficult concepts.

In other situations, math can seem intimidating to students right away. It may be a parent who recalls his or her own struggles with the subject, or a teacher who fails to properly explain abstract concepts.

Making kids love math is an ongoing challenge for most parents. It’s a skill that takes a lot of brain power to master, and to kids, it’s often overwhelmingly challenging, or frustratingly boring. How can you change your child’s attitude toward math?

Here are five tips on how to get your child more interested in math.

Five ways to make math fun

  1. Turn math into a game.
  2. There are a number of board and computer games that can turn math into a fun exercise. Board games (like Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, and Sorry!) and card games (like Crazy 8’s) foster the development of “mental math” in a healthy and entertaining way. There are also digital resources including websites and phone apps for children of all ages.

  3. Insert math into activities your child already enjoys.
  4. Connecting math to something he or she is interested in will make it seem like no work at all! Try activities like cooking recipes, baseball averages, and video game rankings.

  5. Challenge your child with competition.
  6. Create math questions and take turns solving them with your child. Make it a contest to see who can get the most questions right. This will encourage the development of “mental math” skills.

  7. Introduce a reward system.
  8. This is a great way to encourage children to want to learn math. Rewards don’t have to be expensive—they can be as simple as an extra hour of television at night, or a trip to the corner store for a treat.

  9. Bring math to life.

Take advantage of learning opportunities as they happen. This can be as simple as counting mailboxes when driving down the road, or as complex as calculating coupon discounts when cashing out at the grocery store. The point is to show kids the purpose of math, and how necessary it is in the real world.

Turn math struggles into math success

Making math fun and making math easy are two sides of the same coin. The key is to replace the idea of “scary math” with practical problems, real-life applications. And an early start helps!

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