5 Ways To Make Math More Fun And Meaningful For Kids
Fun and meaningful – these are two words that children rarely use to describe math. There are several reasons why many kids dislike math, but according to kids and learning experts, the top reasons always include:
- They always have to memorize mathematical formulas and concepts
- They often have to make numerous complex and lengthy calculations (such as finding the surface area of cuboid or cylinder)
- They always feel pressure to get perfect quiz or test scores
- They have a hard time finding practical applications for the advanced mathematical formulas and concepts they’re learning
Because of these reasons (and more), parents always struggle to get kids to like math and excel in this subject.
How to Help Kids Change Their Attitude towards Math
According to a study published on the website of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, kids who outgrow their dislike and fear of of this subject will find it easier to do better on this subject.
If you are a parent or teacher, you can help children change their attitude towards math by making it more fun and meaningful for them. You can do this through the following ways:
1. Enable your kids to realize the importance of math
When children understand that math is not all about theories and principles, they will start viewing the study of math as a valuable learning opportunity and thus become more interested in it. As such, you need to constantly show them how useful math is in real life.
- Teach your kids about basic finance whenever you go shopping
- Train younger kids to sort coins and bills and how to use them when buying individual or small amounts of items
- Allow your older children to help find the best prices for the items on your shopping list. Ask them to tally simple sums while grocery shopping.
Other activities that will help kids understand the relevance of math in real life include using measurements and basic operations when cooking and baking, telling time, checking temperatures, etc.
Although these activities seem simple, they are still effective ways of teaching kids the importance of knowing the right concepts and applications of certain mathematical operations.
2. Take math outdoors
If you’re an educator, when you take math learning outside the classroom, you provide kids excellent ways of realizing that math can be found and used everywhere. This will also allow you to transfer lessons outside the classroom, and vice versa.
Below are examples of fun activities that will enable you to take math outdoors:
- Treasure or scavenger hunt
- Multiplication hopscotch
- Leaf logic
- Counting maze (for preschoolers)
3. Enroll your kids in an after-school tutoring program
Sometimes, children need outside help to discover that math is interesting and meaningful. If you and your kids decide to get help from a tutor, find a tutoring center that specializes in teaching kids math.
The right math tutoring center will follow a unitary method that will help their students make sense of all the theories and concepts they are learning. They will assess the needs of the students and design a personalized learning program that will address their specific requirements.
Most tutoring centers today do not simply provide additional explanations and activities for kids to learn a particular concept. Tutors tailor their teaching techniques to ensure the students learn by heart and apply their knowledge.
As such, they also employ fun and creative methods to teach their students. They also check progress along the way to make sure kids truly understand, apply, and retain the concepts they learned.
4. Incorporate math in games
Bring out your board games, a pack of cards, a puzzle, or even or old blocks and turn the game into a family competition. Activities and games that incorporate or focus on math are great in reinforcing the right mathematical skills and concepts.
Regardless of the activity, you can reward even small accomplishments and help your kids know that they just completed a fun math-related task. Children will love the recognition and prize, especially if they can compete with their siblings. They will also realize that knowing mathematical operations can be fun and applying them can be rewarding.
5. Be supportive
Lastly, although you may want to empathize with your kids, saying things like “I was also never good at math” won’t do anything good for them. It is best to encourage your children to embrace challenges and see the fun in learning even if they are having a hard time with some mathematical concepts.
Be as involved as you can be in your children’s schoolwork and show enthusiasm. When you help your kids learn to associate math with fun, pleasure, parental love and attention, they will be excited about the subject throughout their learning years.
As a parent or educator, your support and willingness to think outside the box will go a long way in helping your kids think differently about math and eventually excel in the subject.
Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.