Tuesday, January 20, 2015

5 Ways to Make Math Fun!


Our children either love it or hate it, and it depends a lot on how it is presented. 

Few children I know are particularly fond of sitting with a workbook doing seemingly endless rows of problem after problem.

Yes, Big Brother uses Rod and Staff workbooks (and I highly recommend them by the way!), but sitting through 4 pages of dry facts and problems everyday does get hard. Lately I have had him do 3 full pages and only 1/3 of one review page. This eases his burden some and leaves us more time for fun, hands-on learning time. We always spend at least 20-30 minutes daily doing hands-on math before he ever cracks open his workbook.

2019 Update: While I still love and can highly recommend Rod and Staff Math, my boys both now use ACE Math curriculum. Both are solid and mastery based programs. And we still enjoy using the fun suggestions in this article!

Children need to be actively engaged in their learning!

Here are 5 easy ways to make math painless, hands-on, and most of all...FUN! :)

1.) Food

Really grab their attention with a fun snack! Get some marshmallows, blueberries, Cheerios, M'n'Ms, gummy bears, cheese cubes, candy hearts, or any other handy favorite!

  • Count them
  • Sort them (by size, color, taste)
  • Practice adding and taking away
  • Measure out different amounts
  • Arrange them in rows to demonstrate multiplication
  • Estimate (Guess how many marshmallows will fit in a baby food jar?)
  • Make an edible bar graph
  • Cut an apple, pizza, or pie into slices to demonstrate fractions

Of course this won't be nearly as fun unless the child gets to eat their work after class!! :)

2.) Toys

Learning math can be child's play!

Use your child's favorite toys as math manipulatives. Grab some LEGO bricks, Counting bears, blocks, toy cars, small animal toys, stuffed animals, dolls, marbles, army men, or cowboys and Indians and turn math class into playtime!

  • Count them
  • Sort them into groups
  • Add and subtract them
  • Measure and/or weigh them
  • Arrange them to demonstrate multiplication facts

3.) Dry Erase

Why does math always seem to get done faster and easier when using dry erase markers?!

  • Let your child work out all their problems on the board for a change.
  • Put worksheets in page protectors.
  • Draw out pictures to help solve word problems.
  • Write numbers and math symbols on LEGO blocks so children can build math facts (The dry erase wipes right off. Use wet erase markers if you need more durability for this activity.)
  •  Make a graph or chart.
  • Write important facts, rules, or definitions on the board for quick reference while your child is working on math.

4.) Games

Some days we just need some game time!!

There are so many great games out there that children can play and painlessly practice their math skills in the process!! Here's a quick list of just a few of our family's favorites that build skills in basic math operations, logic, money sense, patterns, colors, and more:

5.) Get Moving!

Did you know that movement actually helps children better retain what they are learning? So much for "sit still and do your work"!

  • Tape sheets of paper to the floor with numbers on them (or write them on the pavement with sidewalk chalk!). Give your child a math problem and hace thwm jump on the correct answer!
  • Quiz your child or have them recite math facts while jumping rope, bouncing on an exercise ball, or jumping on a trampoline!
  • Make up a game of Math Baseball (or Football, Basketball, Bowling, etc.)!
  • Collect some paper towel rolls, pop cans, or water bottles from around the house. Tape numbers to them. Give your child a math problem and have them "shoot" the correct answer with a squirt gun or rubber band gun!!!

(This post contained affiliate links. By clicking and making purchases through these links you are blessing our family with a small extra income. Thank you!)

Have you found any of these tips helpful? How do you approach math in your homeschool? What are some other ways to make learning more fun?

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