A lot of people struggle with math, with their initial battles coming when they were very young. Youngsters who struggle with math may grow into adults with the same battles, but if intervention is done at a young age, then the challenges can be reduced if not eliminated. Making math fun for students is the way to go. As a parent or an educator you can employ the following games.
The Coin Game
You can help a child learn math by playing a coin game. Here, you want to have the child think about the types of coins needed to meet a certain amount.
For instance, you might say: “I have four coins in my wallet. They are worth eight cents. What coins do I have?” The answer is: three pennies and one nickel.
To challenge them further, you might say: “I have 46 cents in my wallet. What coins might add up to that amount?” The child could answer: one quarter, two dimes and a penny.” Or, four dimes, one nickel and one penny. If you identify the number of coins present you can help the child rule out answers that are not correct explains Mathnasium.
Guess a Number
Another game to catch the attention of young children is to play a number guessing game. It might go something like this:
Parent: I am thinking of a number between 1 and 100.
Child: Is it more than 20?
Child: Is it more than 40?
Child: Is it more than 60?
Child: Is it more than 50?
Child: Is it more than 55?
Child: Is it 56?
Child: Is it 57?
After you complete your first round, then have your child come up with a number. Here, you might show him how to get an answer faster, by picking a higher number to begin with, such as 50.
Shopping Made Fun
Taking your child to the grocery store to learn math is a powerful and real life way to teach him. But you don’t need to go to the store to help them learn — you can gather items from around the house, including empty containers, and put prices on each one.
Provide a scratch pad and a pencil to allow your child to tally the items. You might make this lesson challenging by telling your child you have only $20 to spend. Here, the items may cost more than that amount, requiring the child to consider what item(s) should be removed from the list to stay within budget.
You might serve as the cashier and your child as the customer for the first go round. Then, switch places to allow your child to add up the items. Figure out what items to buy and which ones to leave behind when your budget has been expended.
Coin Flipping Fun
With a pencil and scratch paper in hand, this next game can help children understand probability. Take one or more coins, flip them and then score each result.
For instance, you could be heads and your child would then be tails. Each time a flipped coin comes up heads, then you’ll tally your column, for tails the tally would go in your child’s column. Flip the coin 50 times and you should have a clear winner. If one side gets at least 10 more flips than the other, then award an additional 10 points.
You might also consider flipping two coins back to back, awarding double the points for whenever a heads or tails match is made. Let your child consider the fairness (or not) of offering bonus points and discuss why one result may appear more often than another result.
Math Made Fun
Ultimately, games can help your child overcome his or her hesitation in working with math. They save as basic instructions, but can prove valuable as your child will see how math is so widely used.