Many students need help with learning and mastering essential math skills. Why is that? Though some students thrive during math class, others easily tune out from a subject they see as tedious, dull, and repetitive.
As a teacher and children’s advocate, Paulette Chaffee understands that math is not every student’s favorite subject, which is why she reveals these five fun ways to incorporate a daily math lesson to build a child’s basic math skills:
Brush and Count Game
Incorporating fun activities that develop baseline math skills early helps make future math classes less monotonous. This activity is great for pumping up excitement about math in a fun and creative way while also instilling healthy habits in children.
When it is time for a child to brush their teeth, a parent should challenge the child to a game. The parent then tells the child that they will start a timer when the child begins to brush their teeth.
When the child thinks ten seconds have passed, they spit their toothpaste into the sink, indicating to the parent to stop the timer. The parent then reveals the timer to the child to show many seconds have actually passed.
The game encourages a child to practice counting so that their counting of seconds matches the timer’s, which is the game’s objective.
Parents commonly give kids allowance, which aids in building financial skills. For example, parents can ask a student to solve a math problem that equates to the amount of money they will be given before allowance is distributed.
What Time Is It?
Reading an analog clock can help children with the concept of fractions. Parents can replace all digital clocks with analog clocks in the home and frequently ask their children to tell them what time the clock reads.
Cheerios for Math
Breakfast time can be a great way to incorporate basic math skills when cereal is involved. Of course, Cheerios are an excellent meal choice for this activity, but other cereal brands like Apple Jacks or Fruit Loops work great, too.
Before pouring milk into the cereal bowl, a parent should give the dry bowl of cereal to the child after the child has washed their hands. To find the “key” to the milk, the child has to solve one math question using their cereal.
A parent can use any house key or cut a key out of paper for this activity, and they will need to hide the key somewhere in the home before starting this activity.
Great math questions could include, “Can you hold 15 Cheerios in your hand?” or, “What do 7 Cheerios plus 5 Cheerios equal?” The cereal Lucky Charms is also fantastic to use for math questions like, “How many green clover marshmallows are in your cereal today?”
Once the child answers the math question, the parent tells them where the “key” to the milk is located in the house. The child then goes and finds the hidden key and returns the key to the parent to “unlock” the milk.
The parent then pours milk into the child’s cereal bowl, and breakfast is served!
Unlock the Cookie Jar
A parent can fill a cookie jar with a child’s favorite cookie or candy to start. Then, every day, the parent can add a new math problem for a child to solve to “unlock” the cookie jar and enjoy one cookie or candy.
Because of the extra sweet incentive, this activity is a great opportunity to encourage children to solve more challenging math problems.
In addition, parents can expose children to math problems that are a grade level higher than the child’s grade. This activity is also beneficial to help children practice math problems they currently struggle to understand.
About Paulette Chaffee
Paulette Chaffee is an educator, children’s advocate, grants facilitator, lawyer, and member of various non-profit boards. She obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands in Communicative Disorders and a California Lifetime Teaching Credential. She is currently the Ambassador for Orange County 4th District and a board member of All the Arts for All the Kids.