The following is a post from contributing writer Mary Prather.
You might have a “math kid.” I do.
You know the kid: loves math, obsesses on all things number related, views life through a very mathematical lens.
That is not. But, I am learning to think a little more like my math kid and I’m learning ways to challenge him so he stays interested in math.
Provide The Right Tools
My math kid is always measuring something, drawing something, or figuring something out. I keep the following tools handy:
- ruler, yardstick, and measuring tape
- sharp pencils
- graph paper
- printed math facts drills
You never know when your math kid might want to design a building using all squares, graph their favorite shapes, or time themselves on their multiplication facts. All of these things happen in my house. I don’t think these things are fun at all, but my math kid does.
Give Them Meaningful Word Problems
My son loves when the LEGO catalog comes in the mail. He loves it so much that he can’t see straight for the next 24 hours. I took that catalog the minute it came and created several word problems from it. I told my son he could look at the catalog for an hour solid if he did those math problems for me.
Guess what? After he finished the problems he made up more of his own! Sometimes you have to get creative.
Collect Math Manipulatives and Games
Over the years some of our favorite math resources have been:
- Unifix Cubes – Check out a post I wrote a couple of years ago about how we make math fun with Unifix Cubes.
- The Number Ladder Game
- Puzzles – all kinds!
- Math Card Games
Incorporate Math and Reading
There are so many wonderful books that you can add into your math child’s day. Currently our favorite series is built around Sir Cumference – a play off of King Arthur and his Knights. These math adventures are great for math kids, but they’re also good for helping a child who’s not so good at math understand some concepts, too.
You can also find an exhaustive list of living math books at Living Math.
Add Math Into Physical Education
My math kid loves to do math outside. Ideas include:
- timing laps around the house – average the times, find the difference between the times, etc.
- scooter races up and down the driveway – again, average times, make a line graph of times
- get a pedometer – figure out how many steps are in different routes – so many possibilities here!
The biggest thing I am learning is that for a child who has a true inclination towards math, everything in their life is just MATHEMATICAL.
Put yourself in your child’s shoes and learn to view life through a math lens. Then, so many everyday things can turn into great mathematical teaching moments!
Mary is a homeschooling mom of an 11 year old girl and an 8 year old boy. She is a musician, reader, and lover of all things education! Visit her at Homegrown Learners.
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