4 Activities to Support Mathematics Learning at Home
For anyone who’s accidentally chosen the wrong words to say something around a child, then you already know something: kids are like little sponges. Their brains are always developing, and the opportunity for learning is seemingly endless. Of course, they’re still learning after they leave school. The question is: what are they learning? As a parent, you have the ability to encourage more learning of the things you want them to learn, and less of whatever they may pick up from TV or digital entertainment. Here are four every day activities you can use as learning opportunities to get your kids using more math skills too.
Putting Away Toys
In most homes of young families, it’s an endless battle to put the toys away every day. Your kids will likely appreciate a change of energy by creating games that are part of the chore. What if your children first had to sort their toys into different categories like weight, length, or mass? They could count the total number and consider word problems about their favorite toys (e.g. “there are more red toys than blue toys,” or “heavy toys weigh more than light and medium weight toys combined!”). Then, there’s every parent’s favorite: time how long it takes them to put it away and see if they can beat their last time.
Cleaning up Leaves
Every season is filled with yard chores, but a favorite for kids is jumping in piles of leaves! Piles of dried leaves can be used for estimating too; have your children consider how many could fit in a bag before stuffing (or how many bags it will take to pick up all the leaves). They can measure the height and length of the original pile or, of course, count them. Kids love to race, even if it’s against themselves. Who can rake a section of the yard the fastest? Count aloud timing or number of sweeps of the rake for the benefit of younger children.
Setting the Table
The chore teaches pride in order, customs, and family, but setting the table is also a great place to reinforce math skills. Your kids will have to count the number of utensils before anything. You can encourage creative table setting by requiring certain angles and sorting of cutlery or plates and cups. Young children can be tested on which plates or cups are smaller than others, or if everyone has the right plates, cups or utensils at their place.
Planting a Vegetable Garden
A fun activity that naturally includes everyday math skills is planting a vegetable garden with your children. They’ll get to pick out which vegetables to grow, either from seed or seedling. Once you’ve planted them — by measuring the soil and water, with the proper ratio, of course — you can watch them grow. Measure the height of the plants each day or two and record it in a garden journal. Your children can calculate their growth rates and keep daily measurements. After a little time, you can even cook with the vegetables and support math skills there as well.
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