Helping children to love math can be a challenge for most parents. Math is a skill that requires brainpower to master and this can be experienced by kids as hard work.
The next question you might ask is: “If so, how can we make it not feel like work? And instead, make it more fun and enjoyable for them?”
To do that, you can try to enhance the learning experience by infusing innovative ways to help make understanding of each concept fun! This not only helps to motivate the child but also increases the retention of concepts. Here are some exercises that can be useful to kick-start their fun mathematical journey:
If you have ever heard a child count “1, 2, 3, 4…”, you have heard rote counting. This is the simplest number concept that children develop, and it refers to counting numbers sequentially. Rote counting is important as it forms the basis for understanding numbers and other math concepts such as adding, subtracting, measuring and money.
To help children rote count, you can try these exercises:
Toss a ball
Grab a ball and toss it back and forth with your child on the opposite end. When you start throwing, encourage the child to verbally state the next number in the sequence.
Introduce number songs
Sing and learn the song which has counting elements in them
["1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught a Fish Alive"]
Ten in the bed
The Big Numbers Song
Invest in puzzles that will allow children to familiarise themselves with numbers, especially the double digits. This may help better their recognition of them.
Count Given Objects
Counting is the essential building block of mathematics and quantifying objects is an important aspect of our daily lives. By understanding this concept, it helps children make sense of the importance of “How many?”
Here is what you can do to enhance their experience:
Counting Blocks Provide a fixed number of blocks and get your child to orally count out aloud the quantity of blocks given. It would help if you line the blocks in a straight line. Thereafter, point to the first block in line and say “one” in your series of numbers. Next, point to the second block and prompt your child to follow through till the last block.
Introduce fun worksheets You can use your child’s favourite item in order to make it fun and motivating. Get them to count out the items in a picture:
Match numbers to objects
The ability to recognise numerals is an important skill to develop alongside counting. Being able to see the connection between numbers and any given objects builds in the child the ability to describe and compare sets. This is one of the stepping stones towards understanding the concept of addition and subtraction.
You can try these to make it fun:
Provide math counters to match corresponding numbers
Get a paper and section it accordingly to the numbers you want to teach. You may use any type of math counters (eg. Bears, Pebbles, Buttons) and get your child to place the correct quantities accordingly.
Having fun with pegs
Take a break from doing the laundry and use your household pegs for some numerical fun! Get children to count and clip the correct answers to the activity sheet. It is also a great time to practise their fine motor skills!
Addition helps children master the relationships between numbers and understand how quantities relate to each other. By having basic addition skills, it provides your child with a framework for mastering math when they advance in their academics.
How to help your child master addition more effectively:
Use a number line to help them visualise
Providing simple worksheets with addition number sentences and number lines for children is a great arithmetic strategy. With the use of a number line, it helps to develop and build a child’s number sense by providing a mental approach to visualise and represent the numbers on paper. A strong foundation here will help in more advanced concepts taught in Mathematics.
Dot Sticker Wall
Got some leftover stickers? Use it to help your child learn addition in a fun way! You can write simple sums on the wall and get children to paste the final answer. For example, you may write “ 3+2 = “ and the child would have to paste 5 stickers as the correct answer.
Building blocks and dice
This is a great and fun way to incorporate counting, matching numbers to objects, and addition all in one! Simply roll the dice and match the number of blocks to the results. Repeat once more. Then, write the number statement accordingly and add it up!
We have shown you a total of 10 different exercises to help children master math in the most enjoyable way possible! The key is to go beyond the pencil and paper method to make their learning experience fun. This will help the child learn better as the information would be more likely to “stick” in their minds, helping them to remember the concepts better.
The strategies outlined above can help to keep your child enthusiastic and engaged in learning. Once they find joy, there is no stopping them!
Written by: Jermaine Tan
Inset number puzzles:
Number line worksheet sample:
Dot sticker wall:
Building blocks and dice: