Friday, July 6, 2012

Math fun at home

Parents are the first teacher that children are exposed to in their life.  It has become increasingly more popular for parents to read to their children, but often parents forget or just don’t know how to incorporate math skills into their children’s daily lives.  Also, there is always the challenge of getting your kids to actually want to participate in an at-home activity because after all, “Parent’s aren’t cool and we don’t know anything.” [joking]

I am always looking to sneak learning into my kid’s daily lives.  For example, for my preschoolers, I have tons of cookie cutters in various shapes and letters, and I will let them pick one out of the plastic container to use on their sandwich at lunch.  Then I ask them questions such as: “What shape is this?” or “What sandwich do you want the triangle or the circle? Or tell them to take the sandwich with the letter that is at the beginning of their name.

For math ideas in the kitchen, we learn fractions while eating watermelon and quesadillas.  I ask questions like, “Do you want one half, or one quarter?”  To make things more interesting you can serve them pizza-style on a silver round platter.  Most grocery stores sell three packs of disposable aluminum round platters.

Do you want one sixth or half?
Do you want one quarter? What is another way to ask for two quarters?

I am always encouraging my kids to play outside, but of course, I have to sneak math into outside playtime as well. We get out the sidewalk chalk and play hopscotch the traditional way or make up your own game. For preschoolers and kindergarteners just drawing a hopscotch and numbering it is a challenge. Learning to take turns, and practice their motor skills are complex tasks.
Another great math activity is letting your kids play with plastic liquid measuring cups. Dollar stores usually have them. On a hot day, kids love to pour water in and out of containers. For fun you can see how much water will fit in each container. Will 1 cup of water fill the kid sized watering can or is that too much? Let's try three quarters.
Share your clever math ideas by commenting below. I'd love to know how you sneak math into your child's life.

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