COVID 19 and My Child’s Education: What Can I Do? Part 3 – Math Learning
Math. Does it create angst for you or for your child? We know it’s essential, but a lot of us have some baggage when it comes to this subject. Maybe we struggled with it in school, or maybe our kids have a hard time and we’re worried they’ll fall behind; however, we all know how important math is to our child’s education!
When it comes to COVID and being in and out of school – here are my top tips if you want to try and build math skills and confidence at home:
- Play lots of games
Why math games? Well, so many math skills can be taught through game. Playing games also makes math learning enjoyable and fun – who doesn’t want to play a game? And when a child is enjoying the game, they tend to get more practice, which helps build skills, pleasure associated with the subject and confidence! It also takes away the fear, angst and frustration that can come with getting the “wrong answer.” Game play allows children to “play math” in a safe, stress-free environment.
When it comes to early math, we want to make sure that our child has a strong handle on operations. Games as simple as Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders with toddlers can help with early counting. I personally LOVE the game Sum Swamp for early learners as it helps to build a strong foundation in addition. We also love Money Bags for teaching early money learning; all games by Melon Rind strengthening addition; and we love Dino Math Tracks for teaching early place value (Money Bags, Sum Swamp and Dino Math Tracks all of which will soon be restocked in the shop ?).
Any early game that uses a die or set of dice helps children to practice counting, one-to-one correspondence, and subitizing (recognizing small amounts of numbers without counting them.) A deck of cards is also an excellent tool for math learning – there are so many math games you can play with a deck of cards to build skills and have fun playing math!
A favorite resource of mine are a series of books by Denise Gaskins called “Math You Can Play.”
They are a GOLD MINE of games to play with kids to make math learning fun and enjoyable! Most just require a deck of cards or some dice!
She has books on the following topics:
- Counting and Number Bonds
- Addition and Subtraction
- Multiplication and Fractions
- Pre-Algebra and Geometry
Most of her books are available in hard copy off of Amazon or in Kindle so you can download and play ASAP!
This year in our homeschool, I’ve also been loving the books by Kate Snow:
- Preschool Math at Home
- Addition Facts that Stick
- Subtraction Facts that Stick
- Multiplication Facts that Stick
- Division Facts that Stick
She also has a game-based approach and the books include some worksheets for practice. The books include game boards so there’s no prep involved – literally open the book, follow the lessons and play!
Personally, I think these are great resources if you’re working on strengthening a particular skill at home.
And of course, I do my best to keep our shop stocked with fun math games for the kids: Click here to see our current math games!
- Use hands-on manipulatives for early learners
Math learning can be very abstract for young learners who are still thinking in a concrete way. Using manipulatives allows children to think through their work in hands-on way and to problem solve and increases understanding.
The following tools can be helpful in encouraging a strong understanding of mathematical concepts:
- A Ten Frame
- Linking Cubes
- Base 10 Blocks
- Counters of any sort (bowtie pasta or dry macaroni, stones, coins, etc)
- Pattern Blocks
If you have an early learner, encourage your child to use these manipulatives to help them demonstrate their understanding and work out solutions to problems.
- Approach math through different methods – don’t just kill kids with worksheets
Look at math through a different lens so your child can see the benefits of math and real world applications. Here are some practical ideas:
- Read picture books about math (a simple Google search or Pinterest search will bring up loads of ideas and our local library has some great ones)
- Read books about mathematicians who solved real world problems using math
- Do some real world math projects with your child. Here are some ideas!
- Go on a grocery store field trip to see if your child can create a meal on a budget of $40 for your family.
- Graph Halloween candy hauls
- Bake a favorite recipe but double it!