Teaching Math Can Be Fun and Games

Why shouldn’t a child think that learning is fun? Why shouldn’t math be taught like it is a game instead of something to be dreaded?

My 5-year-old seems to have more of a natural talent for math than I did and I want to encourage it by having fun while learning.

While my daughter does have her math skills reinforced in the kitchen as I talked about before, I am always on the look out for new ideas to make learning the basics enjoyable.

What could be more fun than playing “pretend” and games while learning math?

Recently, her Time4Learning curriculum covered coins in one of the math sections. Although the lessons and test indicated that she had “mastered” the subject, I knew better. Thus when she started making up a pretend game of store with me as the cashier using real coins, I decided to make it a learning opportunity.

She would bring toys to the “check out” and ask how much they cost. I would tell her. She had a blast. We played for about two hours. In the end, she knew the value of all of the coins, she was able to add up various coins to make the correct change, and she often knew how much money she should get back.

We also took this lesson to a few real world applications. She carries coins in her purse for purchases of candy, newspapers, and other coin only items. Plus, she has paid for some purchases with “cash dollars” and counted her change. She loves it. Sometimes the cashiers love it also. Sometimes the cashiers do not even like it. Overall, it has been a success.

I also supplemented these activities with a Kumon workbook.

Like the other Kumon workbooks we have used, this is a good workbook and is great for reinforcement of our other activities. However, dealing with actual money can hardly be beat.

We also practiced math when my daughter challenged me to a game of bowling on the Wii. She was able add and subtract pins, spares and strikes. She would tell me how many pins remained, who was ahead based upon the numerical scores, and what the score would be if she or I made a strike or spare.

Although she wanted to play on the Wii like she did before I joined in, she was very proud of herself for knowing the answers to my questions.

She was also very proud of her scores. Most of the strikes and spares were hers and the other pins remaining were mine. Not only was she able to beat my husband and me in those games, she was able to beat our top scores as well. I think I may need to practice. . .

In the end, there have been some very positive, realistic advancements in my daughters math skills as a result of playing games and having fun.