Kids often find mathematics daunting, but many such experiences are influenced by the general consensus among adults, rather than their own contact with it. Everyone talks about mathematics being hard rather than interesting, so how can we expect kids to love it? Here are our top five tips on making math fun.
1. Don’t talk about how math was boring for you
Many parents often say that they weren’t good in math or that they disliked math, thinking this would decrease the pressure. But instead, this just puts in children’s head the idea that they will never be able to do it well, and that takes all the fun out of it, mostly because it focuses on the results rather than procedures. The first rule is, in order to keep your child interested in mathematics, you have to be positive about it.
2. Make it practical
Especially in the earlier years of math education, you can easily find projects that will support the topics studied. Your children can help you with shopping or the bills, and in that way practice simple mathematical operations. When discount tag says 30% off, ask them to calculate whether the new price is true or are you being cheated. Or let them convert that jar of pennies into dollars and then imagine what it would be in converted into Euros – would it be enough to buy an ice cream in France? Google it together! You can be very creative with the most mundane activities, and your child will love it much more than a textbook full of exercises.
Drawing is a very good activity as it encourages understanding the concept of space and proportions. This can be incredibly useful for geometry, but visual representation can also help understanding other math problems. If your child is interested in drawing, suggest to them that if they can’t understand a certain math problem, they should draw a picture representing all the data they were given. Having a representation can help them understand what the next few steps for obtaining the correct answer are. Drawing can add fun to learning, and is a very good study technique for visual people.
4. Use apps
Instead of fighting against apps and Youtube videos, use them to your advantage. There are many apps recommended that could introduce practicing math into children’s ‘gadget time’. Youtube is full of videos explaining exercises which can serve as powerful tool against poorly explained units in school. Children can pause the video and re-watch it if they didn’t understand something. Moreover, there are many different tutors so they can find the one they like best. Even if sceptical, give it a try because online learning might just be more fun than classic notebook exercises.
5. Tutor your child or find a good private tutor
We’ve all had a bad teacher at some point in our lives. Sometimes the problem is the math teacher. They are a crucial figure in making your child interested in mathematics, and if that is not working out as it should, offer some alternatives. You can either tutor your child by yourself, or find a very good private tutor that will explain different operations with enthusiasm and focus. Your child needs a supportive figure who will encourage learning even when the task is not solved at the first go, and who is also good in explaining concepts that might seem foreign and abstract.