Most grownups would agree that they found math a little difficult to understand during their school days. However, it is important to know that math can be an interesting and enlightening subject if it is taught and understood in the right way. Here are a few simple ways to make math fun and enjoyable for your children.
Get Rid of Math Phobia
Bipasha Deka, an experienced mathematics teacher feels that parents should never tell their children that math is very tough or that they didn’t like this subject in their school days because parents are role models for every kid. “When a child comes to know that his or her parents were scared of math, they automatically develop a phobia in his or her mind. Once a child suffers from math phobia it becomes difficult to remove it,” she adds.
Weave Math into Words
Problems of addition, subtraction, division or multiplication can be explained through stories or words. “I used to play word games with my daughter to explain word problem of addition and subtraction when she was younger. She enjoyed it a lot,” Bipasha says. Simple statements or word problems like: ‘I give you five apples and four oranges. How many fruits do you have now?’ can be used.
Keep it Simple
Chaitali Pal Chowdhury, runs a franchise called iMath, where she uses games, stories, puzzles and several other fun ways to teach math. She advises parents to involve the child in daily activities and make the subject fun and interesting.
She gives the following advice to parents, “Ask your kid to help sort out their socks into pairs, they will learn matching. You can teach them colors, numbers and additions through their toys. Make them physically hop and jump to rhythms or songs. Most of our party games and songs can be used to teach a related concept. You just need to think of it. You don’t even necessarily have to take out time, they can be taught while doing your work. Fractions and ratios can be taught through recipes or pizza. Numbers can be taught through hopscotch, bursting balloons in your backyard or garden. The more fun children have while learning a concept the more their brain will retain the concept.”
Use story books to enhance learning
In the Happy Maths series of books, author Mala Kumar brings the subject of mathematics to life by relating it to historical events, sports, festivities and day-to-day chores. There are four titles in this series which will make learning math so much fun and enjoyable. The concepts of geometry, time, money, amounts, place value, shapes, data, currency and several others have been beautifully conceptualized in these books.
Encourage Problem Solving
If your child asks questions, encourage him or her to do so. Look up online, ask a teacher or read a book to find a solution to the problem. This applies to all aspects of a child’s life and is an important step to raising a curious kid who would apply his mind to solve problems rather than just mugging up facts and figures. “We should encourage children to do extra sums in problem solving beyond their syllabus of the exams. I think a child should enjoy the subject rather doing it for the sake of an exam,” says Bipasha Deka.
On her website, Maths2art, Priya Asthana mentions that when asks her students if the symbol of addition (+) look similar to the symbol of multiplication (x), they say yes. They also say that it looks like it has turned a bit! Priya explains to the children that multiplication is also addition with a twist. “If we add 2+3+4+5, it is addition, but if we add 2+2+2+2, it is multiplication. If we add the same number again and again, it is called multiplication,” Priya explains.
Use Jokes or Animated Videos
Use math jokes such as this one:
Q: What did zero say to the number eight?
A: Nice belt!
Yes, stories can teach math too. There is a popular old story about two foolish cats and a clever monkey which can help in teaching kids the concepts of fractions. The story not only teaches Math concepts but also gives a moral: When you quarrel, someone else gains. It also teaches the concepts of fractions and symmetry.
Part of Everyday Life
Make math a fun part of life. Buy an abacus so that your child can learn counting. You can give him a piggy bank; ask him to count the number of roses in the garden or tiles in a room. These techniques will help him learn about the concepts of addition, subtraction, area, height, weight etc. You can involve them in different activities which involve practical, everyday math and logic. For example, if you involve your kid while baking a cake or any other cooking or baking activity, you can teach him about the quantities in fractions like three-fourths of a cup or one half of a teaspoon.
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