Ever wonder if your insecurities about math will be passed down to your children? You’re not alone. Many parents who struggled with math in the past believe that their children may have similar problems in the future. Relax. Remedial and even advanced math skills are not genetic.
You can help your child acquire a love of math by turning everyday activities into learning opportunities.
According to Dr. Andrea Pastorok, education psychologist for Kumon Math and Reading Centers, fostering a child’s love of math should be fun and stress-free. “Children have a natural ability to reason and problem solve. Parents who show enthusiasm for math will help build these important skills needed for life,” says Pastorok.
Here are some simple activities that can make learning seem more like child’s play:
• Draw a large number on a piece of paper and encourage your child to transform the number into his favorite animal, food, person or imaginary character.
•Involve your child in measuring ingredients when you cook or in figuring out if a container is big enough to hold her toy cars and blocks.
•Ask your child to count each apple slice or pretzel while dividing snacks onto two plates to share with a sibling or friend.
• When you ask for something, ask for a certain number. (“Can I please have five crayons?”)
• Count together daily; count cars, trees, homes, stoplights. Each day, add a few numbers to your child’s vocabulary.
• Teach fractions by cutting a whole sandwich in half and then in fourths, showing the relationship between “whole, half and fourths” -and then have your child put the sandwich together as a whole.
• Hands should be washed for a minimum of 10 seconds. Have your child count to 10 or 15 each time he washes his hands.
• Teach the logic of adding numbers. As she progresses, teach your child to count by twos, fives and tens.
• Talk about the shapes on a tiled floor. If you look at them one way, they’re squares; if you look from a different angle, they’re diamonds.
• Help him to see counting as a pattern and predict what comes next by asking such questions as, “We’re reading page six in our book now. What will the next page be? What was the page we just read?”
These easy activities can build the foundation for an appreciation of numbers. In addition, you’ll be delighted to see your child demonstrate creative reasoning, knowing you have stimulated it.