A love of numbers might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but a little practice can go a long way. A wonderful way for children to start understanding the working behind maths is to bring it into real life. Here are five activities you could introduce at home to promote mathematical thinking and understanding.
Encouraging any hobbies in the home that involve counting is a great way to cover the basics. Hobbies could include activities like knitting, where you must count stitches, or something as simple as origami. Find a great video to show you how to fold origami numbers here.
Is there something in the house that needs repairing, or perhaps a picture frame that needs to be hung? Rope in your child’s help. Having them help you measure something or even check if a picture is hanging straight with a spirit level will promote mathematical thinking.
Bring the numbers to food
Encourage your child to join you in the kitchen. Working with metrics while cooking is a fun way to take off the pressure while understanding the practical workings of maths. Weighing sugar on a scale or working out how many cups of flour to add is a sure way to expand maths skills.
Have your child help with laying out the garden! It could be exciting going to the nursery and picking out plants while keeping in mind how big they will grow. Once at home, they can help you plant them the required centimetres apart and deep.
Shopping is a great way to develop your child’s money skills. At a basic level, you can give them a small amount of money, e.g., R10, and ask them to select one item they can buy for R10. They could also work out the change they will receive!
Up the challenge level by giving R20, for which they must buy three items. Once your child has mastered the basics, explain that you have a budget, and you should add up the items you buy to see if it fits the budget. Give them a calculator to add all the items you place in your trolley. If the budget is exceeded, they could calculate which item(s) to return!
One thing to remember: if your child struggles with maths, the problem could lie at the foundational level. Just like you need to learn how to walk before you can run, you need to learn to count before moving to more advanced materials. Something as simple as poor visual processing or memory could be causing your child’s maths difficulties. It is important to identify the root of the problem and obtain the right help.