With distance learning, parents are becoming teachers and teachers might be teaching their own children in grades and subjects outside of their usual experience. And one of the subjects that parents of all backgrounds must help kids with is math — and maybe there are kids at different skill levels.
True, there are all sorts of instructional guides that can help you learn how to teach math to kids. But you can also help convey to your kids the concept that math is a part of everyday life. In fact, you may be using math all the time without even realizing it.
Math is one of the topics that might seem daunting when it comes to at-home learning, but there are a variety of activities that you can do to practice math daily with your kids – without books or worksheets! Here is a list of activities that you can do at home to keep math fresh in children’s minds and show them that math is everywhere.
1. When You Cook
During the cooking or baking process, you can have kids read measurements out loud, practice adding or subtracting fractions, calculating how many minutes it takes to bake cookies or brownies, etc. Many of us are cooking more than ever before, so get your kids involved – recipes are chock full of math!
Measuring cups and spoons have numbers that are often used in math problems. Have your children help you measure ingredients, read labels, set timers, and more. This practice brings in many skills, including measurement and telling time. Your children will also learn a valuable life skill—cooking!
2. During Screen Time
Screen time isn’t all bad! Whether on the television, computer, tablet, or other device, many parents are turning to technology to help educate, engage, and entertain children at home. One popular activity you can do is to have your children help with the task of keeping and telling time. Many free, digital resources happen at specific times each day (for example, Steve Spangler shares a free science experiment every day at 12 PM ET). As official timekeepers, children can let you know when it’s time to turn on the device to watch.
Of course, there is such a thing as too much random electronic use, so try to limit the free time they spend on devices. Try to limit free time on devices. Set a specific amount of free time they can spend on any of the devices they are allowed to use, and then have children tell you when their time is up. Ask your kids to identify the number of the channel as you watch TV. This is also a great time to ask them to identify 10 channels higher, 100 channels lower, etc.
3. When Getting Supplies
No matter where you live, and whether your job is essential or not, everyone has to venture out or order online to get necessary items like food. Give children a budget and have them help with getting the essentials. When you arrive home or have the items delivered, review the receipts with your child.
Discuss money amounts, how to estimate what money is due, and even set up scenarios of paying cash and how much change to expect. You can use play money to demonstrate how much things cost and have kids act out various buying and selling scenarios with their allotment of cash.
4. While Ordering Takeout
At some point, everyone needs a break from all this cooking! Whether ordering pickup or delivery, it’s another great time to get your kids involved. Show your children menus and ask in-depth questions. Have your kids pick different items and ask them things like…
- “Which is more/less expensive?”
- “If you purchased these three items, about how much money would you spend?”
- “If a pizza has eight slices and we have four family members, how many will each person get if we share the pizza equally?”
5. More Ways to Incorporate Math Learning at Home
These are just a few examples of how to incorporate math into your everyday life at home! It’s important for students to use math and identify that math is everywhere. Try a few of these tasks out and let us know how it goes. You’ll have fun interacting with your kids, you’ll have a better understanding of what your children have already learned and what they still need to work on, and you’ll give your kids skills that they can use for a lifetime!
If you need more resources, we have a variety of items that can support educating, engaging, and entertaining your children and/or students. If you like the idea of Math Is Everywhere, we have a fun board game for Grades K–2 and 3–5 covering a variety of skills that can be used with families or in the classroom.
By Angela French
Angela French is the Senior Product Development and Content Manager at Really Good Stuff. She has worked for the company for nearly seven years and has created hundreds of resources for the classroom. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Her classroom experiences include teaching grade levels K–5 and inclusion, special education, literacy intervention, and gifted and talented programs in three different states.