Learning maths at home can be an intimidating experience, both for the kids and the parents.
Instead of explaining dozens of math concepts at the same time, you can try teaching kids one by one, starting with basic additions.
1. Familiarize kids with the fundamental knowledge of addition
While some kids can perform simple additions, like “1+1=2”, most of them do not really understand what it means.
Thus, let’s kick off by pointing out what addition is.
You can try a straightforward explanation, for example: “When you try to combine things together and you do not know how many items you have, addition will help you figure out the final result.”
Once kids have grasped the concept of addition, you can proceed to teach them about the addition symbol “+” and the equal symbol “=”.
Get kids to practice writing these two symbols, and then you can model by writing some number sentences across the paper.
Kids do not necessarily have to learn about number sentences yet, but it is important that you show them how addition is demonstrated in papers.
2. Use concrete objects to demonstrate how addition works
Nothing helps kids learn about maths concepts better than manipulatives.
- Lego bricks. Not only are they eye-pleasant for kids, but they are also a favorite toy of small children.
You can create a game in which there are three sets of different colored bricks, each belongs to the “Start”, “Change”, and “Result” group. Then, you can present an equation and ask kids to demonstrate it using Lego bricks.
Kids will win if they can attach the number of bricks correlative to the addition equation correctly.
- Coins. Coins are sparkling and countable, which makes them perfect learning tools for kids to master addition.
You can prepare two groups of coins, and have your kids to “add” these coins together. Tell them to count the number of coins before and after the “addition”.
This game will help kids understand the basic concept of addition in no time.
- Stickers. You can buy a ready-to-use set of stickers at the bookstore, or you can customize the stickers based on your child’s preferences.
Prepare a piece of blank paper. Then, use a pencil and draw three bubbles horizontally for each line, then draw the symbol “+” and “=”.
You can paste several stickers as you wish into the first two bubbles, and ask your kids to complete the equation by adding the correct number of stickers into the final bubble.
3. Play matching games
Matching games are a form of exercise that will excite rather than exhaust kids.
- Use flashcards and a board. First, you need to divide the board into five different columns, each column is entitled with a certain number, like “5”, “7”, or “10”.
Then, fill up the flashcards with addition equations whose final results fall into the 5 numbers written on the board. But make sure you do not write down the final answer on the card. There should only be unsolved equations, such as “3+2” or “1+6”.
Once everything is done, ask your kids to place the flashcards under the correct column. This game will help kids understand how different combinations of numbers can still lead to the same result.
- Use ice creams sticks and boxes. Ice cream sticks can make a great toy after you wash them up carefully. To utilize them for the matching game, let’s write an equation (without the final result, again) on each stick.
Then, let’s label the boxes you have with a range of numbers. For example, a box can have a “1-5” print or a “6-10” print.
Your kid’s mission is to place the ice cream sticks into the correct box. If the stick writes “1+6”, then the kid must put them into the “6-10” box.
This game is extremely useful to teach kids both about addition and estimations.
4. Play with counting rods
Counting rods may be an ancient invention, but they still play a vital role in helping kids learn about addition.
- Simple counting games. Counting is the foundation knowledge of addition, and kids usually count more accurately when dealing with something visually stimulating like rods.
You can encourage kids by getting them colorful sets of counting sticks or even get the sticks customized with stickers or names engraved.
- Addition-simulation games. Prepare different chunks of counting sticks, then pick up a certain number of sticks to perform an addition. You can lay three red sticks out next to four blue sticks, and dare your kids to give out the correct answer in the fastest time possible.
5. Guide kids through the addition facts
The addition facts are the sums of 1+1 to 9+9, which all of the kids need to learn by heart in order to perform not only addition but other math concepts like subtraction.
However, it is not easy for kids to master these 81 equations.
Instead of dealing with them all at once, parents can help kids by dividing the facts into smaller groups.
Equations starting with 1 and 2 should be in one group, as they are easy to recognize.
Pairs of numbers that make a 10 (like 5+5 or 4+6) should be in one group, while equations starting with 8 and 9 should be in another group.
After the kids familiarize themselves with the addition facts, make sure you give out frequent exercises for them to practice.
6. Use educational applications
With an Internet-connected device, parents can turn lessons about addition into a fun and exciting game for kids.
- Prodigy. This app features a fantasy game, where kids can play different characters engaging in math duels. Parents can prepare the math questions beforehand to fit the learning pace of kids.
- CK-12. If your kids are into more serious apps, consider using CK-12. They include different learning materials suitable for elementary kids, from video lectures, photo galleries to text descriptions.
Guiding kids through basic addition sounds like an easy task, but in fact, it requires a lot of patience and creativity from parents.
Make sure that you take advantage of all the tools around you, and do not forget to implement it in daily lives so that your kids will progress with their math lessons.