Parenting is already challenging enough, but trying to teach your child some academic skills is another level of hardship.
If you intend on giving the kids a basic lesson on maths, here are our top tips on how to do it well.
1. Surround your kids with geometric shapes from an early age
Research has shown that within the first 18 months, a toddler can start recognizing different shapes.
What is a better way to kick off this math learning process than to use geometric stickers around the kid’s room?
Since a toddler will spend a lot of time looking at these patterns, he or she will slowly learn to tell the difference between the given decorations.
Thus, it gives the kids a foundation on geometry and you – as a parent – will find it easier to teach them harder concepts later on.
When your kid has outgrown the cradle, you can start buying educational toys that focus on geometry.
You can check out this link to understand the benefits associated with geometric recreational activities!
2. Use creative teaching equipment
Children will get bored quickly if you use the same teaching method over and over again.
And they will hate it if you force them to stay glued to the desk all day to memorize how to subtract or add numbers!
With kids, remember to be innovative. Think outside the box and invent new ways to teach maths to your kids.
- Ask your kids to help with the baking process, in which you should try to teach your kids some essential skills like addition, subtraction, or fraction.
With the help of a knife, try cutting a cookie into smaller pieces so that you can demonstrate what a fraction is!
- Buy a set of building blocks. There are sets designed to fit children from a few months old to adolescents in their teenage years, so you should choose something suitable for your kids.
Using building blocks with kids can improve the estimation skill, stimulate logical thinking as well as develop a sense of spatial awareness.
3. Incorporate household objects into teaching
Kids will take in math concepts way easier if they can see how math is related to their daily lives.
Next time you are about to set the table for dinner, call the children over and tell them to count the number of diners. Then, let’s guide them to prepare the necessary plates/bowls/spoons.
At weekends, spend some time to bring the kids outside and ask them questions about adding or subtracting numbers. For example:
“Oh! Look at these beautiful flowers. Do you know how many flowers are there?”
“If I picked a flower, how many will be left, you think?”
“Do you think we should plant two more flowers here? I wonder how many flowers there will be after we’re done!”
By bringing up intriguing issues, your kids will have to go through a process of mental stimulation before coming up with the answer.
And because the related objects are familiar with the kids, it will be less stressful for them to solve the problems and reach the correct answer.
4. Make sure the kids have a basic understanding of numeracy before moving on to other complicated areas
Knowing all ten numbers by heart is the prerequisite when it comes to math learning.
If you are looking for a head start to teach numeracy to your kids, let’s have a look at these suggestions.
- Draw hopscotch on the yard and write down the numbers. Tell them what each number is and ask them to repeat it while playing the game together.
- When you see a set of numbers on TV, on a car or printed at some buildings, tell your kids to read those numbers out loud.
- Organize a proper “sitting down” study session once a week. You should ask the child to write down all the numbers in different orders.
- Then, make it a little more challenging by giving random numbers and see if the kid can copy them down correctly.
5. Do not be critical of how your kids react to learning math
One of the mistakes most parents make when it comes to teaching the kids is setting high expectations.
Remember, your children are still young and naive. They have not formed much concrete awareness of the academic world.
Therefore, pushing the kids to give out accurate answers every time you ask them a math question is to be shunned.
So is showing a negative attitude or getting disappointed at them for not wanting to engage in a math learning activity.
If the children feel they are under pressure to excel at math, they are more likely to fight against learning.
As a parent, you should create a stress-free and encouraging environment for your kids.
Giving them some small incentives like candies or compliments will boost your kids’ confidence and motivate them to take math more seriously.
6. Take advantage of the Internet and other interactive devices
If you want to find a “modern” approach to teaching, try looking at some websites which provide free maths lessons.
- Fun Brain. If you access the Math Zone of Fun Brain, you will find multiple games designed to teach your child math skills.
These include games to trigger spatial awareness, stimulate logical thinking, and reinforce the number system.
- Multiplication. Another fun website to study math is Multiplication.
Besides games focusing on teach multiply skills, Multiplication also provides addition, subtraction, and division games.
- Math Game Time. What is interesting about this website is that it categorizes the games based on the difficulty level.
Each level suits a different grade, so feel free to pick something going well with your kid.
Furthermore, Math Game Time also features games for kindergarten kids.
Not only are they suitable for number recognition and number counting, but they also help deliver knowledge in a fun way.
- CoolMath4Kids. As the name already indicates, CoolMath4Kids includes visually stimulating games that teach basic math concepts.
7. Buy an abacus
An abacus – also known as the counting frame – is a calculating table dating back from centuries ago.
While an abacus has lost its primary function as a math tool, many parents have taken advantage of this handy machine and turn it into a piece of teaching equipment.
Below are some of the noticeable reasons why you should incorporate an abacus into your math teaching process.
- Since an abacus is usually made from chains of beads tied together, your kid would find it thrilling to move things around.
The direct exposure to the material itself will create a sensory memory, which helps children quickly remember the math concepts they have performed.
- Working on an abacus requires a child to pay his or her utmost attention. When trained regularly, this will boost your kid’s concentration level.
- The concrete shape of an abacus makes it easier for children to recall the math concepts mentally.
It is because their brains have “tagged” the movements on an abacus inside the logical part of the nervous system.
As a result, this creates a trigger response every time the child needs to imagine the previously done math formulas.
However, let’s be mindful of the fact that young children may get confused at the design of an abacus.
If you intend on using such a counting table to teach math, make sure your child can understand what is going on.
8. Use different colors to stimulate the memory process
Research has pointed out that a combination of vibrant shades can have a positive influence on one’s short-term memory.
Make use of this fun fact and turn your math teaching approach into a colorful experience!
- Use a lot of colored papers and cut them into multiple geometric shapes.
Present them in front of your kids and tell them the difference.
To make it more challenging, you can associate one shape with a specific color, then swap them. Ask the kids if they are still able to distinguish the mixed forms.
- Use crayons and colored pencils! Don’t just stick to the classic grey pen and white paper.
Allow your kid to write the numeracy system using a whole set of crayons.
Ask them to illustrate a math formula with their favorite pencils.
You will see that once children enjoy what they are doing, they certainly will take in math lessons much better!
9. Have a revision session every week
It is common – even for professional teachers – to assume that their students memorize everything. But they don’t!
Your children are small kids, after all, which means their memory spans are relatively short.
If you want to make sure what you have taught stays inside your kids’ heads, let’s plan for a weekly review.
It would be best if you keep this review casual and fun. Kids would dread the prospect of having to sit properly in front of their parents and try to give the correct answers.
Instead, let’s opt for some subtle approaches.
Prepare a basket of fruits and ask your children to count the number of apples/grapes, etc. available.
Pretend to misread the number of your driving plate and tell your kids if they can clarify for you.
Remember, teaching your child math skills is not about knowledge alone. It is also about family bonding, building respect among everyone, and having fun!