Helping your child enjoy and become more confident in maths is easier than you think. There are many basic objects around the house that you can use to help your child practise a range of mathematical concepts. With that in mind, here are five easy strategies that you can use to help your child improve their maths skills at home!
1. Teach them to count… with objects
Once children are able to count, they can go on to learn many other basic mathematical principles. The best way to teach them counting skills is to use objects. Whether you use an abacus, fruit or a bag of counters, your child will have a better understanding of the counting process when they can see physical items being counted out. For example, counting up to 12 on your fingers isn’t quite as effective as counting out 12 segments of an orange, plus if you do use fruit, you can reward your child with a treat when they count correctly!
2. Make maths an everyday activity
While this will eventually happen naturally, there are things you can do with your kids to ensure that you’re actively helping to incorporate maths into their everyday lives. At the breakfast table, ask them how many slices of fruit will be left if dad eats one-quarter of them, and at the traffic lights on the way to school, ask them how many red cars they can see. Through doing this, children will become accustomed to counting and begin to develop the skills they need for estimation, fractions and other important mathematical topics.
3. On your marks, get set, bake!
Who would have thought that bringing ‘The Great British Bake Off’ into your home could get the little ones enthusiastic about basic mathematical concepts? A batch-bake is always great for fostering maths skills as this method can teach your child to add and subtract with minimal mess. Alternatively, baking cupcakes can help your child with skills such as fractions and division and give them a better understanding of weights, measures and estimation through processes like preparing the cake mix and dividing it evenly amongst the paper cups.
4. Encourage estimation during the weekly shop
Food shopping can be boring at the best of times – especially for the children, but maths can help spice things up. Try and get them involved with the weekly shop by asking them to estimate the total number of items in the trolley or the total value of the grocery bill. Not only is this game a great way for children to improve their mental maths, it will also keep them occupied for the entire shop! Your child will be so engrossed in adding up each and every item, they won’t even realise they’re practising their maths skills.
5. Avoid being a ‘Negative Nancy’ about maths
You may struggle with maths yourself, or perhaps you just really don’t like it. However, if your child picks up on this, it may influence how they feel towards the subject. Helping your child with maths is just as important as teaching them to read, so approach the subject with as much enthusiasm as possible.
How else can you help?
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