Turn your child into a maths magician?

Natural Exposure: Looking At The Maths That Surrounds Us.
Maths is everywhere! It is in everything we do! We need our children to see how much fun maths is and to enjoy mathematics for the wonderful adventure it is!
As parents, we need to make maths real and relevant for our children. They need to see how it works in everyday life and why it is important for them to learn their basic facts.

I call this Natural Exposure and it is the best way to learn about maths.

You are the first mathematician your child knows, as we use maths everyday. Maths is wherever there is money, time, weight, height, and distance for starters.

For example, when the alarm went off this morning, the first thing you probably did was switch it off, and then calculate how many minutes you could still lay in bed before you absolutely had to get up! That calculation, the listing of things that had to be down and assigning times to it, is only a small example of maths in everyday action!

Teaching all starts with a conversation. Take time to point out math situations and especially math vocabulary in print where it pops up in your everyday lives. Encourage your child to think mathematically in everyday situations by talking about the ways maths can be used at home, at a supermarket or at a playground.

In the Kitchen:
  • Start with the breakfast cereal box and read the ounces and servings on the box.
  • Recipes:baking is a wonderful source of maths: have your child do all the measuring using cups or scales.
  • Figure out how much you would need to double the mixture.
  • Ask your child to help you figure out how to make half of a recipe. Show them the amounts of each ingredient and explain that you need to use exactly half of each one. Have them use numerical division if they are old enough, or show you the correct measuring implements and physically halve the ingredients if they are too young to use the numbers.

    At the Supermarket
  • Talk about what you see on package labels and point out the abbreviations for litres, grams, kilograms, servings etc.
  • Give your child an amount of money and get them to buy the goodies for their next sleepover-they could use pamphlets from the mail to work out the best value and get the most for their money.
  • Let your children estimate how much the groceries will cost and see who gets the closest.

    From the Letterbox
  • Have your children collect the toy or grocery pamphletts- get them to circle all the things they would like to buy, tell them they have $20-how many of their items can they get? What will their change be? You could make a higher or lesser amount depending on the age of your children.

    In the Neighborhood
  • Count the numbers on the letterbox
  • Play 'I spy a Number' Take turns spotting numbers: for example: 'I spy 345' and then see if your children can find the number. Use road-signs, licence plates, letterboxes etc.
  • Add together the next 5 letterboxes in a row-depending on how old your children are, you could use other operations too i.e. you could subtract, or times the next letterbox.
  • See if they can touch the next 10 letterboxes before you count to 20 etc.

    In the Car
  • At the traffic lights have your child estimate how long it will take for the lights to change and then count it down to see if they are right! My kids love this one!

    Using Money
  • Open a bank account for your child and teach them how to make deposits, count money, balance a checkbook, sort and classify.

    There are endless teaching opportunities throughout the course of a day to reinforce math vocabulary and skills.

    This is only the tip of the iceberg- the idea is to be aware of the maths around you and to talk to your children about it. The more you talk about it, the more they will see how important and natural mathematics is.
  • StayOnTrack Limited 2014