Great Math Activities To Do With Your Child

Math is a skill that requires frequent practice to master. How can you help your child learn "practical math" at home? Here are several activities to help your child reinforce his or her math skills.

Calculate sports statistics. In every professional sport, the tracking and reporting of statistics plays an important role. Use these stats to create a number of activities for your child. Baseball is one great math sport. Teach your child to follow his or her favorite baseball player and chart the player's by-game statistics. Have your child use graph paper to graph at bats, hits, batting average, runs batted in and home runs by game. Using a calculator, have your child calculate things like the player's best game by home run per game.

Start investing. As your child begins earning and saving money, teach your young saver the concept of compound interest by taking him or her to the bank to discuss different investment options with a banker: savings accounts, bonds and CDs. Give your child a savings register to track his or her deposits, withdrawals and interest.

Use cooking to teach fractions. What fraction (and measuring cup) is the same as two 1/4 cups of flour? What fraction is the same as two 1/8 cups of flour? How about 1/3 plus 1/4? How did your child calculate his or her answers? Have your child use the measuring cups as a helpful visual to understand why 2/4 is the same as 1/2, and so on.

Calculate the cost of groceries. The grocery store is a great place to teach your child addition and subtraction. Have your child keep a running estimate of the grocery bill as you shop. Once you check out, ask how far off his or her estimated total bill was. Ask how much change you would receive by paying with a $100 or $200 bill.

Play with coins. Coins offer a variety of opportunities to practice math reasoning skills. Have your child guess the coins you hold in your hand by providing him or her a cents amount. For example, what six coins total 30 cents? (Answer: either one quarter and five pennies, or six nickels.)

Maintain the family budget. Put your child in charge of calculating the family's monthly budget for living expenses, needs and wants. Have him or her calculate different variables, such as a 5% raise in your salary or an unexpected expense—car repairs, for example—and report how those impact your family's "bottom line." Ask your child to calculate how much could be saved toward that family vacation or for future college expenses. What line items in the family budget are the highest? By what percentage?

Math is truly everywhere, and with a little creativity, you can help your child strengthen his or her math skills by doing everyday activities. Give your child daily opportunities to reason, solve problems and think through math situations, and you will be teaching him or her that math is an important part of life.


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