Helping your child develop a love of math is important. And one of the best ways to spark their passion for learning is through math games. The best part? You can play math games online, and you can also play them the old fashioned way – at home with common objects around the house.
Many parents feel that distance learning may have complicated their already busy lives. In this article, I will help you to learn how you can easily incorporate math daily into the lives of your learners. This is something that you are capable of, and I hope to help you to build up your confidence in yourself as an educator. This way, you can enrich the lives of your youngsters.
Math Games Online
If you’re looking for math games online, then you’re in for a treat. The web is overflowing with educational resources for learners of all ages.
There are websites packed with online math games specifically for kids, and also more advanced math games online customized for adult or older teen learners. Math Blaster is an engaging gaming style math website for middle grade learners. For older learners, the NY Times Number Play column is filled with more advanced math challenges.
For learners of any age, it’s always a treat to log on and listen to NPR’s Sunday Puzzle with Will Shortz. His challenging puzzles are a weekend thrill for math lovers of all ages. And they can be fun to tackle as a whole family.
Starting the Day With At Home Math Games
Of course, learning math games online is a great way to pass the time and spark your love of learning. But learning math games at home as a family is just as effective.
For learners who are new to math, one easy and fun way to start the day with math is to use food for counting.
Game #1: Counting Munchies…
To begin, you can use small food that is easily picked up and moved around. Anything works, but cereal or macaroni noodles are particularly effective. For the youngest learners, you can count out the pieces repetitively when giving them something to eat. We learn using different senses, so get all of the senses involved!
Ask your child to repeat the numbers after you. You can also have a non-verbal child hold up the number of fingers that correspond to the number of items that you have laid out. Or to the number that you have said.
And food can be a powerful educational source in another way. Older children can learn to follow recipes that teach fractions and measurements. There is always a good reward after mixing food with math because, everyone likes to eat the results.
Math Game #2: Keeping it Tangible
Because most children enjoy drawing and feeling things with their hands.
Here’s a great way to learn how to write numbers. Have a baking dish filled with a thin layer of salt. You can also use sugar (but that will most likely get eaten)!
Another fun way to encourage writing is to use sprayable shaving cream. This can be used in place of the salt, or you can make 3-D numbers using it. Both options keep kids transfixed.
Math Game #3: Bringing Math to Life
It’s important to for math to come alive. Mathematics is part of real life, and shouldn’t remain stagnant, laying there in printed form on a piece of paper.
We use math everyday more often than we may realize. To bring this concept to life, meet your child where they are in their developmental journey. If your child loves to play dolls, legos, trucks, or another game, start there.
Create a store for the child to shop in. Let’s imagine for a moment, a seven year old girl who likes to play with stuffed animals. She already has a stuffed tiger, but the tiger doesn’t have anything to eat.
You can take pre-printed yard sale stickers and place them on some food items. Give your daughter coins and dollars bills that she is allowed to ‘purchase’ her items with. She may not have enough to buy everything yet from your store, but that teaches children to have patience, and helps them to learn how to manage their money, and how to count correctly.
This game teaches number identification, addition, subtraction, and budgeting when played regularly.
Math Game #4: Board Game Time!
Lastly, let’s talk about games that encourage a wide range of math skills. Do you remember spending hours of time as a child playing board games? My personal favorite was Candyland, because of the bright colors and the anticipation of what space I would land on next.
Little did I know then that I was also learning about taking turns, number identification, counting objects, and good sportsmanship. Monopoly is also a fun game, especially when you pick a version of it that your child likes! If your child is looking for more math practice, then you could encourage them to be the banker.
The banker has to accept money for the properties bought, make change for players, and ensure that everyone has the correct amount of money at the beginning of the game. I personally have the Ms. Monopoly edition that teaches my daughter the above skills along with facts about inventions that women have come up with. Other young children might enjoy the Cats versus Dogs edition, as well as the Jurassic Park edition.
Whatever games you play and wherever you find numbers, from the measuring cups in the kitchen to the mileage and gas that you put into your car, you can find fun and interesting ways to engage your children in learning math concepts.