Do you have a hard time convincing your child to do their math homework? If your child hates math and seems to struggle with it, they could be dealing with a learning disability known as dyscalculia, which affects between four and six percent of the population.
Whether your child has dyscalculia or is just having a hard time keeping up with their classmates in the math department, the good news is that there are lots of math activities for kids you can have them try at home. The six activities described below can make math more enjoyable and help chidlren turn their weaknesses into strengths.
Reasons Kids Struggle with Math
There are lots of reasons why math for kids can be difficult. Here are some of the most common reasons why your child might struggle with math:
It’s Unforgiving to Those Who Don’t Seek Help
The problem with many (or one of them, at least) is that it’s unforgiving to students who don’t seek help right away. Math concepts build upon one another, and if a child doesn’t understand one of those concepts, it’s very difficult for them to figure out the ones that follow. For example, if a child is struggling with the concept of addition, they’re going to struggle even more when the time comes to learn about repeated addition (or multiplication).
Children need to ask for help as soon as they’re having difficulty understanding something. This isn’t always easy for them to do, though, especially in the case of shy and introverted children. When they don’t ask for help, they end up falling farther behind, which makes it harder for them to ever get caught up.
Of course, it isn’t just about asking for help, it is also about finding useful tools that can help your child to have a greater understanding of the maths concept they are trying to work out. So whether that is using a fraction calculator for a complicated fraction equation or looking at basic formulas for things, it is important that we give a child not just the guidance verbally but allow them to use tools visually as well.
They Must Understand Complex Concepts
The mathematical concepts kids learn in school are complex. There’s no getting around it.
Math is full of difficult and confusing words, and it’s easy for kids to get these terms mixed up. This, in turn, can make it almost impossible for them to master the concepts associated with those words and leads to them falling behind their peers.
They Don’t Practice
Last, but not least, many kids struggle with math because they simply don’t practice. It takes a lot of repetition to master a math concept and get good at it.
If kids aren’t putting in the work at home to learn these things, it’s going to be hard for them to stay on track when they get to school. This is why it’s so important for parents to be involved in their kids’ schooling and to make sure their children are studying at home.
Best Math Activities for Kids
No matter which of the above issues are holding your child back, the good news is that there are ways to help them master complex concepts and get the practice they need to improve their math skills. The following are some fun math activities you can try with your kids today:
- Math in the Kitchen
Showing kids how often they’ll use math in their everyday life can make it more appealing to them. One way you can do this is by reviewing mathematical concepts with your children while you’re in the kitchen baking or preparing dinner.
For example, you can have your child learn about fractions when you’re measuring ingredients for a recipe. You can review multiplication as well if you have to make a larger batch of something and need to double or triple the recipe.
- Math in the Car
When you’re driving in the car, you can also work with your child to review certain math concepts. For example, you can have them figure out how many miles are left until you reach your destination based on how far you’ve gone and the total number of miles required for the trip. You can also ask them to help you figure out how much gas will cost or how many snacks they can get at the gas station based on the amount of money available to them.
- Math at the Store
If you’re at the grocery store with your child, keep them occupied by giving them some math problems to work on. You can have them weigh produce and calculate how much it’ll cost. Similar to the gas station example mentioned above, you can also tell them your specific budget and ask them to help you make sure you stick to it.
- Creating a Business Plan
Has your child ever wanted to start a business, such as a lemonade stand? If so, this is the perfect opportunity to apply math to real life.
It gives them a chance to figure out how much they need to charge when selling their product in order to earn a profit. It also teaches them about proper planning to ensure they have enough ingredients to meet the demand for their product.
- Math and Chores
Try making math part of your child’s chores, too. This might seem like a bad idea at first (chores are bad enough, aren’t they), but it can make the time go by faster and make their chores more interesting. When they’re cleaning their room, have them estimate how many toys are on the floor or practice counting and grouping their toys based on things like color or shape.
- Practical Math
Whenever possible, look for ways to make your child’s math drills practical and applicable. One way to do this is by talking to your kids about things like budgeting and calculating interest. This gives them a chance to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in ways that are more meaningful.
Make Math Fun Today
If you’re tired of fighting with your child over their math assignments, try these math activities for kids instead. These fun math ideas will make the process of doing homework more fun for your child and for you. They’ll help to solidify the concepts they’re learning in school and turn them into better mathematicians, too.
Do you want to learn about other strategies you can use to help your kids with their homework? If so, visit the Parenting section of our site today for more great resources.