The truth is, maths is all around us, it’s just that we can choose to see it, or not see it at all until we open a textbook.
If you want to make maths an integral part of your child’s everyday life, it’s actually quite easy. This will give your child the knowledge and confidence to apply maths comfortably, which can help when working on maths problems.
Here are some easy ways to bring maths into your daily conversation as a family:
Maths Activity 1: Shopping
A shopping trip is all about maths, no matter what you are shopping for. Whether it’s shopping for food, toys, clothes, it’s all relative! At the core of shopping is the need to know what a reasonable price is, what price one can afford, and how the price affects your bank account or how much money there is to spend on the shopping trip.
An easy way to integrate maths into shopping is to start with the basics. Start with the basics: buy a sweet or a bag of your child’s favourite snacks with a pound coin, for example, and working out how much change to expect. Or buy a meal deal for a school trip with a fiver, and let your child work out how much money is saved with a meal deal purchase instead of buying the items individually. This is a good starting point for younger children (let’s say up to Year 4).
For children in years 5 and 6, shopping during sales is an excellent way to work on more advanced maths concepts like percentages. This can be done in-store or online. I always tell my students to look out for the big red sale posters and try to work out what the new price will be after the discount is applied;
Another way to work on maths is to buy the ingredients for a recipe, which would use ratio and proportion skills. Get out a simple recipe, and make up double or 1.5 portions of it, for example. Then ask your child to work out how much of the ingredients will be required. Then head to the shops and let your child work out the best sizes or amounts of the ingredients to buy, and whether buying big or multiples of smaller units saves money etc. Fun times!
Maths Activity 2: Road Trips
The next time you travel by car or public transport, use it as a maths practising exercise. Discuss how far you’re going, how much petrol will be required and the cost, and other factors involving numbers for your trip. Let your child use their maths skills to figure out your mileage, the approximate time it will take to reach your destination, and how much it will cost.
If you take public transport, the train timetable is a good one to use. This can help with your child’s analytical skills, and it will help practice elapsed time, as well. Decide a time you want to reach the destination by and the best route to take to get there.
Maths Activity 3: Board Games
Remember Ludo, Snakes and Ladders and Scrabble? These are the trusty favourites that are fun to play but use maths skills. Try using more than one dice to really flex those maths brain muscles.
Just about all board games involve at least counting, but if you can find some that are more mathematical like good old Monopoly, it will help more.
Maths Activity 4: Get your Baking Off!
After the shopping trip, mentioned above, get to baking! Baking requires the use of precise measurements, so it’s always great for learning math, like fractions and units of conversions.
Openly discuss the maths that you are doing, as you bake together with your child. This will help them to understand how to get the right amount of ingredients. Tell your child things like, “We need 1/4 cup of flour for this recipe. This is just a fraction of an entire cup. If you separate this cup into four parts, you have 1/4 cup of flour.”
Maths Activity 5: Throwing a Ball
It might seem weird to be able to teach math with nothing more than a ball, but you can. You can measure how far the ball is thrown, how high you can toss it, and if you have something to use to measure it, even how fast you are throwing it. If a tape measure is out of bounds, you can actually download tape measure apps these days, which will do the work for you. A lot of children struggle with the concept of centimetres and metres when using them to determine the best measure for a particular object, so this is a good activity. If your child struggles with questions like the following, this is a good activity to try: Which unit would be best to measure the length of a car?
Maths Activity 6: Get Garden
Gardening in and of itself is maths-related, too. When feeding plants, for example, you’ll need to figure out together, how much water, how much vitamins and minerals are needed; and how to mix the soil in the right proportions, for example. When you build something, you also need to use measurements and maths to make it correctly.
Maths Activity 7: Another Travel Activity
Are you going abroad during the school holidays? If you’re changing money into another currency, get your child involved. This is a fantastic way to practice units of conversion and currency conversion.
As you can see, there are so many ways to help your child get to grips with some of the basic and advanced topics in maths on a daily basis.
Practicalising maths, in an everyday way, will definitely help your child with word problems. This is what the questions in the real exams will be based on, so the more you can help your child to get to grips with some of these concepts, the easier it will be.
Don’t forget to use the Geek School Maths Worksheet Generator – it’s free! Enjoy!