The above statement may appear to be total rubbish when you consider how we grew up with this oft-maligned school subject. I for one, have particularly awful memories of my classmates and I droning on and on, robotically reciting the multiplication table in unison. I didn’t enjoy math class; I had difficulty grasping the concepts, and I refused to see the value in learning it.
Worst of all, because I wasn’t good at it, I came to fear it – which likely further hampered my development in the subject. It’s safe to say that as I’ve gotten older, my opinion has changed regarding the universal language – and I can’t help but wonder what might have been had I developed a love of math from an early age.
Why Math is Important
There are a lot of reasons why your child would benefit from any number of 1-on-1 learning programs – whether it’s math, science, or reading. But considering the shift in the economic landscape and the exponential growth in the software development, robotic, and technology industries, developing a passion for math and science will be key to landing a good job in the decades to come.
Many believe that the education system is facing a crisis – that our children’s exposure to technology earlier and earlier in life creates shorter attention spans and lessens the desire to learn the fundamentals. As parents, we have to find a way to breakthrough the technological noise and find a way to make learning fun, for the benefit of their future.
Making Math Fun is Actually Pretty Darn Easy
At first glance, the idea of attempting to make a subject like math fun might seem pretty daunting. In truth, it’s actually pretty easy to do – and the earlier you start, the easier it is.
Whether your child is exposed to many different electronic stimuli or none at all, kids the world over have one thing in common: they have incredibly fertile imaginations – and if you can harness that power, you can make just about anything into an activity they enjoy doing, even things like additions and subtractions.
- Use props. Create a goofy wand or staff that your child can use to point out the answers on flashcards or on a board. The more props the better; funny hats, capes, whatever you can think of.
- Roll the Dice. Keep a set of dice with you wherever you go. Unlike flashcards, using dice is a bit more interactive for your child. Because they are small, you can take them virtually anywhere – so no matter where you happen to find yourselves, it’s easy to start a game. If you have more than one child, you can keep score – just remember to keep it a level playing field!
- Use Apps! There are tons of free apps that you can download that use games to teach the fundamentals of math. These are particularly useful if your child is reluctant to give up the tablet. The important thing here is play with your child. Find one that your child enjoys and enjoy it with them.
- Math Races. Many kids love competitive play – if that’s the case with yours, consider holding a math race. The premise of this activity is pretty simple. Beginning behind a line, each successful answer allows the child to take one step forward towards a goal. You can even incentivize your kids to win, offering small prizes to the victor.
- Do math somewhere fun. At the park? Find a way to integrate your surroundings into your activity. Alternatively, bring chalk or water-based paint and give your math lessons an artistic twist. Get messy!
- Make it a part of your routine, but keep things fresh. Now and then your child may get bored with a particular game, and that’s to be expected. While it’s important to make the activities part of a routine, it’s equally important to keep things new and exciting. Designate a time everyday where you can sit down with your child and enjoy the activity together. Have several activities from which they can choose (remember kids like being involved in the decision-making process).
Making math fun may seem like a difficult task, but it is nonetheless an important one. A few more things to remember – if you sense your child resisting learning something in particular, try not to push the issue. The last thing you want to do is make these activities chores; remember that the point of these activities is to be fun!