Practicing Math Skills
Summer is over and math homework will be beginning soon or has already started. As you look around to find some math manipulatives to use to help your child with their math homework, here are some math games you can play at home with children. Some games use math websites, others use board games, ball game math, and simply using food.
Interactive Math Websites
The first fun way is through the use of an online computer program using virtual manipulatives. You can often find interactive games for all math concept areas in grades K through 8 to allow children to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Find interactive activity games that teach problem-solving skills and connections to real-world situations.
Children love to play anything on the computer and it can become a family event. Family teams work together attempting to solve some of the more challenging problems. The key is that every game involves:
- Requires thinking
- Solving problems
Another fun activity is playing board games with children. Yes, they are using math skills. Children have to apply problem-solving skills, basic arithmetic computations, reasoning, and probability to determine what their next step will be no matter how simple or complex the board game. Good board games to play are Yahtzee and Monopoly.
Math Games and Food
Another math game you can play at home with children evolves eating food. Combining the use of food is another strategy for learning basic math skills. For example:
Skittles are always good because they come in a variety of colors, as do M&Ms.
Or choose healthy foods such as apples, grapes, orange slices, crackers, different types of cheeses, etc.
These foods can be used as manipulatives to replace numbers in a math problem. As children practice their math skills, they get to eat their math. Math associated with these problems include:
- Fractions, percents, and ratios
- Shapes: 2 and 3 dimensional
- Basics: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
- Algebra: variables
- Measurement: standards and non-standard units of measure
Math Related Toys
Depending on what age your child is and how advanced they are with math concepts, Hape Toys has toys that can be used to encourage practicing math skills without your child even knowing.
For your littlest of children, the Sunny Valley Adventure Dome will be a big hit on learning how to count! Let me give you full warning, the little two and three-year-olds will NOT be the only ones playing with this one. My twelve and sixteen-year-olds were waiting (not so patiently) for their turn to try the Sunny Valley Adventure Dome!
With this toy, children use the magnetic bird to maneuver the metal balls inside the dome. How many beads can your child pick up and place in the red slide, how many in the green slide? Don’t forget to drop them in the blue funnel and watch the ball spin round and round until it drops out of the bottom of the funnel!
With the Chunky Clock Puzzle, ages three and up can learn to tell time. The numbers on the clock are wooden puzzle pieces. So, they are also learning to put the numbers in order.
The hands of the clock really turn, allowing you as the parent to “set the clock” and ask the child what time it is. The Chunky Clock Puzzle also has terms like, “Quarter Past, Half-Past, Quarter Til, and O’Clock” written at the three, six, nine, and twelve parts of the clock.
Hape Toy’s Rainbow Bead Abacus is a great way to practice math skills such as counting, adding, and subtracting. With ten beads in a row of 10 different colors, you can even include some fraction skills! Children will start counting beads without you even having to make them! It is all part of the fun with this toy. Don’t you love it when play and education can intertwine?!
Math and Ball Games
Another fun way to practice subtraction is to play baseball math. Baseball and softball involve lots of math for children to think about when they are at a game. For example, math involving pitchers includes:
- Number of strikeouts
- Number of walks
- Hits gave up
- Earned runs given up
- Innings pitched
- Number of pitches in a game
Other math-related to professional ball games is calculating the dimensions of the field, such as:
- Distance from one base to another is 90 feet
- Pitcher’s mound is 60 feet from home plate
- Distance from home plate to left field is 342 feet (varies for every ball field)
- Number of baseballs used in the average baseball game is about 60
You can let your children compare their ball field’s dimensions with dimensions of professional ball fields.