When teaching math, some parents might have the instinct to purchase a bunch of workbooks or print out worksheets and have their kids sit down and get to work. Having tried that method, I have to say, it doesn’t always have the best outcome. It’s less exciting, less inviting and dare I say… a little bit boring?
One of the fortunate perks of homeschooling is that you as the parent have the flexibility to get creative! So, don’t lecture your children in front of a whiteboard. Your kids will get fidgety and you will see their mind start to wander elsewhere. You will probably find more success by turning a lesson that may normally include a lecture and a worksheet into an interactive one.
Here are some ways to make learning math more fun for you and for your children while you homeschool.
Try using picture books.
There are so many great picture books available both for purchase or at your local library to use to introduce math concepts to kids. You can find topics that range from counting or shapes all the way down to multiplication. Read-alouds are ideal for drawing children into the math skill that will be taught.
Use math manipulatives.
Especially fun for the younger elementary students, math manipulatives are a great way to engage children in math activities. You can purchase them or even make your own! Save bottle caps, paper rolls and similar recyclables – they can all be used for making simple math manipulatives!
Take learning math outside.
Most parents know that almost everyone is happier outside and that fresh air is good for everyone. Don’t be afraid to get creative and take learning about math outside, too! Instead of paper and pencil, grab some chalk and let them do simple equations on your driveway or the sidewalk. Do a simple Google search for “outdoor sidewalk chalk math” and you will have plenty of ideas.
Play math games.
Children absolutely love to play educational board games, but especially math games. Math games are the perfect way for kids to learn and have fun at the same time. There are a wide variety of game types that you can use when teaching or reviewing math concepts, all of which are available through a simple Google or Amazon search – your local library might even have a few, as well!
Our family has really enjoyed the Learning Resources games “POP for Addition and Subtraction!” and “Sum Swamp”. POP is a super simple and fun game to get early elementary aged children to work on math problems while playing a game. It includes 90 addition and subtraction problems on cardboard gumballs and ten POP cards for a fun spin on the game. “Sum Swamp” is another super simple addition and subtraction game that takes kids on an adventure through Sum Swamp. They make their way through the swamp by adding and subtracting numbers on the dice. I love both of these games because of their simplicity and engaging themes. Children are enticed by the fun themes and are able to play them cooperatively without issue because of their simplicity.
Making learning math fun can sometimes be seen as a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways that we can make math engaging and fun for our kids.