Fun Ways To Practice Math Skills At Home
So many students struggle with learning math, but math can be so much fun! In many cases, students have developed a strong number sense. Just like any other skill, the more you practice, the better you get.
If your students struggles with math, avoid the temptation to “skill ‘n drill.” Drill activities are so boring – and they often don’t do anything to help a student improve their number sense. These types of activities tend to focus on rote memorization. Although the goal is for students to have many math facts memorized, there are better – and more interesting – ways to develop that knowledge.
Also, I don’t have anything against computer games that practice math skills. I just don’t think they, by themselves, are the best way to build number sense. Add them to your rotation of activities, but don’t over-rely on them.
Instead, have children participate in everyday tasks that require math skills. Students always want to know why they need to learn something (especially if it is difficult.) and showing them math “in the wild” is the perfect way to teach them.
Here are ten fun ideas for practicing math at home.
10 Ideas For Practicing Math At Home
Hands-down, games are my all-time favorite way to practice math and other skills. Kids don’t even realize they are learning when they play games.
In addition, there is a card or board game for any math skill! I often just search the word game and whatever skill I want to practice to find ideas.
One of my favorite math games is Yahtzee – it is so simple and quick to play. It is a good starter game for kids who may not have a lot of stamina to play a longer game. I love the game so much, I made Yahtzy games for a variety of specific concepts.
Most kids enjoy helping in the kitchen – and love to eat. Showing kids how to read and follow a recipe teaches them fractions, reading, and chemistry! Be sure to have your child compare the fractions and develop a sense of which is bigger/smaller.
If your kids are like mine, they love to eat. Talk about nutrition and math by having students make little packs of healthy snacks. Kids could count out a specific number of carrots, celery, raisins, etc in each container. They could bundle pretzel sticks into tens and count them.
S’mores are perfect for fractions. You have to divide the graham crackers and Hershey bars. It is the perfect time to discuss how many fractions make a whole and how to count fractions.
Arts & Crafts
Some kids love to make or build things. If you are crafty or can make something from wood, have your child help. They could measure the supplies and help assemble it.
One of my kids favorite activities was foam sticker kits. I used to pick them up at Target or WalMart, and they would sit at the table and decorate hearts, snowflakes, etc. Kids could count the number of stickers or discuss their decorations as fractions.
Blocks & Legos
Building Legos helps students develop spatial skills, which are important in geometry (and life, honestly.) Playing with blocks and Legos helps students develop the ability to see something in their minds – which will help them read maps and understand how things fit together.
Free play is great, but building from instructions helps to further build those spatial skills. Have your older children do both.
One of my very favorite things as a kid was puzzle books. Highlights Magazine, Logic puzzles, etc. – it didn’t matter what it was. Puzzles help develop a wide range of skills, depending on the puzzle. Logic puzzles help students with close reading. Some puzzles build math thinking – either way,puzzles help kids engage their brains.
You can find puzzle books in many grocery stores. Be sure to get books aimed at your child’s age group though.
Practice money skills by having kids play store! Kids learn the value of coins and bills, plus they learn how to add them (fractions.)