SOLVE A NEW PROBLEM
- Create-your-own-worksheet is a super simple way to get kids practicing their math! My 8 yr old wanted "unicorn math" (which involved something complicated like counting the number of rings on the horn & then multiplying them?) so I suggested she draw the worksheet up and I would do it later. Bonus? It keeps her very busy creating it AND she has to know the answers in order to correct my work.
- Jo Boaler is a well-known expert in the field of mathematics. Check out all of the amazing math problems she and her team have created at YouCubed.
- Steve Wyborney shares some very cool math tasks on his website. I especially like the Esti-Mysteries.
- Graham Fletcher's 3 Act Math Tasks are a really neat way of looking at math and encourage kids to make predictions, ask questions and calculate.
- Baking and cooking are great introductions to fractions. You can ramp up the difficulty by having kids double or halve the recipe! See some great kid-friendly recipes here.
- Try numberless word problems to encourage problem solving & critical thinking.
WRITE A WORD PROBLEM
Word problems are a written representation of math as it happens all around us. Encouraging your child to articulate math as a word problem helps them to understand how to solve them as well.
- Money makes a great place to start. Bring out the coins and have your child write a question based on them.
- Write word problems about anything your child is interested in - Lego, cooking, sports, video games, anything goes!
- Encourage your child to use different types of equations in their word problems. Can they change a repeated addition problem in to a multiplication problem?
DRAW A PICTURE OR DIAGRAM
- Jarret J. Krozoscka, author of the Lunch Lady & Jedi Academy series, has created "Draw Everyday with JJK" and it's fantastic. Learning how to draw perspective, expression and proportion has been great geometry learning for my kids.
- These diagram facts for kids will introduce your child to the basics of different kinds of diagrams. Challenge them to create a diagram about their LEGO, the number of people who walk by in an hour, the amount of screen time they have right now...the list goes on and on.
- Try this online tool from the National Centre for Educational Statistics that allows kids to easily create graphs online.
PLAY WITH NUMBERS
- Sumdog & Prodigy are popular online math games that make practicing basic facts fun for the Gr 1-6 crowd. Both are also available as apps.
- DragonBox puts out some of the highest quality math apps out there. These apps go beyond practicing basic facts to digging in to the underlying principals of math in a fun, kid-friendly way.
- Have your kids do a How Many Ways activity. Simply pick a number (or let them choose) and have them write out all the ways they can think of to make that number. Anything goes! You can download a template & instructions here.
- Play a subitizing game. Subitizing is a foundational math skill and means "the ability to quickly & fluently recognize how many in a set or sets of objects". Quickly show fingers on one or both hands, then ask your child to identify how many, without counting. You can also use dice, counters or any other small object that can easily be spread out in small sets. Start with intentional patterns, like dice, then up the difficulty by creating random patterns. Most kids should have this mastered by about Gr. 3; if not, keep working on it!
PLAY A STRATEGY GAME
Card & board games are great for learning a whole host of mathematical thinking skills. Our current favourites are Ticket to Ride, Skipbo, RhinoHero Super Battle, Cribbage & Chess.
- This list of board games that inspire mathematical thinking has video tutorials for games you can play with pen & paper, as well as some familiar & not so familiar board games.
- Understood.org, one of my go-to websites, has this list of board games for building math skills in younger kids.
- Try these pencil & paper games. No purchase required!
- Did you know that Sudoku is only one of many similar games? Play them all online at PuzzleMix.