Many of us as kids used to dread math – we simply couldn’t get our head around all that logarithms and x + y – z / 200 = pi, or some such apparent nonsense. What do pies have to do with math, anyway?
A lot of our thinking about math was because our parents and teachers failed to make it any fun. Math can indeed be a lot of fun, if it is taught in the right way, from the ground up.
As parents, there are a lot of things that we can do to help our children absorb knowledge and want to learn more by making it fun and entertaining, as well as educational. There are dozens of math projects for kids that you can find if you do a simple search online. Here are a few of the best that we have found.
This is a game for two players about simplifying fractions. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line across it halfway down. Take an ordinary deck of cards and remove all the picture cards and jokers. The remaining cards are shuffled. The two players sit side by side and are dealt half the cards each, face down. Each player turns over their top card and puts it above the line. They turn over the second card and put it below the line. The top card is the numerator, and the bottom one is the denominator.
The first player to simplify a fraction shown by one or both of the two cards wins all four cards which go at the bottom of his pile. So, for example a four over a six is simplified to 2/3rds. If the fraction can’t be simplified (for instance nine over seven, or four over five) each player collects the cards the other player put down and places them on the bottom of his pile. The winner is the player who collects all the cards. Alternatively, you can set a time limit and the winner is the one who has most cards.
Compass, Pencil, And Card
Here is another idea involving nothing more than a compass, a pencil, and a piece of cardboard (cardboard works better than paper). Let the kid draw circles of differing sizes and overlapping on the cardboard. This creates some great geometric shapes using nothing more or less than his imagination. When finished, he can color them in to create a piece of artwork as well.
Art And Math
This next game involves art and math. Kids draw a circle with a compass, at least six inches in diameter, on a piece of card. Then draw lines across it to divide it into six equal parts. Color in the parts in a variety of colors of choice. Kids measure three feet of string. Adults punch two holes in the centre of the circle. Thread the string through the holes so that there is a loop on one side. Tie the two ends on the other side together to form another loop.
Hold the string loops, one in each hand, and twist the string up by flipping it round. Now pull the strings outwards and watch the circle fly round and round and the colors mix!
You can find many more maths ideas – many connected with art – by searching on the internet. Anything that you can do to make math fun will be beneficial for your kids.