Stimulating children’s Mathematical skills outside the classroom
Maths is undoubtedly one of the most important subjects within primary and secondary school education, developing a child’s ability to use numbers, time, recognise shapes and change. Not every child dreams to be a mathematician or an accountant, but it is impossible to think of one job that doesn’t involve the basic mathematical principles.
“When am I ever going to use algebra in real life?”, said every child who has ever studied Mathematics. Worksheets and tests work in principle, but are not enough to show children the real importance of the subject and how it is used on a daily basis. So here are some tips and methods on how we can teach our children the basics and importance of mathematics, outside the classroom!
- The weekly shop (Basic Calculations + Algebra)
The weekly shop is a great way to teach younger children basic calculations in a regular scenario; getting them to work out the cost of the items in the trolley as you go around the store, subtracting as you take things out of the basket.
It is also a good introduction to Algebra. If eggs (e) cost £1.00 and bread (b) cost 80p per loaf, how much money does mummy have to take to the store for 2e + 1b? You get the idea!
- Using the environment (Charts and Graphs)
It is easy to turn your children’s interests into a stimulating mathematical activity. If your child loves playing football, you could get them to record how many goals they have scored in each game they play and plot this on a chart or create a graph.
You can use nature and get your child to record how many slugs they can find in the garden at a particular times of the day. Both are fun ways of getting children motivated to create graphs and graphs, in which they will be more prepared when it comes to doing these tasks inside school.
- Cooking at home (Measurements, Fractions and Percentages)
Something as simple as cooking and baking can be a great way to teach children the basic usage of measurements and fractions whilst having fun! Children love the feeling of responsibility and doing ‘adult tasks’. Getting your child to pour specific measurements of cake mixture will help them understand basic measurements.
Using pizza or orange segments to help understand fractions and percentages. Using food and sweets can be a great way of motivating children to learn, particularly if it involves a sugary reward!
- Daily routines and planning (Time)
Giving your children a strict daily routine can help give them a better understanding of time, how much time they have to do homework, how much time they have to get ready or how many hours left until playtime.
We need to quickly establish the importance of time management and how precious time can be so they can apply this to the classroom. You can use your own time-management and daily work routine as an example to show your child why time is so important.
- Pocket money (Saving, Budgeting and the Value of Money)
Budgeting is a mathematical topic that tends to appear in secondary school education. None the less it is a practice that can be introduced to children at an early age to teach them the real value of money. Getting your children to save up for toys and things that they want will help them understand the value of money and getting them to do things around the house for pocket money helps teach children that we have to work to get the things that we want and need.
Showing them some of your monthly incomings and outgoings can help them see how saving and budgeting will have an effect as they grow older.
There are a number of ways we can stimulate our children’s mathematical skills outside the classroom! Are there ways that you integrate mathematics with everyday life for your children? We would love to hear your ideas!