Doing Mathematics with Your Child

Parents have the wonderful opportunity and responsibility for nurturing children. This nurturing process takes place in several areas of development: physical, emotional, and intellectual. While parents can usually find time to read a story to their children, thereby instilling a love for literature, they are often at a loss as to how to instill a love and appreciation for mathematics.

Like reading, mathematics is a subject that is indeed necessary for functioning adequately in society. More than that, mathematics is a subject that should be more enjoyable than it sometimes is. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has identified the appreciation and enjoyment of mathematics as one of the national goals for mathematics education. This goal, coupled with the task of nurturing children's confidence in their ability to apply their mathematical knowledge to solve real-life problems, is a challenge facing every parent today.
 
This article presents resources that will enable parents to fulfill their responsibility for developing their children's abilities to do mathematics, while at the same time encouraging more positive attitudes toward mathematics.
 
There are methods by which parents can easily become involved in their children's mathematics education. Several resources provide parents with games and activities that engage children in mathematical thinking and problem solving and, at the same time, build their self-confidence and appreciation for mathematics. An example of this type of resource is the book Helping Your Child Learn Math. Published by the U.S. Department of Education, the book contains 26 activities for children aged 5 to 13. The activities illustrate the mathematics that children can experience at home, at the grocery store, and while traveling. Some meaningful activities on a long car trip can alleviate the boredom that so often results in children fighting with each other or asking repeatedly, "Are we there yet?"
 
Parents' attitudes toward mathematics have an impact on children's attitudes. Children whose parents show an interest in and enthusiasm for mathematics around the home will be more likely to develop that enthusiasm themselves. You Can Help Your Young Child Learn Mathematics, available in both English and Spanish, helps parents communicate the importance of mathematics to their children and become more involved in their children's mathematical education. This book discusses ways that parents can help their children develop good study habits, and it presents activities through which families can make mathematics a part of their daily lives as they travel, cook, garden, and play games.
 
Reading to children is a treasured activity in many homes. What better way to integrate mathematics into the lives of children than to read them stories that bring mathematical ideas to life? Children's books related to mathematics can be separated into four categories: counting books, number books, storybooks, and concept books. A bibliography of 159 children's books that make a significant connection with mathematics, compiled by Stavroula K. Gailey and published in the January 1993 issue of the Arithmetic Teacher, provides many excellent suggestions for mathematical children's literature to read at home.
 
Math Matters: Kids Are Counting on You is a resource kit prepared by the National Parent Teacher Association for parents who feel inadequate in helping their children with mathematics. The kit's planning guide describes how local PTAs can use the kit to encourage elementary school parents to become more involved with their children's mathematics education. The kit contains the planning guide, a booklet with 70 suggested math activities for the home, a four-fold brochure summarizing the kit and its purpose, two posters, math stickers, and a 7-minute videotape about the role of parents in opening up opportunities for their children in mathematics.
 
Although more expensive and requiring extra equipment, technology can be utilized by parents to provide mathematical activities for their children. The best software packages are user friendly and highly interactive, and they offer problems that challenge both students and parents. One exemplary software is The Factory by WINGS.
 
Available in both English and Spanish, this software simulates the operation of a factory production line and requires the user to solve problems involving flaws in production. Another potential resource is the public library, where mathematics videos and computer software are available for use at home or in the library.
 
Cool Math Games for Kids

Math Lines This game is among the favorites of many kids. It is just like one of the marble line games. To start this game, write numbers 0-9 on marbles, one number per marble. You will be given a marble which could contain any from the numbers 0-9. Now you will need to select a digit at the top. Then shoot such ball that creates the total that you have chosen atop it. Here is an example to help you More...

Understanding Cool Math Games

Math games which can be found in several websites help people to better understand the concepts of Mathematics by means of entertainment to allow not just the improvement of skills but learning other skills and knowledge as well. Cool Math games provide simple instructions and rules which can be understand easily even by children that can even enhance their ability in logic. The games also come in varied difficulty levels and in different forms to allow learning of the subject More...

Math Video Games

Big Brain Academy refers to a collection of video games that was made by Nintendo. This series is designed to focus on various academic subjects, which include mathematics. The game has five categories, namely think (logic), memorize (memory), analyze (reason), identify (visual) and compute (math). The mathematics category features a number of games to help students develop their mathematical skills. Big Brain Academy has a multiplayer setting, though players can use just one Wii remote control at a time. Although More...

"Name That Number" Game

Drill exercises aim primarily at building fact and operations skills. Practice through games shares these objectives, but, at the same time, games often reinforce other skills including calculator skills, money exchange and shopping skills, logic, geometric intuition, and intuition about probability and chance (because many games involve numbers that are generated randomly.) Using games to practice number skills also greatly reduces the need for worksheets. Because the numbers in most games are generated randomly, the games can be played over More...

Games for Kids

Cool math games are among the popular education games in the United States that teach the young children on the basics of mathematics like counting. The games are often found in different websites such as coolmathgames.com. Examples of these math games are the Coffee Shop and Lemonade Stand. They are online games that simulate a business, which lots of teachers use in teaching their young students the basics of counting. The games let the kids buy some inventory then make More...