No, not that four letter word again…….. MATH. Hide, close the curtains. Well it is known some people are actually afraid of math. Let’s talk about how to help children learn to love math. This does depend on the age of the child and how he/she feels about math.

If you have a young child ages 4 – 8, maybe even older, a set of playing cards can be your best friend. First take out all the kings, queen and jacks. Count the ace as one. Now have your child pull two cards and count the shapes on each card to find the sum. As your child memorizes their addition facts introduce it’s opposite subtraction. You could have your child cover up a certain amount of shapes on a card and find the difference. You probably can make up other games as well and maybe your child can help you think of a few.

Making patterns. Using two sets of cards create a pattern and have your child extend it. Start with a simple AB pattern, (5, 3, 5, 3) and then progress to more complicated patters, ABC, AAB, ABCC. There are many other ways to make patterns, use coins, colors or even socks. By the way, matching socks is also a math skill.

Money makes the world go round, but many children do not have exposure to counting money amounts. Start by introducing one coin type at a time and the amounts, Start by adding simple money amounts then gradually mix coins for them to add. Make each lesson short and fun. Soon your children will be able to add simple amounts of money. When my children were about 8 years old, I would give them a handful of change. If they count it right they would be able to keep the money. Boy, that really encouraged them to learn how to count money. Maybe even open a savings account and allow your child to keep track of their savings and at times spending.

Counting as you go up or down steps, count by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s. Just count with your child. As your child masters counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s add counting by 3’s and 4’s. Keep challenging your child and try 6’s and 7’s. This type of counting helps develop early multiplication skills.

Telling time is another skill that could be challenging. Make or buy a clock that has a minute and hour hand and numbers. Introduce each hour and then half hour. As they master this concept introduce quarter and half hour. Now have your child manage time by creating a schedule for them to follow. The last and most challenging skills is understanding and calculation lapsed time. Start slow and make sure to use the clock.

Graphing can be a fun way to display all sorts of data. You can show your child how to collect data. For example, how many blue, red and yellow socks do you see, ask 10 people what they like to eat apples, oranges or pears. Create a chart as a way to collect data. Now make a bar graph or even a picture graph using the data collected. There are many books with other ideas to help with graphing.

The most important message is to spend time helping your child have fun with math. Enjoy !