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6 Ways to Make Math Fun as a Family

Practical ideas to help turn your home into a fun space to explore numbers with your child.

6 Ways to Make Math Fun as a Family

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Unlocking a love for math is like discovering a superpower—a tool that lets us unravel puzzles and decode the world around us. For parents, transforming math into an exciting adventure at home can ignite a shared journey of exploration and discovery. However, for many adults, math is a daunting subject and not all that exciting.

When grown-ups feel worried or scared about math, it can rub off on kids, too. It can be challenging for kids to feel confident and excited about math if parents only show that it is hard and stressful. Instead, reframe it as a great way to teach your child about building grit and confidence, solving problems, thinking critically, and accepting mistakes as part of the learning process.

I've compiled some practical ideas to help turn your home into a fun space to explore numbers with your child.

Create a Cool Math Spot

Pick a comfy spot at home and decorate it with colorful posters and fun math games. Make it a happy place where your child can explore and have fun with numbers. Spending time here regularly will make math an enjoyable part of your routine.

Use Math in Everyday Stuff

Did you know we use math in many things we do daily? Like when we cook, count things, tell time and distance, calculate costs, and watch sports. Including your child in these activities makes math fun and shows them how useful it is in real life. The next time you plan a family outing or vacation, try including your child in the budgeting or mapping out the route.

Or try some of these fun games together:

  • Using dominoes, have your child match numbers together, count the dots, add or subtract, or skip count (by 2s, 5s or 10s).
  • When shopping, teach your child to round up and down and keep track of the total. For a challenge, give them a budget. For younger students, ask your child to estimate the number of fruits, vegetables and meat you will need for the family recipes that week.
  • When playing ' I Spy ' together, identify things by their shape, size and directional locations (up, down, over, under, between, through, beside, behind). For a challenge, give two-part directions such as, "It's a square-shaped object that is under the table and to the left of the chair."
  • Dancing is math? Yup! Have fun teaching your child a sequence of dance moves. Have them copy you, create a pattern, and make a TikTok together.
  • Financial literacy is an important skill. Play games involving money. For younger students, have them identify coins and bills, ordering from smallest to largest in size and value. For a challenge, play a game as a grocer/customer, calculate tax, and have them return the change.
  • Practice patterning with an Indigenous math game called 'Bone Game.'
a little boy and his dad lie on the floor on their stomachs reading a book Photo: iStock/fizkes

Read Books About Math

Reading about math allows your child to develop their mathematical thinking while helping them make real-life connections.

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Here is a list of books arranged by strand:

Adding and Subtracting

  • Ten on a Twig by Lo Cole (Pre-K–1)
  • Albert Adds Up by Eleanor May

Counting

  • Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno
  • Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
  • How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

Measurement and Size

  • Who Eats First? by Ae-hae Yoon
  • Just a Little Bit by Ann Tompert
  • The Growing Story by Ruth Krauss

Patterns and Algebra

  • The Animals Would Not Sleep! by Sara Levine (Pre-K–1)
  • Anno's Magic Seeds by Mitsumasa Anno
  • Two of Everything: A Chinese Folktale by Lily Toy Hong
  • Pitter Pattern by Joyce Hesselberth (K–2)
  • Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy (Grades 1–3)

Shapes

  • The Shape of Things by Dayle Ann Dodds
  • The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns
  • Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Thong
  • When a Line Bends, a Shape Begins by Rhonda Growler Greene

Spatial Relations

  • Albert is Not Scared by Eleanor May
  • Inside, Outside, Upside Down by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres
girl doing math on chalkboard Photo: iStockphoto

Try Fun Math Apps

You can use your gadgets for fun math, too. Here are some apps that build on different math skills:

  • Try building or playing a FREE video game using 'Scratch' with your child to practice their coding skills.
  • Prodigy Math: Your child may already know this app. It's a fantasy game aligned with the curriculum geared to students from grades 1-8.
  • Moose Math: Start math in your home from a young age with this app! It teaches addition, subtraction, sorting, and geometry for kids as young as four. They can earn rewards and build their city as they learn.

Talk Positively About Math

Remind kids that learning math is about making mistakes and seeing mistakes as a chance to learn. Praise their efforts and grit, not just the correct answers.

Celebrate Math Wins

When your child learns something new, celebrate it together. Create a special place to show off their achievements to make math feel like a big accomplishment.

By making math part of your routine, turning it into fun games, and celebrating victories, you're setting the stage for a future where numbers are friends, not foes. So, dive into this math journey with your child, watch as they discover the joy of numbers and problem-solving, and build their confidence.

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Author:

Julie Diamond is the founder and CEO of Diamond Teachers Group (DTG), an online tutoring company comprised of certified teachers who tutor. She’s been running DTG since 2011. Julie's job is to connect with families who want one-on-one tutoring, write blogs to help parents support their kids' learning at home, and talk to principals and teachers to help students in school settings. She's also been representing Autism Ontario as a SEAC rep for the Toronto District School Board since 2019.

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Julie Diamond is the founder and CEO of Diamond Teachers Group (DTG), an online tutoring company comprised of certified teachers who tutor. She’s been running DTG since 2011. Julie's job is to connect with families who want one-on-one tutoring, write blogs to help parents support their kids' learning at home, and talk to principals and teachers to help students in school settings. She's also been representing Autism Ontario as a SEAC rep for the Toronto District School Board since 2019.

She has her Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto and has taught in classrooms in BC and Ontario since 2009. Her goal as an educator, and through her company, is to empower students to confidently reach their academic and personal goals and give families peace of mind. In her spare time, she loves going for hikes with her dachshund Frankie, cooking new recipes and torturing herself at Crossfit.

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