Spend time “mathing” with your child to prevent the summer slide!

By James Temple, Center Director, Mathnasium of Richmond

No doubt most parents spend time reading with their children on a regular basis. It is not hard to find an educational or child development expert who insists that this time is key to not only the proper development of core language skills and a healthy imagination but also key to the relationship between a parent and child. Less common but equally important for similar reasons is time spent “mathing” with your child.

Mathing is simply doing math with your children and does not have to take the form of working through repetitive mechanical math problems over and over again until everyone is bored out of their minds! The goal of mathing with your child should be to engage them in mathematical thinking in a way that reinforces number facts, develops number sense, encourages problem-solving development and creates in them a passion for math. It should be fun!

Researcher after researcher has told us all about the dreadful summer slide and how as a result of having few educational experiences during the summer months away from school, children tend to lose months worth of learning. Daily mathing, as well as reading, with your child are great ways to turn a potential learning loss into a learning gain!

The examples below will give you a starting point for your mathing time. You’ll quickly find that opportunities for mathing exist throughout your daily interaction with your child making it easy to find the time in your busy schedule. image

Car Math: A car ride, whether short or long, presents many opportunities for mathing. Use license plates or signs with numbers to work on number facts. Play a game where you pick a single digit number and everyone in the car has to find it’s ten friend (ie. 1+9 = 10, pick the number 1 and look for a sign or license plate with a 9 in it). You can add, subtract, multiply, divide, cut in half or a combination of all of them to keep it interesting.

Store Math: Any time you are spending money is a good time to do some mathing. Play the estimation game by having your children estimate how much your purchase will be by rounding up the price to the nearest dollar and adding them up. You can also have them pick an item and figure out how much change they’ll get from a $5, $10, or $20 bill. Maybe if they get it right they get the item!

Restaurant Math: Middle schoolers should be comfortable with calculating percentages and there are some easy ways to calculate 15% or 20% which are commons tip amounts. Next time you are about to pay for a meal have a competition to see who can figure out the tip amount first. Maybe that child gets to ride in the front seat.

Cooking Math: Cooking is a great time to work on fractions. Let your young chef help you figure out how to double or triple your recipe. I need ¾ cups of sugar. How much will I need if I double it? This is a great time to visualize math by measuring the ingredients separately and then combining them to see the result. Cooking is also a good time to build familiarity with measurements. What does a cup of something look like? How about a gallon?

There are so many ways to spend time mathing with you child that you only need to be looking for the opportunity to find them. We hope your family enjoys mathing as it will be a great way to prevent the summer slide! Please share your mathing experiences with us at richmond@mathnasium.com. Your idea could be featured in one of our next posts.

Mathnasium is a math only learning center where children from Pre-K to 12th grades catch up, keep up or get ahead in math. Mathnasium has flexible summer programs that focus on giving kids a positive experience with math while addressing their specific needs. You can learn more about Mathnasium’s Summer Math Camp by clicking here. Contact Mathnasium with questions by calling 804-364-3333 or emailing richmond@mathnasium.com. Mathnasium has locations in Short Pump and Midlothian. Find out more at www.mathnasium.com.

Mathnasium is a sponsor of Richmondmom.com; request our free Savvy Saver Card for FREE sessions at Mathnasium.