Teaching Children Mathematics

Tips for teaching children mathematics. Some of these fun and exciting activities that will have any child wanting to learn more.

Every parent and teacher knows that numbers and mathematical thinking can be a bit overwhelming for a child just starting to learn. After learning to count, one of the first mathematical concepts a child learns is how to add. This can be a tedious task or a fun adventure depending on how the concept is presented to the child. There are some very easy ways to get your child excited about learning how to add.

First, make sure your child is comfortable with counting and number recognition. Trying to move a child into adding too early could confuse and frustrate the child. It is important that each child has a firm grasp of what each numeral stands for and the quantity of each number. Having a strong foundation in counting and number recognition will make adding a lot easier for you and for the child learning.

Some of the everyday items you can use to teach adding include things that children like to play with any way. Dominos are excellent addition teachers. The dots are right there in front of them and you can show your child how to match the numeral symbol with the amount of dots. If you hold a domino horizontal, you can show your child the relationship to adding with the number sentence written from left to right. If you hold the domino in a vertical fashion, it is easy to teach your child how to add using the vertical method.

Another great thing to use to teach adding is dice. Take turns rolling the dice and recording an addition sentence. If the child gets the addition problem correct, he or she gets another turn. If he or she gets it wrong, they have to let someone else have a turn. You can even extend this to word problems by having them make up stories about their number sentences.

Cards are good addition teachers, also. By drawing two cards (take out the face cards) and placing them next to each other, you and your child can discuss and discover all the different combinations represented in the pair of cards. Again, you can help your child make up stories to reinforce what he or she has learned and expand into word problems.

Use fun things as counters. Whenever you are working with paper and pencil and have problems already written down let your child explore with all kinds of little things that can be used as counters. Counters help a child figure out the answer and give your child a firmer understanding of qualitative concepts. Some things you can use are Lego's, bread tabs, screws, nuts, bolts, milk jug caps, jelly beans, M & M's, Teddy Grahams, Goldfish crackers, Cheezits, or any other small item that you can think of. Food works wonders because you can always use the incentive that they get to eat their work when they are finished.

Make up addition rhymes. Help your child think of words that rhyme with the answer to addition problems and then use the whole problem in a rhyme. These are easy because most numbers rhyme with a variety of other words. Practicing and memorizing the rhymes will help your child memorize the addition facts as well. The funnier and more creative you allow your child to be with these rhymes the more likely he or she will be to remember them and the addition facts.

Add everything. When making dinner or cleaning the house ask your child questions about anything and everything that can be added. If your child is helping you with laundry, you can add the number of towels you folded to the number of towels he or she folded. If your child is helping set the table, ask him or her to add the number of ice cubes put in two different glasses. These are just basic ideas that can help you springboard your own thoughts. Get creative and sooner or later your child won't even realize he or she is learning to add.

While watching a favorite video you can find all kinds of opportunities to add. How many characters live in two different houses? How many cars were in one scene plus another scene? Any thing that interests your child about a movie will be a good chance for you to provide adding lessons.

Use art projects to help teach adding. While painting you can add the pallets of the water colors in each row. You can also add the different types of brushes you may be using. While coloring you can add how many different types of blue crayons there are in that great big box of crayons your child just had to have. Let him or her add how many green crayons there are to how many orange crayons there are. If you are working with clay you can make little balls or sticks out of the clay and play adding games.

Use Popsicle sticks to play pick-up-sticks. This is played just like pick-up-sticks except that when your turn is finished you have to add your sticks to that of the person before you. Let's say Mom was able to pick up five sticks before she moved any of the others. Then Sally picked up three without moving the rest of the sticks. Sally would note that since Mom picked up five and she picked up three, then there are eight sticks picked up so far. Therefore, five plus three equals eight. If she gets it right, she gets Mom's sticks. If she gets it wrong, Mom gets her sticks.

It is important to have fun while teaching your child to add. If you are having fun your child will have fun, too. This will keep your child motivated and interested in learning this new concept. Use your imagination and allow your child to be creative in inventing ways to learn, also. The more you create together, the more you both will learn. Before you know it, both of you will not only have learned about addition, you will have learned about each other.

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