Holidays are around the corner and we hope your child is looking forward to a month of bliss and fun. Math may not seem to fit in with his version of a holiday, but it is after all weaved into life itself and can’t be avoided. Here are some ways for your child to see Math in a new light during the break.
The Internet is the easiest place to start. It has plenty of amazing resources. Ted, a website that produces thought-provoking videos, dedicates a part of its website wholly to Math (http://ed.ted.com/lessons?category=Mathematics). Check out the series Math in Real Life (http://ed.ted.com/series/?series=math-in-real-life). This can inspire your child develop an interest for Math, a subject isn’t easily divorced from reality. Geniebook, an app that we developed, is a great resource that teaches Math in an easy-to-understand way. It will help your child to understand concepts that confuse him in school.
Everybody likes games. If you have a young child, try buying Math puzzles and games either online or from the stores. Examples include a modified version of Bingo, where players are given cards with simple sums involving the four operations. Your child has to solve them instantly in his head to win. For older kids, try playing Black Jack and Contract Bridge: older kids are always intrigued with poker cards. These strategy games have a lot of probability in them. It also teaches them that poker cards can be played in a context that excludes gambling.
All children should master the timetables at least up to 12. If you have multiple children, turn it into a competition. Tell them to memorise the timetables and test them together, turning it into a game-show style battle. You would be surprised how rivalry drives them to come up with the answer in a snap.
Math riddles work if your child is the one who must get the answer. They are great ways to help your child to think out of the box, and are just a Google search away. Who knows? You may get so good that you start churning out your own.
You have 2N coins of varying denominations (each is a non-negative real number) in a line. Players A and B take turns choosing one coin from either end. Prove A always has a strategy that ensures he end up with at least as much as B.
Homeschooling is very popular overseas. Creative parents have come up with innovative methods to involve their children in learning Math. One way is doing Math projects together. Pinterest is a social media site that puts together a series of ideas. Search for Math projects on it and you’d be introduced to quirky ideas offered by parents from all around the world. One project involves building a miniature house with your child, which is a great lesson for geometry, area and perimeter, etc.
A Trip to the Supermarket
Math isn’t just fun and games. It has diverse real-life applications. One simple application lies in baking. Purchasing ingredients from the grocery store involves budgeting and calculating costs. Back at home, successful baking relies on making precise measurements and tweaking figures in the recipe to produce the right number of servings. Even if it doesn’t work out as a learning activity, it would succeed as a great bonding one.
Budgeting & Investment
You should definitely try this if you have a money-minded kid. Guide your child in creating a budget, categorising expenditure, and allocating a neat sum as savings. Task him to project his total savings after several months or years. This can also be an opportunity to introduce your child to the world of business. Ask him to come up with a simple business idea, such as an online trading business, and do up the accounts for it: cost, sales and profit.
Computer programming is an essential skill of the technology-driven future. Math is closely linked to coding. Both are founded on logic and systematic problem-solving. Consider enrolling your child in a coding camp, or an alternative (e.g.youthdigital.com). Not only would it help to train his cognitive ability, he would also witness Math being applied in real life.
Math isn’t just for the geeky nerd. It’s for everyone. Use the holidays to show your child precisely that.