Avoid “Math Phobia” with These 5 Maths Activities for Kids!
Last week amid another lockdown-induced cleaning session, I came across the book I’ve avoided my whole life. Mathematics part 1. I remember avoiding the subject right up to the night before my final exams. You will be surprised to know that my case isn’t exceptional. In fact, it was habitual for most of the class to dread the day of the Math exam.
To check if my class was just that bad in math or was it a common trend among students, I surveyed a group of 50 elementary students. On being asked what their favorite subject is, a majority of students said English, followed by science. Math comparatively lagged behind with just 14.3% of students preferring it. On the other hand, over 50% of students stated that they have the most difficulty with math. Apparently, this is a common phenomenon and is known as math phobia or math anxiety. There are many reasons behind this fear. Among them, the most prevalent is the unfamiliarity of Maths when it comes to preschool education. In preschool, learning a language is given priority, followed by arts and then numbers. But counting numbers is very different from learning Maths.
Stanford professor Deborah Stipek remarked: “Learning to count by rote teaches children number words and order, but it does not teach them number sense, any more than singing the letters L-M-N-O-P in the alphabet song teaches phonemic awareness.”
For kids that small, numbers in the book will undoubtedly be unappealing. So, what is the solution to curing the “math phobia” among kids? The easiest answer to this is – math activities for kids. If you have a kid that is struggling in Math like me, incorporating exercises can be the simplest solution. Before looking at fun math activities for kids, let’s go through the main reasons kids avoid the subject.
- Learning style:
Not all kids process and retain information the same way. While some kids can be visual learners, others benefit from more hands-on experience. In comparison, some kids learn quickly when they are listening to a problem.
It’s natural for kids not to have long-term attention and focus. Math in the textbook needs an unbroken attention span to solve.
Developmental disabilities like ADHD and learning disabilities like dyslexia can hinder kids from learning Maths.
Math is most boring when you have to stare at colorless books filled with numbers. However, it has the potential to be an interesting and exciting subject. The secret, as I said before, is to make an activity out of it. Yes, just like the song in Mulan! Below are some easy and practical activities that will make kids fall in love with the hard to crack subject:
Although this learning device has long faded into obscurity, it acts as an excellent tool for kids who love colors and shapes. Abacus reduces the pressure on short-term memory in kids. They can keep track of digits, which allows them to execute more complex calculations. The additional plus side? The abacus is cheap and readily available in toy stores, making it one of the best math activities for kids at home.
Is your child a practical learner? The most suitable math activities for kids with swift hands and buzzing minds are DIY kits. These are boxes containing various toys and instruments that help your child learn Maths. But here is the catch! They don’t know they are learning Maths. You can easily give your child these toys during playtime, and they would be none the wiser. Not only do kids learn, but they are also kept entertained. What more can a guardian want?
This math activity works best when you have more than one kid or student. It’s a simple competition on who can solve the Maths problem the fastest. Add a timer and rewards to make it even more exciting.
Everyone has played hopscotch as a kid, and there are no math activities for 4 years old as good as this. Hopscotch involves physical activity, which is ideal for kids who have tons of restless energy they want to burn off. To play it,
- Draw out hopscotch squares on the ground using white chalk. In each square, write either multiple of a number or multiplication facts.
- To play, each person hops, skips, and counts at the same time.
The exercise is an excellent way of helping your kids remember those multiplication tables.
Guess the Operation
Guess the operation is one of the simple and fun math activities for kids. It combines Maths with a brain teaser. To play, you have to:
- Ask your child to give you a number.
- Write the number on a board and perform an operation on it, be it addition or multiplication. Keep it from your kid.
- Now write the results beside the initial number on the board, keeping the operation space blank.
- The game is to figure out the operation.
Make it multi-level, tied, or even with rewards to give your child the incentive to solve it as soon as possible.
Learning math is not only essential for higher education but is also a basic life skill. Globally, six out of ten children and adolescents are not learning a minimum in mathematics, a new UIS paper published. Math leads to the development of critical thinking, memory, and quick problem-solving skills. So, pick out one of the math activities for kids from our list and work away.