Getting kids interested in math can often be a difficult task. For some, math comes easily and is a subject they enjoy. For others, this may not be a subject that comes naturally to them, causing it to be something they avoid and dread. As parents and educators, we have to find creative ways to teach math to engage kids regardless of their current skill level. By finding fun ways to teach math, we can create an environment where kids can learn to appreciate STEM.
Throughout this article, we will guide parents and educators through different ways to get kids interested in math:
Be an Example
Kids are very observant and they pick up on the emotions and statements that parents, teachers, and mentors make about math. The first step to getting kids interested in math is showing them you are interested in the subject and find it important.
As early as elementary school, we need to begin setting a good example for our kids to follow in key curriculum areas, such as math. Even if math is not your strong suit, you can create a path for your child where they can appreciate and enjoy math throughout their education and in their day-to-day life. This point is especially important for parents who are trying to figure out how to get their kids interested in math. By creating a positive environment, you are setting yourself up to introduce the methods below and have your kid be more receptive to the new experiences and approaches.
Play Math-Based Videos and Board Games
There are countless educational video games designed to help kids learn math at all ages. This disguised learning approach makes learning new math concepts something kids can enjoy. Similarly, there are board games that can facilitate math learning, allowing for collaboration with other kids or with parents.
Below are some of the top math video games and board games you can implement with your kids:
Learn and Do Their Homework with Them
Actively learning with your kid can be encouraging to let them know you are there to learn and support them throughout their education. Taking the time to sit down with them and solve the problems together lets them know they aren’t alone and that it is okay not to know the answer right away.
One-on-one time is great for your child’s education and also their soft skills. By working together to troubleshoot and problem solve, they are working on 21st-century skills that will be beneficial to them in all areas of their lives.
Find Math in Art
There are left and right brained learners and it is key that, as parents and educators, we find ways to engage kids regardless. Finding math in the art can be a great way to introduce math to creative-minded individuals in a way that is less intimidating and more relatable. One great example of this is the Become a Human Calculator Coloring Book which introduces number patterns to your child through art.
Geometry, measuring distances, and fractions can all be found in art. By using art to facilitate math learning, kids can grow to have an appreciation for math even if it is not a subject they were originally interested in.
Help Kids Use Math Everyday
Using real-world examples in education has been proven to increase comprehension and retention. There are a lot of opportunities to add math into your kids’ daily life. This will not only help improve their math skills but also help them to see the importance of math.
One great example of this is when you are grocery shopping. When you are checking out, pose this question to your kid: Our groceries cost $24.50 and I am giving them $30. How much change will we get back? As your kids’ skills improve, you can start introducing more complex concepts to them and, eventually, they will begin doing this independently throughout their day.
Understand How They Approach Math Questions
When working through math problems with your kid, it can be helpful to slow down and ask them how they are approaching the problem and getting to their answer. If the answer is incorrect, this can be helpful in seeing where they are going wrong and help them correct this moving forward. If their answer is correct, this can still be a helpful exercise. Understanding the way they approach each problem can help parents and educators know how their brain works and allows you to more effectively help them move forward.
Daily Math Rituals and Routines
Finding ways to incorporate things you do with your kids daily that require math can be a great routine to set. This could be counting the number of different marshmallows in a bowl of Lucky Charms or counting backward from 100 before bed. By making this a ritual in your family’s daily life, they will begin doing it without even having to be asked. This will create a familiarity with math that will translate over to the classroom.
Math Kits & Gifts
If you are wanting to get your kid interested in math, bringing learning home is key. This can be done through math kits that are both educational and fun. STEM Sports® offers math-based lessons that are easy to implement at home, in the classroom, during camps, or in afterschool programs. The STEM Sports® All-Star Kit is a subscription model that delivers several STEM-related and sports-infused lessons over the course of 12 months. Each box includes science, technology, engineering, or math lessons that relate to sports. These are created in a way that kids can take control of their own learning and lead themselves through each lesson with little to no help from adults. This gives them the independence of doing the lessons when they want to and makes engaging in math an active and exciting experience.
How to Get Kids Interested in STEM Through Sports
Using sports as a facilitator of STEM education is a great way to engage kids regardless of their current interests. At STEM Sports®, we are committed to delivering quality STEM education to K-8 students. Each of our supplemental curricula connects a complex science, technology, engineering, and math concept to sports. By doing this, we are giving kids a real-world example to interact with and use to better comprehend the topic.
Each of our STEM Sports® lessons includes a section that shows possible jobs kids could have in the future that use this STEM skill. By doing this, we are giving kids a relatable idea of why what they are doing is important. Oftentimes, kids will ask, “why am I learning this?” We answer this question both through real-world application and by giving them guidance around a future career