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Teach Children Math the Fun Way

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Mention the words "math" and "fun" in one breath and you might prompt a few raised eyebrows from those around you. But the truth remains that math actually can be fun. All the same, a negative view of math tends to prevail in America; even in the latest flurry over STEAM-based learning initiatives. For one thing, too many parents' own experiences with math were less than stellar. Similarly, teachers may feel anxious about motivating youngsters in their classrooms if they aren't already huge math fans themselves. What to do? Don't worry. Here are a few ways you can help children (and yourself) see math as a fun experience right from the start.

4 Ideas to Make Learning Math Fun

teaching children math

Mention the words "math" and "fun" in one breath and you might prompt a few raised eyebrows from a few of your students.

But learning math can actually be fun!

Many individuals hold a negative view of learning math, even with the latest focus on STEAM-based learning initiatives.

Parents who may not have had positive experiences learning math bring their past experiences and attitudes into discussions with students, while teachers may feel anxious about motivating youngsters in their classrooms if they aren't already huge math fans themselves.

So what is there to do?

Here are a few ways you can help children--and yourself--see math as a fun experience, right from the start.

Engaging Math Students with Digital Games

Big Brainz, 3D graphics, gamification, game-based learning

Current research suggests that students are more engaged and motivated when learning using game-based techniques and tools. And students who are engaged in their learning tend to experience academic success in school.

For example, in a math-focused, game-based program, students can have repeated experiences associating fun--from beating levels to overcoming challenges in the game--with learning math. 

What may look like a simple "fun factor" can actually help students enjoy learning, changing attitudes about the topic at hand.

Specialists, from curriculum designers to brain scientists, see game-based learning as a big piece of the educational pie when it comes to math and other subjects.

In an increasingly technological era, future innovations will depend on students learning and loving math.

Read More: The Truth About Game-Based Learning Software

There are a plethora of engaging digital math games that get students excited about learning math.

Imagine Math PreK–2 introduces young learners to engaging characters, memorable songs, and real-world math problems that students love to help solve. When students learn at an early age that learning math is fun, they carry that perspective with them into future educational opportunities.

Addition, Big Brainz, 3D graphics, math fun, math facts

And students love working to master their math facts, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, in the game-based program Imagine Math Facts --a great example of a fun and challenging math game that kids love.

Students are engaged with the 3D graphics, ongoing challenges, and immersive gamelike experience.

Educators love that their students master Math fact automaticity in less time than traditional methods.

Class Board Games Make Learning Math Fun

Math games, Big Brainz, make math fun for kids, teach math

Many non-digital games can also promote math skills. 

For example, researchers from the University of Maryland and Carnegie Mellon give Chutes and Ladders, the classic board game, a big stamp of approval for helping Pre-K students improve math skills.

Pinterest and other similar sites offer free math-based activities.

Don't forget to try some of these fun math games  at home! They might just become new favorites.

Show Students the 'Why' of Math

real math, piggy bank, kids finance, Imagine Learning

Think students should wait until they're older for lessons on basic finance?

Not so!

Even young children can learn to sort a few coins and contribute to the budget. Older children can help locate prices for grocery items and be involved in tallying simple sums.

Go ahead--let them run that lemonade stand and learn a little math at the same time.

Encourage even little ones to help plan the amount of food they'll need at an upcoming birthday party.

When students understand that math isn't just theoretical, they automatically feel more interested in math as a learning activity.

Read More: Fun and Effective Game-Based Learning

Read Fun Stories About Math

Books about math, preschool math, reading and math, Big Brainz, Imagine Learning

Think that reading and math are separate skills?

Not necessarily.

Why not naturally combine the subjects by reading stories involving math?

The following list is only a starting point:

Reward Accomplishment

math games, Monopoly, math rewards, games

Young children learning to distinguish visual patterns are learning math. The same goes for activities on sequence--think building a tower of blocks--or sorting.

No matter the activity, you can reward even small accomplishments and help children know that they just completed a fun math-related task with something as simple as a sticker or a small treat.

Math is a skill that takes some time and patience to master.

But when children associate learning foundational math skills with play, they'll carry those pleasurable feelings forward--enjoying future mathematical challenges instead of fearing them.


Read More: Real World Math: 6 Everyday Examples