As parents and educators, we all want our kids to succeed in school and in life. Teaching kids math can help set them up for success now and for the rest of their lives.
But let’s be honest — teaching kids math isn’t easy. It can be hard to know where to start, what resources to use, and how to keep your child engaged.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help. This ultimate guide will give you everything you need to teach your kids math, from tips and tricks to the best resources and games (including math apps like Mathpid). By the end of this guide, you’ll be a math teaching pro!
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Why Is It Important To Learn Math?
Math is one of the most important subjects for kids to learn. Not only does it help them excel in other subjects, but it also prepares them for future careers. In fact, many jobs these days require strong math skills.
Mth is like a secret code to understanding the world around us. It helps us make sense of everyday things like money, time, measurements, and even cooking. Knowing math means kids can budget their allowance, figure out when to be at the bus stop, and double a recipe to share with friends.
Math also makes us better problem solvers. It’s like a puzzle that helps us think logically and find solutions. Whether it’s a math problem at school or figuring out how to split a pizza evenly with friends, math gives kids the tools to tackle challenges confidently.
How to Teach Kids Math: 14 Tips for Parents & Educators
1. Use math apps to make learning fun
Let’s face it — most kids love playing on tablets and phones. As parents, we’re not always happy with the idea of our kids having screen time, but there are ways you can make that screen time very productive.
The best math apps can make it fun for your kids to master basic math skills while playing fun, engaging games.
Mathpid is a revolutionary AI-powered app that acts as a personal math tutor for kids.
This one-of-a-kind math app offers custom AI math tutoring for Pre-K to 9th grade students, helping them master everything from basic foundational math to advanced algebra.
With tailored learning pathways and bite-sized video lessons that automatically adapt to the user’s progress and skillset, Mathpid ensures the student truly grasps the topic before moving on and leveling up.
The content is aligned with the math curriculums of the United States, United Kingdom, India, and South Korea, so you can be sure your kid is getting the right help to perform their best in school.
What really sets Mathpid apart from other math apps is it offers real-time AI analysis, meaning a student can get instant feedback 24/7 on their math exercises and quizzes. It’s like having a math tutor available on demand.
The Math Camera feature also helps work through tricky problems, encouraging kids to practice similar problems to master concepts. The camera can actually read and understand the student’s handwriting and offer feedback on their handwritten math work.
Mathpid enables students to excel in mathematics, no matter where they begin, by offering an interactive approach, personalized learning, and a comprehensive curriculum.
2. Avoid discouraging your kid. Stay positive!
This is one of the most important tips that can be given to teachers and parents. If you discourage your child and doubt their capability to be competent in something, either through words or action, your child will have the same perception about themself, and this perception will greatly hinder their capability to learn mathematics and face challenges with head-on confidence in life.
Math can be tricky, and if kids start feeling like they can’t do it, it can really mess with their confidence and how they feel about the subject.
When kids get discouraged, they might start thinking they’re just not cut out for math. This kind of mindset can hold them back in the long run. But if we give them support and cheer them on, they’re more likely to believe they can get better with practice. That’s called having a growth mindset, and it’s a big deal for their math journey.
It is one of the integral steps to solve your kid’s math learning difficulty concern, that is, affirming them and giving them confidence and faith that they can learn. This will relieve their anxiety about mathematics learning.
3. Look for opportunities to problem-solve in everyday life
Math is all around us, and it’s a skill we use all throughout the day without realizing it. This gives you tons of opportunities for teaching kids math in a practical, engaging way.
For example, go grocery shopping with children. Ask your children to come up with the list of groceries needed for a trip and to help you calculate the cost as you pick items out at the store.
Or if your kids are younger and are just learning their numbers, you can have them read the numbers on speed limit signs while you’re driving from place to place.
Here’s a good list of ways to show your kids math in their daily lives.
The possibilities are truly endless.
4. Use open-ended questions
Asking open-ended questions to kids when teaching them math fosters critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. Instead of simply providing answers or seeking one-word responses, open-ended questions encourage children to engage actively with math and explore various avenues of thought.
When children are presented with questions that have multiple possible answers or require them to explain their reasoning, they are prompted to analyze and evaluate their thought processes. This not only strengthens their understanding of the mathematical concept but also sharpens their ability to think critically and make connections between different mathematical ideas.
Asking open-ended questions also encourages some creativity in math. By allowing children to explore different approaches to solving problems, these questions inspire them to think outside the box. This creative thinking is essential for developing innovative problem-solving skills, which can be applied not only in math but also in various real-life situations where creative solutions are needed.
5. Talk about math
Just chatting about math with kids in everyday situations is a fantastic way to help them get the hang of math without making it seem like a big, scary thing. When you talk about math in real-life situations, like when you’re shopping or cooking together, it shows them that math is useful and not just something you do at school.
One great thing about these everyday math talks is that they make kids think more about numbers and solving problems. So, when you’re figuring out how much money to spend at the store or measuring ingredients for a recipe, they start to see how math is super handy in everyday life. They get to practice making decisions based on numbers, which is an important skill.
Ask questions like:
- How many these would there be if I add x number more?
- What would be half or one-third of it?
- How would you predict this pattern and recurrence?
- What is the chance of happening of x?
- How can you make that more abstract?
- How would you split this one into an equal portion?
6. Frame moments to explore whatever math question interests them
Assessment and standardized syllabus & exercise are important aspects of learning, but the system does not and cannot cater to deep-seated curiosity residing within children, hence instructors and parents might feel they seem to take more time on application and grasping of concept and may come up with the new question as they begin to develop an interest in mathematics and abstraction.
To cater to your kids’ full math potential direct them to additional teachers or online math educators on social media so they may explore on their own.
Moreover, connect mathematics to objects your kid loves. Be it cars or animals, surround math-related concepts with that object to make abstraction more real and understandable for your kid.
7. Let your child teach you math
Having your kids try to teach you math concepts can make learning fun and it can help them better understand the concepts.
When you have to explain something to someone, then only you get to know how much you know versus how much you think you know. It helps in filling in the loopholes of understanding, clears confusion, and opens, new perspectives in that thought.
When stuck on a problem, explain to your kid you are also having difficulty in grasping your mind around this, and explain what you cannot understand and what you can.
This will increase the engagement of your children and he will take it as a challenge & problem to be solved rather than a passive form of learning.
8. Try an abacus
Introducing children to an abacus as a tool for learning math can be an incredibly effective and engaging way to help them grasp fundamental mathematical concepts. The abacus, with its tangible and visual representation of numbers, lays a strong foundation for mathematical understanding.
This is one of the coolest gadgets to give your kid, it has the coolest beads, and wire. It gives freedom for your kid to explore making it quite an interesting object to teach math to kids in a fun way. It familiarizes kids with the basic operations of mathematics such as multiplication, addition, subtraction, and division.
Unlike abstract symbols on paper or a computer screen, the abacus allows children to physically manipulate beads to represent numbers and perform calculations. This tactile interaction helps them develop a concrete understanding of counting, addition, subtraction, and even more complex operations as they progress.
9. Ask estimation questions
These sorts of questions are a great tool to help your kid in learning not just the basics of mathematics, but in helping them develop his problem-solving abstract capabilities through mathematical problems. If I say this is the reason we teach kids mathematics, that won’t be wrong. This tip would be helpful to both younger and older kids.
Estimation questions can be such as:
‘How much water do you think this pitcher could fill up?’ or ‘Let your child measure water after he takes a guess.
For older kids, time-bound math questions would be more challenging and fun for them.
Ask questions such as “How many minutes it would take for this bathtub to fill up”. After your kid finds out how much that took, you can ask them to take out the average per minute and ask questions related to water fillup in the bigger and smaller tub and containers, so that he learns to estimate the volume size and time it takes to fill up the liquid volume in containers.
It is necessary to show your kids how much-connected math is to the physical world around them, to spark their interest to seek & manipulate and influence the world around them.
10. Incorporate math in games
Kids need to learn and recognize a number in written form, and for that purpose, games are, by far, one of the most engaging ways to teach your kid mathematics.
Games help kids in the identification of numbers, as they associate math with objects and fun games and activities.
Hopscotch is an interesting option for indoor activity. Games like Yahtzee, and Monopoly will be more interesting options for older kids.
Try math apps, word problems, and math e-books.
They all are designed in a way to teach your kid mathematics in a non-traditional pen-and-paper approach, which kids find rather boring and less engaging.
11. Count in a variety of ways
Teaching children to count in various ways, such as forward, backward, and through skip counting, can be a great way to enhance their mathematical skills and overall number sense. Using diverse counting techniques not only makes math more engaging but also provides a deeper understanding of numbers and arithmetic.
Play outdoor games such as “Blastoff” in which the child counts backward and blastoff at 0. Start counting from a different number other than 1 such as 5, 7, etc.
Although these are simple activities, kids enjoy them a lot, and kinesthetic learning helps in better abstraction and memorization of concepts.
These various counting methods encourage critical thinking and mathematical flexibility. When children can count in different ways, they gain a deeper insight into how numbers work and can tackle a broader range of mathematical problems. It also encourages them to explore mathematical patterns, fostering an appreciation for the beauty and symmetry within mathematics.
12. Bake together
Cooking up some sweet treats with your child is not just about satisfying your sweet tooth—it’s also a tasty way to sneak in some math lessons! Baking together can be a fun math adventure where kids can learn by doing.
First off, there’s the concept of measuring — cups, tablespoons, teaspoons, and grams. That’s all math right there. Kids get to see fractions in action and learn how to be precise with their measurements, which is super handy for math and life in general.
Let your child get familiar with measurement and quantities. Once your kid learns and understands measurement, give them tasks like doing halves, double, or quarters of recipes.
And let’s not forget about time management. Setting timers, following a recipe’s steps in order, and understanding how different ingredients come together at different times—it’s all a math sequence!
The next time you’re baking cookies or whipping up some muffins, you’re not just making treats — you’re cooking up some math skills too.
13. Use imaginative play
Set up a real-life situation for a coffee shop, or restaurant. Use play money or real money and let them play different roles such as customer or shopkeeper etc.
Engaging in imaginative play is a fantastic way to teach children math concepts while fostering their creativity and social skills. These activities turn math into a fun and interactive adventure that can be applied to everyday situations.
For example, when children play shop, they naturally encounter a range of mathematical concepts. They become shopkeepers, customers, and cashiers, and in these roles, they practice counting money, making change, and understanding the value of different denominations. This hands-on experience with currency is a practical way for them to grasp basic arithmetic and build a strong foundation in financial literacy.
14. Play with perimeter and area
Measure and demonstrate perimeter and area when setting up a garden for instance. Illustration math using the real world is fun and engaging. You can use either standardized tools of measurement such as tape or non-standard tools such as measuring footsteps.
Major Reasons Your Child Might Be Struggling With Math
Math is a difficult subject for most kids, as it is cumulative and concepts are highly connected and build upon a few basics.
It is alright for your kid to feel overwhelmed by math — it happens to most kids at some point.
It is vital for you as a parent to identify your kid’s struggles and find solutions for them.
Math is a cumulative subject hence making sure which is why it’s so important to make sure your kid has a good foundation to build on. Your child may be struggling with a bunch of basic concepts despite making an effort to understand them. Try finding different ways to explain and make them understand or find such resources for them.
Some emotional responses you can look for in your child to figure out where your kid may be struggling:
- Frustration: A child may feel frustrated when they are struggling to understand a concept. This is perfectly natural, and it is important to help them through this frustration.
- Anxiety: A child may feel anxious when they don’t understand something in math and start to worry about their performance in the class. This can be very harmful, and it is important to address the anxiety and help the child.
- Helplessness: A child may feel helpless when they can’t seem to get math concepts. This is a sign that they need more help, and it is important to provide it for them.
- Despair: A child may feel despair if they feel like they will never understand math. This is a very harmful emotion, and it is important to address it immediately.
- Boredom: A child may feel bored when they are not being challenged in math. This is a sign that they are not being challenged, and it is important to find ways to challenge them.
Parent Strategies For Improving Their Kid’s Math
Below we have listed some strategies that help teach math to kids. These strategies are intended to increase your kid’s proficiency and grasp over the basic mathematical domain, upon which higher mathematical concepts are based.
- Give connect the dots exercises
- Ask your kid to collect pictures of his favorite animals and objects. Give them the task of making a number book, by pasting several pictures for chronological counting.
- Review math facts on the go and at home
- Count objects around the house
- Do verbal mental math exercises in your free time. Ask questions like “ Add six into 10, multiply it by four, subtract 7 from it and divide it by 3. You can always it difficult or easier based on your kid’s difficulty level
- Help your kid in the identification of percentage in newspapers, and magazines.
- Teach your kid nutritional tables and ask them to calculate grams and percentages per 2 servings etc.
- Fold a sheet of paper in half or quarter. Have your kid draw a shape and then cut it to create a more symmetrical shape.
- Find different shaped objects around the house and teach shapes to your kid through that.
- Identify angles in real-world and parallel lines
- Introduce a bunch of shapes and ask your kid to identify that shape while you are out.
- Teach your kid how to set a timer for cooking and baking and alarms.
- Frequently ask your kid time, ask them to write down the time in hours and minutes.
- Teach your kid sizes and length ( i.e measurement ) with relative comparison. Line up books, or boxes of different sizes. Ask questions like ‘which one is the largest book’ etc
- Similarly, teach your kid about weight, width, quantity, & differentiation of objects.
- Gather up objects like tape, yardstick, ruler, etc. DIscuss the usability of each object in terms of measurement.
- Talk about relevant measurements. For example how many inches are in a foot or how many cups are in a pint?
- Encourage the incorporation of mathematical terms in an everyday language such as halves, one-third, whole, etc.
Statistics, probability, graphing
- Look for coordinates on the map
- Have your kid watch the weather report, and give them tasks to note down the weather for each day. Ask them to construct weekly graphs for temperature.
- Use similar techniques for their favorite sports team and their scores & points.
- Give them the probabilistic tasks of what could happen, what could never happen, and things that will happen.
- Ask sharing and division questions about food and objects. For example, 9 children share 54 cards. How many each child would get.
- Ask your child to visit informative statistical sites such as the Census Bureau and have them write interesting bits of information they learned and what they learned with that piece of information.
A Final Word on Teaching Math to Kids
Teaching kids math can be very challenging, but it can also be super rewarding and beneficial.
When your kids learn math, they can get on the path to succeeding in school and getting a better job down the line.
Remember, learning should be fun. And you’re going to need a lot of patience. Every child is different, and with consistency, love, and time, everything will work out.
Have any of your own tips for teaching kids math? Share your thoughts by commenting below.