Children and Mathematics – It’s all in how you play the game!

I just returned home from an inspiring presentation on children and mathematics.  It fits in perfectly with natural learning.  Our mentors talked about giving children the gift of playful mathematics.  I personally believe that we should set aside the workbooks until a child is around twelve years old – maybe longer.  There are studies that back this up which I will strive to find and add later on.  In the meantime, our math mentor, Mrs. Maxfield, concurred that “playing math” is a much more productive way to prepare your kids for “solving problems.”  In fact most games are doing exactly that; teaching your children to solve problems!

Here is a smattering of suggested games and books from our math mentors that you just might want to add to your collection!

Blink is a card game where the players try to match the color, count and design on the cards.  It can be made simpler for little ones by matching just one or the other.  It is crazy fun for all ages!

Q-bitz is another fun, fun, fun game.  The box says it is for children 8 and over, but I think younger children could have fun with it as well.  They don’t have to play by the rules to make colorful designs with the squares!

Next comes Tangoes and Nada.  Tangoes are like the tangrams we use to play as children, and Nada is a matching game with dice. Nada is made by Blue Orange.  These are the guys who brought us “Spot It.” They have a winning track record when it comes to family games.

Side note here:  While we as adults were listening to our instructor today, two little boys quietly took the tangrams and sneaked under the table to play.  Would they have done the same with a table full of math workbooks?

Now for some books:

The Sir Cumference series uses math concepts such as radius, area and circumference to tell stories that kids will gravitate to again and again.  There are several other books in this series that are equally fascinating.  Lockhead, the life of Fibonacci follows his discovery of the beautiful patterns in nature and Life of Fred series are child directed adventure stories where children figure out the answers to math questions that naturally come up in the story.  Life of Fred starts with an elementary series and goes up through high school mathematics.

Have fun playing math with your kids this week and check back next week for some more ideas!


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