10 Ways to
Improve Your Child's Math Skills

Play
cards and board games with your child.
Simple games such as Go Fish and Crazy 8’s are a great way for
young children to learn the value of numbers. More advanced
games such as cribbage and Monopoly are excellent mental math
motivational tools.

Count
change with your child and have him or her use money in
reallife situations.
Use nickels and dimes to have children count by increments of 5
and 10. For older children, have them play “cashier” and count
back change to you after you “purchase” an item.

Play
number guessing games.
Here is an example: I am thinking of a number between 1 and 100.
It is more than 50. It is an even number. It is the product of 8
times 9.

Cook
and read recipes with your child.
Baking cookies is a fun way for children to practice their
fractions by using measuring cups and spoons. For older kids,
teach fraction equivalency, i.e., How many fourths does it take
to make onehalf?

Take
your child shopping and point out sales wherever percentages are
used.
Explain to older children how to calculate the price of
something marked 50% or 10% off. This also provides an excellent
opportunity to teach rounding.

Use
your newspaper to find graphs and statistics.
Discuss how to read and interpret a graph, and point out the
different kids: line graph, pie chart, bar chart, histogram,
etc.

Have
your child assist you in crafts such as woodworking or sewing.
Use various measuring tools to show your child how to properly
measure an item to the nearest inch. Measurement is the
mathematical area in which children tend to be least proficient
on standardized tests. Have older children find the area and
perimeter of an object.

Fill
a jar with jellybeans and have your child estimate how many
there are.
After their initial estimate, take out 10 and allow them to
amend their guess. When you count the actual number, show your
child how to count in increments of two.

Pretend to shop using an advertisement.
Given them 50 “pretend dollars” and have them pick out the
things they want to buy and figure out how much money they would
have left over. Hint: A toy ad is especially motivating for
young children.

Use dice
to do mental addition and teach probability.
Ask your child, “Am I more likely to roll a 7 or a 12?” For a
challenge, use more than two dice. You can list all of the
possible combinations on a piece of paper.
As you try these activities with your child, remember
to be positive, patient and encouraging. You want your child to
understand that math is both fun and useful. This understanding will
provide a firm foundation of mathematical confidence and
proficiency.
 Jenny K. Nordman
