Everyday Math for Kids
by Linda Kwok
During my research to help people “better money," I find one of the biggest impediments to better managing finances is that people feel they are not good at math. In our family, we play math games throughout the day and make it a game. We used everyday objects to discuss math concepts and invite hands-on work. Here are a few ways you can bring math into your everyday life and make it fun!
Use everyday items to help learn math. We are sitting down for breakfast and Mommy made 12 pieces of bacon. There are four of us, how many pieces of bacon does each person get? What if we had ten? Using manipulatives often makes math more concrete and relatable for kids. A pizza has eight slices and you have three friends here on a playdate and sharing the pizza. How many slices does each person get? Pizzas are great for teaching fractions, thanks to those perfect eight slices! One quarter, two slices.
When you cook or bake with kids, have them do the math for you. Got a recipe to make six servings of cupcake but you only need three? Have the kids halve the recipe. What’s half of one tablespoon of baking soda? One tablespoon is three teaspoon so that will make it 1.5 teaspoons. What’s half of a pint? That’s a tough one. There are free unit conversion apps you can use such as Unit Converter.
When you take the kids shopping, give them a budget and help them stick to it. Taking your kids back to school shopping, tell them they can get $100 worth of clothes. Ok, this shirt is $9.99, these pants are $12.99, these shoes are $29.99. If I get this I have to put something back. When they are older, and shopping for taxable items such as toys, tell them to add tax too to make it extra challenging!
As the kids get older, open bank accounts for them. Grandma gave you $100 for your birthday. We are going to save that for college. Next month when we get the statement, wow, you have more than $100. How did that happen? Kids may not be able to do interest calculation on their own, but teaching the concept of interest and compounding interest is a lot more fun when it’s their own money!
Linda is a local Mom and a recovering finance professional. Any other cool ideas you have at home, please share with Linda by emailing her at lindaWkwok@nullgmail.com and join her “Better Money Community” on Facebook to chat with other parents about how to Better Money! She’s also developing curriculum to teach elementary through high school children about money.