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From PBS Parents, how to get those math skills bubbling over the summer, even on lengthy car trips. Summer reading camps and story times at the library do a great job of nurturing literacy skills, but figuring out ways to prepare a child for math? What’s a parent to do?
In fact, according to PBS Parents, you are the exact person to help your child on the path to math. Karen Tuohy, mom of two and elementary school teacher, says “Parents are their child’s first teacher, and all parents have the ability to teach their children. Everyday activities can turn into math lessons.”
Some Easy Tips
- View road trips as a mobile classroom — “Are we there yet?” can be turned into a learning opportunity: create paper tickets for each trip and share how many tickets long a trip will be. Collect one ticket at even intervals from your child. This is a fun exercise that gives a kid a tangible and visible way to understand distance and time. Use different colors, and your child can practice patterns and learn early addition problems as well as get an introduction to fractions.
- Use everyday errands as learning opportunities — an Ohio teacher, Laura Burns, says the grocery store is her favorite place to teach her children math skills. “We review numbers while we choose groceries, for example, adding the number of apples, looking at prices to reinforce decimals, and even doing simple number recognition while standing in line.”
- Transform routine chores into fun lessons — Preschoolers often don’t need motivation to be a good helper. A mom in Virginia, Pam Booker, tells a laundromat story: “Together we sorted colors, whites and darks, found empty machines, filled them with our clothes, measured capfuls of laundry detergent and inserted the appropriate numbers of coins.” Measuring, sorting, counting: a natural math lesson.
- Turn children’s collections into math lessons — since children love to gather and collect, especially at the park, beach, forest and even in the backyard, encourage them to sort by color, size, texture or shape. Tuohy suggests that a child could do a scavenger hunt where he has to find a specific number of leaves, rocks, sticks, etc. This kind of activity actively engages your child in a real experience, based on his specific interests.
- Follow your child’s interests to guide learning — no two children are alike; boys and girls, jocks and artists, nose in a book or hands-on types. A kid who is visual and likes gardens might measure and track a plant’s growth. Watching sports, a child could recognize numbers on jerseys, or use addition to process a score. Taking a walk is a great opportunity to observe nature and analyze patterns and frequency. One kid might split M&Ms between three siblings. Counting down to summer birthdays involves subtracting and can even get into fractions.
For the complete article, visit http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/mat h/math-tips-for-parents/summer-math/
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