Does your child love math? Hate it? Tolerate it? Have no opinion? Whether he or she falls on the math appreciation range, any math ideas that differ from the routine at school will most likely be a welcome change of pace.
Cool math ideas for kids can go beyond the worksheets and testing they experience and enjoy, accept, or dislike. Innovative online tutoring programs can shake up their learning, and parents also can introduce activities that incorporate math but don’t feel like school. Here are four ideas that definitely qualify as cool math for kids:
1. How far?
This activity will challenge your child to measure anything and everything’s length, height, or distance. Some ideas include:
- Roll a Hot Wheels car and measure how far it traveled. Try it with different cars to see which went the farthest. Roll three different cars and add the results. Encourage your kids to keep track of the results and come up with averages.
- Measure a sidewalk square in front of your home, and then direct your child to ride her scooter or bike a certain number of squares and figure out how far she traveled. Or, flip the math around by telling her to ride 200 feet and determine how many squares she must traverse.
- Have your child trace his hand on a piece of paper several times and cut out the drawings. Then, use the hands as a way to measure. For example, your child might discover his little sister is 8 hands long. Encourage estimation before the actual measurement.
2. Math exercise
Some kids, particularly boys, are more apt to practice an educational concept if there is a physical activity involved in it. Therefore, incorporating math into exercise—any exercise—can be beneficial for the mind and body. How many baskets can your child shoot in a minute (and based on those results, how many would she make in 10 minutes)? How fast can a kid run around the block, or how far can he get in 30 seconds? How many strokes are needed to swim across the pool twice? The possibilities are endless, and if you participate with your kids, you will get some exercise, too.
3. Hop counting
Think of this as skip counting meets hopscotch. Use sidewalk chalk to create a series of numbers (for example, in multiples of 5) spread apart, throw a bean bag to a number, and direct your child to skip count up to or from that number. This can be adapted to an indoor activity with a wide open floor (especially one with tiles) and colored tape instead of chalk to make numbers.
4. The Price Is Right
Rarely are children encouraged to watch daytime TV to help their education, but “The Price Is Right” is actually a wonderful outlet for cool math for kids, especially ones who love games. Record an episode on your DVR, and watch it with your children. Viewers love playing along with the pricing games; your kids will too, so pause the show often so they can make guesses and do some math. For example:
- On Plinko, pause after every chip to keep a running total of money won.
- On the Big Wheel, encourage your kids to figure out the odds of beating the previous player’s result after each spin.
- On the Showcase Showdown, pause as soon as the final cost of the showcase is revealed, and have your child figure out how much over or under the contestant is before you unpause for the answer.
What cool math ideas for kids have you tried in your home?