Spring has arrived (for many parts of the United States after this miserable winter… finally!), and a favorite activity for families at this time of year is a trip to the park. This offers kids in younger grades a chance to play and enjoy the outdoors without worrying about school or homework. Yet, savvy parents can find a way to introduce multiplication games into their kids’ outdoor fun time.
Understandably, children need play time, and your main focus at the park should be to ensure that they safely get that play time. However, sneaking multiplication games or math activities into their everyday routines can be worthwhile. Kids can still have fun while applying their math skills to their lives outside of school. In fact, some online math tutoring programs have incorporated this idea into their curricula. And as a parent, you can add this fun into a sunny day at the park. Here are five multiplication games to introduce to your children the next time you are at the playground:
Doctors recommend that children playing in the afternoon sun wear sunscreen and that bottle of lotion offers a chance for some multiplication games as you apply this protection to your kids’ skin. See how many ounces of lotion the bottle holds and how much you ideally want to apply to each person, and then come up with some questions. For example, if you have a 6-ounce container of sunblock, and each kid needs one ounce of lotion applied, how many kids will be protected with three containers? Ask these questions as you are applying—it will distract your antsy kids from the fact they must wait a minute before going to play.
Time your child on how often they go back and forth on a swing in a minute. Then ask how many times he will swing in 10 minutes based on your results. Perhaps challenge them to determine about how long it will take to swing 100 times or ask if swinging higher will reduce or increase the number.
Monkey bar multiples
Have your child count how many rungs there are on the monkey bars as she climbs across. Afterward, challenge her to cross five more times and tell you the total number of bars she touched. Instruct her to drop off halfway across each time and give you the result. Ask her how many crossings it will take to touch 50 bars.
If you bring buckets or other sand toys to the park, you can create multiplication games as well as improve your child’s measuring skills. How many shovels of sand will it take to fill up a pail? If you want to build a castle with three sand towers on each side, how many towers will you need to build? Bring an empty water bottle of which you know the volume (e.g., 12 ounces), and challenge your child to estimate how much water will be needed to fill the moat around the castle.
Have your child estimate how long his or her favorite slide is, or bring a tape measurer to determine an exact distance. Then, instruct your kids to keep track of how many times they go down the slide and how far they have slid.
They recite the multiplication tables at the end of your time at the park, or they can skip count along the way. If they get to more than 100 feet, it was a really big slide, or they had a truly fun day at the park!
What multiplication games do your children enjoy?