Ah, math. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? While there are a rare few that enjoy math and grow up to be accountants or financial advisers, the majority of people avoid it whenever they can. Getting children to enjoy math can be a task, but it’s not impossible. The first key is to start early. The second key is to make it a fun experience, more like a game than a chore. Children tend to learn quicker and easier when they are not bored. Using games and toys as teaching aides trick a child into forgetting that they are actually learning, as stated in the teaching techniques and strategies page at WGU. Another tip to remember when teaching a child something new is try to make it sound as positive and fun as possible. Children pick up on our feelings. If we go into a task feeling grumpy and frustrated, then they may learn to exhibit the same reactions before they have even tried. Teaching through the use of games is a great way to teach the child, as well as a more enjoyable experience for us, the teachers. These days there are quite a lot of toys and games on the market that can help inspire a child, and make learning math a fun experience. Here are nine toys for getting your child interested in math. They are listed in order, beginning with babies and working up to school age children.
Wonderworld 1-5 Stacker – A wooden stacking toy that teaches early math concepts, for babies and toddlers.
Smart Snacks Counting Cookies – Cookies that have a number on one side with the same amount of chocolate chips on the other.
Melissa and Doug Hands Counting Peg Puzzle – This wooden puzzle is actually a multi-purpose teaching tool. With the numbered fingers, it not only teaches a child counting skills, but it also teaches colors, and the left hand from the right hand.
Learning Mates Monkey Math – The child must balance numbered bananas on the monkeys arms by adding the numbers on one side and placing the correct answer on the other.
ThinkFun Math Dice Jr. – A dice game designed for children five years old and up. It teaches both addition and subtraction skills.
Learning Resources Sum Swamp Game – An addition and subtraction game for ages five and up. Kids must add and subtract their way around the board to get out of the swamp.
Math Slam – An electronic math game for ages five and up. Fast paced game for challenging counting skills. The child guesses the right answer and then gets the joy of slamming the corresponding button.
Educational Insights Math Wiz – This electronic calculator style game is an updated version, similar to The Little Professor. It teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and math solving skills.
Equate: The Equation Thinking game – A mathematical version of scrabble. This one can be enjoyed by the math learner, as well as the whole family.
These toys are just a handful of the many that are are available. In addition to the physical, hands-on math toys we must not forget that we live in a technological age of smart phones and tablets. While we don’t always want our children spending too much time on these devices, they are a good teaching tool that can make learning fun. There are a plethora of applications available on the market that teach young children through the enjoyment of games. An NBCNEWS article, ‘Great apps to get your kindergartner ready for school‘, discusses a list of educational games and apps which can get you started.