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 trying 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 monkey’s 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 available. In addition to the physical, hands-on math toys we must not forget that we live in a technological age of smartphones 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.