Using Math in Everyday Life
You and I both know that we use math in everyday life, whether we realize it or not. Math provides us a scaffold on which we can order much of our lives. Teaching a child using real life math scenarios makes learning the math lessons more meaningful . . . and fun!
Here are a list of ways we can incorporate math in daily life activities for our children, most with very little effort on our part.
For the littlest ones:
- Use math language and vocabulary in your conversations or during playtimes. Call the shaped blocks by their mathematical names, such as cubes, cylinders, triangles, and spheres. Ask your child to sort into color groups, according to size, count as she stacks her blocks. These tricks can be done with many toys other than blocks of course.
- Practice identifying “heavier” and “lighter.” Use a scale to weigh toys or a balance to compare the weight of toys or snacks.
- Begin with number identification through the use of digits, ten frames, Roman numerals and tally marks.
For older learners:
- Road trips provide loads of opportunities for real world math problems. Ask your fourth grader to calculate the mileage from one point to another.
- Assign your kids to track their spending/giving/saving (while on a trip or for some duration of time in daily life) by keeping a child-friendly ledger.
- Have your child track time spent playing a game, reading, or watching a movie. Provide an analog clock or watch for her to use. This could be used to earn a reward or to begin practicing healthy limits for themselves.
- Make a meal menu and determine how much of each dish you’ll need for the entire family. Find good recipes and make a shopping list.
- Practice cooking simple recipes, paying attention to oven temperature, measurements, cooking times, etc. Sample your goodies when you’re done.
- Have your child add up the cost of your groceries as you put them in the shopping cart. She gets a prize if her total is within a $5 range of the final total upon paying for your groceries.
- Have your child measure with a measuring tape, a yard stick, or a carpenter’s square. Teach them how to use a chalk line and plumb line.
For many of us, using real world math concepts has become second nature and we forget the basic steps we used to learn them when we were little. Once you begin watching for math in everyday life, it’s easy to see.
Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.oaksreplanted.blogspot.com.