How to Help Your Child Succeed in Math Playing Math Games
Playing games is such a fantastic way to help children master math facts and concepts. Reassured by our own experience teaching Math Games at both of our local homeschool co-ops, we strongly believe there’s no child who doesn’t benefit from this fun approach to learning, whether your child is confident with his numbers already, struggling with math concepts, or anywhere in between. Playing math games is the best way to reinforce lessons, memorize facts and cement knowledge and understanding. Guaranteed!
The sole mention of “let’s-play-a-game” is enough to melt any child’s resistance away and to conjure a winning attitude, so by all means, let’s use that to their own advantage. If you can make it a habit to play games at least once a week, you’ll discover a child who not only knows her facts really well, but one who’s confident in her intellectual abilities as well. And what can be better than a child who believes in her own capabilities?
Here’s what you need to ensure your child gets the most out of the math games:
- Make sure the child has a basic understanding of the concept to be emphasized through the game. Otherwise, the child will feel bored, or frustrated, or incompetent, which could cause more harm than good. Surely, if you’re ready to play a game, you’ve already introduced the lesson beforehand, but if you haven’t just yet, read him a story about it (there are a myriad of splendid living math books kids love), or make up your own explanation. Even the briefest of explanations would sometimes be enough to get started.
- Be patient, if the child does not get it at first, play a different game. Don’t ever rush him or make him feel like he just doesn’t get it. Children “get it” at different paces, he will do so when he’s ready.
- Set the tone. Let the child know the intent is to have fun, to spend a good time together as a family. Let that be the primary objective, and the rest will come. If the child feels comfortable, she will feel more inclined to play or to ask questions until she feels sure she’s mastering the concept. If she’s excited and happy about the game, the chances of mastering the concept are certain, if may take a few (or more) rounds, but it will happen.
- Encourage creativity. Let the child make up his own rules and inventions –you’ll be amazed at what he can create.
- Let her win as often as possible. I’m sure you already do this, which parent doesn’t? Nothing feels sweeter for a child than to beat mom or dad. It makes her feel capable and important. “I can’t believe what a terrible memory you have!” –Super Hero always tells me. He’ll realize soon enough that my memory might not have been that terrible after all. In the meantime, I’m happy to indulge.
“Play is the ultimate form of research”
–One of Albert Einstein’s favorite quotes of mine, with which I wholeheartedly agree. Take Sam (name changed for privacy), for example, a once very-reluctant 9 year-old, unwilling to even add 2+2. After a few classes, he approached me asking for more “multiples games ‘cuz they’re fun”. “Of course I can” -I said delighted with the request. Thanks to the games, Sam’s attitude toward Math has transformed, and more importantly, his belief in his own abilities have taken a giant leap forward. Now that’s what I call a winning game!
To get ideas about math games, check our youtube channel