Happy Pi Day! To celebrate this fabulous number, I have decided to share some of my favorite ways to raise kids who love math. Many of them are from my own childhood – my mother taught math before leaving her career behind to raise ten children, and she has spent hours tutoring both her own children and their classmates. She also raised ten children who all appreciate math on some level – one of them so much that he is currently getting a Ph.D. in statistics. I have included links to a few math manipulatives that we love – these are affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using them I may earn a small commission. Thank you for supporting this blog!
Raising Kids Who Love Math
The secret to my mom’s success is that she sees math as much more than numbers on a page. She probably loves math at least as much as my statistician brother. She listens to math lectures for fun, takes math classes for fun, and does math problems to relax. But you don’t have to love math the way my mom did to raise kids who appreciate it – and enjoy it! Here are some fun ways to enjoy math with your family – some of them may surprise you!
- Get creative. Math is all about looking at things creatively – from every angle, including those you haven’t thought of before. Creative activities are also a great way to learn that you need to make mistakes in order to learn and make new discoveries – a critical lesson if you are going to learn to love math.
- Get out in nature. Nature has a natural order to it – you can, for example, find the Fibonacci sequence in pine cones, tree branchings, and pineapple. Spending time in nature is also a great way to get kids thinking reflectively.
- Play math games. Use pattern blocks to create beautiful wall mosaics, and explore perimeter and area with cuisenaire rods. Young children can learn a lot of math simply by playing with math manipulatives! We love these bear family counters and these people plus pet cat counters. Fill a container with marbles or jelly beans and guess how many are inside. Count out 100 of different objects.
- Don’t worry about your own limitations. There were plenty of times growing up when I would bring home math that my mom hadn’t learned or couldn’t remember – especially during my last two years of high school. She was always interested in learning more about it – and I think her interest helped me keep working at understanding more challenging concepts. When it comes to children learning, I think parental attitude is always more important than parental knowledge.
What are your favorite ways of getting kids interested in math? You can find many of my favorite ideas on my Math Is Fun Pinterest board, but my all-time favorite is this mind-boggling statistics experiment!