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Raising Kids Who Love Math

raising kids who love math

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. This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.

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!

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

25 thoughts on “Raising Kids Who Love Math”

  1. Happy Pi Day!! Math has always had a special place in my heart. So far, it’s looking like J appreciates it too. I’ve learned that making it a part of everyday conversation (and not formal lessons) has made it more fun and approachable.

    My mom too helped raise kids who appreciate math. I was on my own at home after geometry and algebra 2, but I always had supportive math teachers willing to help if I had a question.

    1. Happy Pi Day! I had a couple of very helpful math teachers, and one classmate who was always incredibly patient and helpful. I appreciate all of them!

  2. Happy Pi Day!! I am an engineer, so loving Math comes with the territory!! My two boys seem to love it so far. I agree with Jessica, it really helps to make math a part of everyday life and conversation, because it is.
    But thanks for reminding me about nature. I will have to start doing more of it!

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    Yay math and pi! My dad went to a university whose fight song was:

    e to the x, dy/dx
    e to the x, dx
    cosine, secant, tangent, sine
    three point one four one five nine
    square root, cube root, log of pi
    dis-integrate them, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

    So, yeah, I think I’ve always loved math. :)

  4. I love how you play with math! I wish we had people like you developing our math curricula. We would have more children (and adults) interested in learning math. We linked up a few of our math ideas. Thank you for sharing

  5. We have a similar toy like your picture! I think it’s a Melissa and Doug toy where you put these cool geometric shapes to form photos. I totally agree that Math isn’t just adding and subtracting, but the reasoning and theories behind them.

  6. It is so evident that your Mom instilled such a love for Math in you. I love how you find everyday, fun activities to instill that love in your own children.

  7. I love this post. I think that we transfer so much of ourselves to our children while raising them and our own positive attitude will help them try harder at difficult things in math in particular and in life in general.

  8. It was so interesting to read about your mom – math lectures for fun – math problems to relax! I have to admit that I never really enjoyed math but I am really loving re-exploring the basics with my kids. It is so much fun to watch them explore math manipulatives and see the connections they make.

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