Engaging children in math should be fun!
In case you were wondering what the wooden box set is – that’s our Number Battle game set!
It is the gamified version of the worksheet on the left. Over at PlayFACTO School, we use a variety of strategies that turn your common worksheets into games! The above is just one of the 139 games that we use to help children learn math!
Math is very similar to Languages. The more you use it, the better you get at it. In fact, there are 4 ways that we help young children aged 3 to 10 “use” math through play!
Here are 4 ways you can make math fun at home too!
Children are never bored when it comes to storytelling. A good story with elements of fun never fails to engage their attention. Parents can and should learn to turn information in a story. Stories, according to scientists help us remember tons of information quickly! Moral values can also be taught through classic fables as told by Aesop.
For PlayFACTO Kids programme for children 3 to 6 of age, we kick-start lessons with stories. With more than 140 stories to engage your child, learning math becomes engaging instantaneously. Every story comes with its own props to bring them to life!
At home, why not try making props for your child’s favourite stories instead of buying toys? If you create road tracks leading to a car park, like the one shown in the video, you can teach children math concepts like number bonds.
See the video below as our star teacher teaches 4-year-old children the concept of number bonds.
2. Use Multiple Senses
Research shows that learning as a sensorial experience and with multiple senses, learning is a breeze. In brain science, this means more connections and associations made that are tied to a single concept. With more connections, they recall faster, feel more confident and are willing to undertake more challenging concepts.
At our PlayFACTO Math programme for children 6 to 10, children engage through the use of stickers, cards, manipulatives and discussion to acquire complex math concepts. Using our Cube Tower manipulative, children as young as 6 find joy in learning math concepts such as geometry, area and volume! (these are concepts that are taught in Primary 3 & 4)
At home, why not try out a simple baking activity?
- By getting them to measure the weight of flour and milk, they learn weights and proportions.
- By whisking eggs, they learn the science behind how protein molecules are broken up allowing air to enter forming bubbles. Check out this article on the science behind whisking eggs.
- By reading from a menu, your child learns about procedures and verbs such as pour, mix, whisk, chop, divide, drape, glaze, mince, puree, sauté, simmer, etc J you get the point.
In an article by Stanford University, the writer shared the concept of collective intelligence; in that humans’ brains function best in networks or groups (virtually or physically). In games, children are free to express and interact – allowing them to learn naturally. This ease of which learning happens makes games ‘architectures for engagement’
Games promote collective intelligence. In games, children are free to express new ideas and interact to confirm the feasibility of their hypothesis. Such high levels of learning are happening very naturally when children play games, making them great architectures for engagement.
Cognitively, games promote more than just math concepts; they promote the joy of learning math. In the following video, our children are playing a number game in pairs. Notice how thoroughly engaged they are in their learning and not staring out of the window. We also see them having fun. Amidst the fun, they are learning number concepts such as composing and decomposing.
At home, why not try out simple math games:
- Snakes and Ladders
According to Confucius: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
What Confucius said is true.
Only after completing an activity, can a child thoroughly understand and express their thoughts clearly. Similarly, reflection should be done after an activity so that they have concrete experiences to talk about. One key benefit of reflecting after an activity encourages insight and complex learning.
For our PlayFACTO Math programmes, time is set-aside for children to reflect on their learning after math games. When they review this segment, they are able to consolidate their learning of the math concepts, strategies and create new rules for the game. By reflecting on the gameplay and concepts learnt, they are able to retain information for a longer period of time.
Asking questions is a good tool to help your little one reflect. During the course of our Math enrichment, we ask questions like:
- What did you learn today? How did it help you during the gameplay?
- How did you feel? Why do you think you felt this way?
- Who did well in this round? Why? What did they do right? Could you have done it?
If you do have pockets of time, why not try these strategies out today?
About PlayFACTO School
At PlayFACTO School, our commitment to learning engagement extends beyond our research-based curriculum, intentionally designed learning spaces and best-in-class facilitators of knowledge. Our unique PlayFACTO School experience is based on our philosophy “Engage, Play, Learn”. We believe in helping every child realize their full potential through meaningful engagement and providing a fun and holistic learning experience.
About Positive Education
Positive Education is an approach to education that blends academic learning with character & well being. Preparing students with life skills such as grit, optimism, resilience, growth mindset, engagement, and mindfulness amongst others. Positive education is based on the science of well being and happiness.
Dr Martin Seligman, Director of Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, developed this framework.