When my children were babies they loved to sit in the shopping cart and just marvel at the bright colors, shapes and smells at our local grocery store. That phase of wonderment can turn into a shopping nightmare as children age out of wanting to quietly gaze and absorb their surroundings. You can keep little kids and big ones from becoming frustrated bystanders in the produce aisle with these fun grocery store math activities. Turn your weekly grocery store trip into a math scavenger hunt!
From the produce department to the snack food aisle, there’s no shortage of way to engage your kids in math at the grocery store.
– In the produce aisle…
In “Toe tapping math” we were introduced to the notion that music is math. We can find math in intervals, measures, steps, beats and rhythms. In fact, music without math would probably just be noise. But what if we flip that around – is math music? What connects the two in our brains?
In an earlier post I recommended seeking out mathematicians you already know and finding people your children can be introduced to who use mathematics in their jobs. My Ace-in-the-Hole is Tracey Annable, owner a full service custom design, fabrication and installation company for home decor. Tracey is someone who is handy to have around, whether you are trying to figure out how to mitre a corner or help your kid work through a calculus problem.
My son’s preschool teacher joked that parents should procure LEGOs at any cost-even if it meant taking out a second mortgage-because those little bricks are like nothing else when it comes to helping kids to develop strong math skills. Recent studies bear out what that preschool teacher already knew – spatial skills can be an early predictor of creative potential in STEM fields, particularly in math.
Backyard treasure hunts were one of my favorite summer math activities when my kids were young. They’re pretty simple to carry out, but do require a bit of advance planning on your part, especially if you want to create clues geared to the interests and abilities specific to each child (like the daily Bedtime Math problems Wee Ones, Little Kids and Big Kids). A good treasure hunt leads to hours of engaging play not to mention early training in spatial skills and a lot of laughs.
Modern trading card games (TCGs) like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering create opportunities for practicing basic math skills along with building logic and strategy skills that lead to hours, sometimes years, of math fun in a peer-centered environment.
School testing in the early elementary years revealed that my son had profound strengths in math and spatial reasoning. As a writer, I was prepared to raise a budding wordsmith, but math? How could I nurture his gifts while, at the same time, camouflage my own math inadequacies?