You know that our favorite way to make math fun is to cuddle and snuggle while sharing a math problem with our little ones at the end of the day, but as part of last week’s book launch celebration, we chatted with parents on Twitter via The Maker Mom’s #STEMchat about other ways to playfully engage youngsters in math.
Chat participants noted the many ways math is a part of everyday life- it’s in the kitchen when we bake and the bathroom when we brush our teeth for two minutes (or try to).
Math is in baseball when we look at batting averages or even simply count strikes and balls or keep score. Numbers are all over the grocery store; we couldn’t comparison shop without math.
The parents in the chat largely felt that young children, those not yet in elementary school, generally like basic math and counting eagerly take on math challenges. We agree, of course. The parents also expressed that setting a positive tone for math was important. They also believed that giving preschoolers exposure to numbers and math concepts in the course of daily life built their kids’ confidence and better prepared them for school.
Here are a few of the kid-tested, parent-approved resources shared during the chat:
The Grapes of Math by Greg Tang is filled with rhyming math riddles based on colorful illustrations, in addition to basic math operations, the book provides opportunities for pattern recognition and problem solving.
Another popular book mention was Sir Cumference and the First Round Table (A Math Adventure) by Cindy Neuschwander, a fun story that introduces several common geometric shapes.
They Might be Giants Here Come the 123s. Perfect music for zipping around town in the car, as background music or for full-on family dance party, TMBG provides memorably silly songs about numbers.
Some of the chat participants have already enjoyed the ultimate math field trip on visits to the Museum of Math in New York City. Known to friends as MoMath, this museum of numbers, patterns, shapes and math concepts, opened in 2012. If a trip to NYC isn’t in the cards, check to see if the colorful Math Midway, a travelling exhibit, is headed to your area. And if that isn’t an option, maybe a virtual field trip to a website like Math Playground, another parent-recommended resource, will suffice.
These are just a few of the great ideas mentioned that came up last week. We’ll continue to highlight useful and fun resources, activities and ideas from the chat and everywhere else we find them in the months ahead.