Friday 2 October 2015

Making Math Fun

I love to find new and fun ways to make math fun for my children and here are some great tips and ideas! 

How Coloring With Your Toddler Can Teach Them Geometry and Logical Thinking
In spite of all the modern conveniences we enjoy, parenting is as difficult as it’s ever been. When once there were too few resources to help new parents shape and mold their child’s cognitive and linguistic abilities, it seems these days there is an over abundance of programs, books, guides, and strategies all devoted to ensuring your little tyke’s early development is as rich and as varied as possible. It goes without saying that this saturation of resources can intimidate even the best of us.
Granted, if you can find a quality program, elementary students can really benefit from additional math or science support outside of the classroom – but what can you do at home to introduce your toddler to the world of geometry and logic?Relax, we’re not talking about quadratic equations or philosophical paradoxes – but would it surprise you to learn you could boost your child’s knowledge of geometry and critical thinking simply by sitting down and coloring with them?
Sneaking in Some Learning
Like many parents, you probably try and sneak in learning whenever and wherever you can – so why not get it done during an activity that all kids enjoy? There are tons of great sites that offer printable geometric coloring pages, and come in a variety of different levels of difficulty. 
Start by introducing them to some of the simpler shapes like triangles, squares, rectangles, and octagons.
These two-dimensional shapes may not look the part, but they do offer a chance to teach your child about polygons, which are two-dimensional shapes, constructed using straight lines and equal angles. 
As they progress, you can move on to three-dimensional shapes like cubes – and teach them about the concepts of volume and surface area.
Eventually, you can help your child take on something a little bit more challenging, like simple shapes filled with ornate designs that resemble a Faberge egg or a stained glass window. 
Printable Puzzles
Printable puzzles take learning to a whole new level. The ones that I’ve printed feature a set of clues as to which shapes should be colored a specific color. While they ultimately won’t create masterful pieces of art, kids who try them seem to enjoy the challenge of working through which shape of the puzzle should be colored blue, red, green, etc. 
It should be noted that these types of activities are best suited for kids that are capable and willing to follow directions – if they don’t seem into it, try not to push the issue; eventually they’ll come around.
Studies have shown that children between the ages of 2 and 4 who regularly play with puzzles are more likely to develop superior spatial skills – the types of skills that allow your child to understand the relationship between objects. Spatial ability constantly comes into play in adult life, helping us to make sense of a map, merge through traffic, and orient ourselves in unfamiliar surroundings. 

The Benefits Don’t Stop There
Helping your child develop strong spatial abilities can really help them succeed later on in life as spatial awareness has shown to be a key asset among those who enjoy a career in a mathematic or science related field like engineering and architecture.
Additionally, health care providers have stated time and time again that puzzles are a great way to keep the brain active and can even help reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s later on in life. With all these benefits, why wouldn’t you want to help your child develop a deep fondness for shapes and puzzles?
Why Coloring? Why Shapes?
Have you ever stopped and wondered why most education begins with the introduction of colors and shapes? Believe me, it’s not because of a “Ya gotta start somewhere” approach. There are actual concrete reasons as to why some of the first things your child learns about in school are colors and shapes.
Look around and take note of what you see. What catches your eye? A house? A cloud? Children interpret the world around them by identifying things by their most basic attributes: shapes and colors. 
You might not think it, but children categorize all manner of objects using these two variables. The white cloud. The squarehouse. This is the way children begin to unravel the mysteries of the world around them, and doing so prepares them for the more difficult subjects further down the road – so pull out a box of crayons and start learning some math!

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