National Maths Day: Moms Use LEGO, Pizza, Videos to Teach Kids!
These moms are using everything from Ludo and snakes & ladders to slices of a yummy pizza to teach their kids Maths!
Maths. These four letters may sound simple but can be dreadful for some kids.
Says Manisha Ambike, a teacher with 22 years of experience in teaching Kindergarten and 16 years in primary school:
Generally 60 to 70% of kids struggle with mathematics and also have a phobia of Maths. There could be several reasons for this – the teacher using monotonous ways of teaching, kids not being able to understand and interpret numbers or relate the subject to their daily lives, or just a lack of interest!
These could be the initial difficulties learning Maths, but with a little help and guidance, kids can go on to become great at the number game.
If you too are struggling with your child learning Maths at the moment, don’t turn it into a battle of wills or let it be a cause of stress. On National Maths Day, here are some creative ways in which you can make Maths fun for your child!
Make the Most of Videos
Most children love YouTube videos – a fact that will come in handy if you need something to engage a child’s interest in numbers. When Mugdha Bendre’s 2-year-old refused to learn numbers, she was at her wits’ end. So, every time Anika clamoured for screen time, she ensured it was all about numbers.
The first video I showed her was ‘Five Little Speckled Frogs’ by Baby Bum, which is a rhyme about numbers. Anika was immediately hooked on to it and in no time learnt counting till 20 even before she had joined school.
Seeing the numbers and relating it to the frogs, helped imprint the numbers in little Anika’s memory.
Gift Them a Piggy Bank
Children love a piggy bank, not only because it gives them a chance to own money and buy candies – but also because piggy banks are attractive. They come in all shapes and sizes: an elephant, a teddy, a rhino, a monkey. The piggy bank is also a great way to introduce them to the concept of managing their finances.
When Shraddha Pethe wanted to teach her 6-year-old how to add and subtract, she bought him a piggy bank. Each day she would give him a rupee which he would sincerely deposit in his piggy bank. She would then ask him to count the money collected. This helped him learn to add numbers.
On some days she would take back a rupee or two. It didn’t take too long then, for him to learn subtraction too! Says Shraddha,
Helping them relate the concept of Maths to their everyday lives, makes learning fun.
LEGO, Ludo and Snakes & Ladders
There was a reason that whenever my sister-in-law travelled abroad, she bought her two-year-old a LEGO set. The LEGO set integrates Maths skills with play. Children can count, match colours and sort shapes – as well as construct and play with a wonderful train set. As they use the crane to load and unload the bricks on to the train, they learn to count. She realised that introducing children to the concept of numbers through games was the quickest and the easiest way of learning.
Similarly, games like Ludo and Snakes & Ladders help children learn to add every time the dice is thrown. They mentally add the numbers on the dice and move forward.
Manisha remembers how she would use day-to-day things like match sticks, pebbles, blocks and pictorial representations while explaining basic concepts of Maths to her students.
Order a Pizza!
A pizza is a great way to introduce your toddler to fractions.
When Anu saw her daughter struggling with fractions, she simply ordered a pizza. She picked one slice out of the eight other slices and asked her daughter what fraction it was. Anjali immediately shouted “1/8”! In no time, Anjali was able to understand fractions and she soon started applying that to her chapatis as well. “Mummy I want 1/8 chapati”, Anjali would announce with a smile.
There are plenty of apps as well, like Dragon Box that have colourful visuals and interactive games that make learning fraction and algebra fun for kids. Says Dr Stafford Valentine Redden, Founder, Teaching Tube,
Maths is an abstract subject. Students need to read problems and then visualise what they have read. Many concepts in text books are 2D and cannot give a clear illustration of the real object. Animation, virtual reality and augmented reality are tools which help to rectify this shortcoming!
Make Maths Social
It is a common complaint amongst most mothers and teachers that it is difficult to hold a child’s attention for too long. In times like these, it’s best to employ group activity.
Researchers at the University of Washington have found that a group activity increases engagement and motivation when learning Maths. Group work helps children interact with each other while solving problems – and also presents them with more ways of solving the same problem. It drives away the phobia that is associated with Maths.
(A freelance food and fashion blogger, Pranjali Bhonde Pethe wants to get people closer to their favourite food and style through her blog, moipalate. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on @moipalate.)
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