Go figure: Teaching kids maths from everyday life

Maths is everywhere – the more you look, the more you'll see. The Mathematical Association of Victoria team shares their tips for exploring maths in the world around you.

Maths is all around you! You can explore maths while doing daily activities to help develop your children’s maths and numeracy skills.

Here are our top 5 tips for parents:

1. Maths in cooking

Cooking is all about maths! And it’s something we can all do. Get children to read instructions, measure ingredients, and ask questions about the maths involved. Let them explore the numbers, while being rewarded with a tasty treat! Extend this to maths in the veggie garden as you grow ingredients.

Explore: Measuring and quantities, time, fractions, estimation, and temperature.

2. Maths in sports and exercise

Many children love sport, but often don’t realise how much maths there is in it! Ask questions about performance statistics, and compare and analyse players. Or try footy tipping as a way to analyse team performance. Exercise is an opportunity! Estimate how far you will run today, and how long it will take. Use an app like Strava to record the activity and look at the stats.

Explore: Distance, time, speed, estimating, statistics, comparing, data and data display.

3. Playing games

Games are an awesome way to have fun with maths, any games with counting and dice help develop basic number sense. Many games explore money (Think Monopoly!), and puzzles often work with pattern and shape.

Explore: Numbers, counting, addition, money, number recognition, pattern, shape.

4. Money, shopping and budgets

Have you ever given your children a budget to purchase the ingredients for a meal? What about shopping for their clothes? You could explore paying the bills, or calculating how much it costs to run a car? What about budgeting for a holiday! Depending on your child’s age there are plenty of activities to try.

Explore: Money, calculating amounts, addition, subtraction, budgeting, tracking, estimating.

5. Just ask questions

Regardless of the maths you are exploring, the main strategy here is to ask questions! Let your children explore, while you prompt them with questions to challenge and expand their thinking. You don’t need to know the answers you can work them out together!

Explore: Maths in the media, fake news, global news.

About MAV

The Mathematical Association of Victoria (MAV) promotes the importance of mathematics to society. They also provide information and resources to help you support your children at home to increase their interest and engagement in maths.

This article originally appeared on the MAV site here. We thank the MAV for permitting us to republish this article. You can find additional resources for parents from MAV here.

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