Posted by : Karen Tuesday, July 26, 2011

As many of you know, Maths is not my middle name. Ask me the themes in any novel, the difference between juxtaposition and an oxymoron, how to trace a character's development and I'm sorted. But Maths? Inward groan!

Being creative and teaching it in an inspiring way is my challenge. And King Arthur, being the first of our children to walk this journey, is challenging me to the nth degree. So here are some moments snapped over the last couple of months of trying to make Maths fun...well, let me rephrase that - interesting at least!

So here we have the boys just beginning their game of  "Shop, Shop" (creatively named don't you think?!). King Arthur more often than not is the banker, and has 'pretend' money (a granny's gift from the Crazy store) but all in the right South African denominations. Whoever plays can chose any kind of shop  - I usually end up having the food market, complete with snacks from the kitchen! We have a book shop, various toy shops, and once I even hosted an ice-cream shop! The boys can open and close their shops as long as they post a sign saying they'll be back soon, and they encourage each other to come and buy things. They'll often have sales too. It's a great way of doing simple adding and subtracting (and perhaps some business skills?!). We've also done this in the past with the Pick 'n Pay full promotional spreads from the local paper, by cutting out all the foodstuffs and having a bakery, dairy etc etc.

Another spin off of this game is re-creating a restaurant at home - I'll dress up as the maitre d', and then present the kids with a menu (hint - do this on nights when you don't have dinner in mind, and are trying to make something out of nothing! Like an option of scrambled eggs or boiled eggs or toast etc), quickly whipped up with some sketches. I expect the same manners as if we were really in a restaurant, and I present them with a bill at the end. If they can add up what they ordered correctly, they don't have to pay (can leave the table without normal chores). If they make a mistake, they help clear or wash up or something light hearted.

Singapore Math blocks - these have presented us with hours of fun and are a really worthwhile investment. You can get these sheets as well to create your own patterns, or just have fun making endless symmetrical patterns as King Arthur does.

The spare change jar. Now there have been seasons in our lives where this jar has remained empty as every penny has been accounted for, and there are seasons where the small change accumulates. This month gone by was a month to take stock and sort it all out. So King Arthur painstakingly counted all the coins, and wrote down his estimation. Then he had to get the right amount of each denomination into each bank bag, and then we took it to the bank (a lesson in and of itself!). The highlight was changing it to paper money, and the kids all being treated to an ice cream with the money!

Belle lending a helping hand!

So pray, do tell. What do you do to make Maths fun?

3 Responses so far.

  1. Lovely ideas Karen! Shop-shop is something we never play...think I'll steal that idea :-) I like your idea of the kids all having different shops!

  2. Wow, these are such creative ideas for practising Maths. Thanx for sharing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I love these ideas. Adam is only 5 now, but I thought of introducing him to money in a "light" sense, by showing him what the money looks like and using the 1c, 2c and 5c to count. He can count correctly up to 20 in 1's, but 2's and 5's must still come in the next year or two. Then 10c, 20c, 50c, etc.
    Elize vdM

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