One of the best ways to make math relevant for children is by showing them how math is used in real life. In this series, we will share 4 easy real life ideas that you can use with your children to review or teach math concepts. One real life exercise that children enjoy is planning their dream house.
Planning a Dream House
Have your child start by listing the rooms they want to have in their house. While they may want to add lots of fun rooms like movie theaters, make sure they remember to add the necessary rooms too such as bathrooms and a kitchen! They should also think about if their house will have one or two floors. Next give them a piece of graph paper for the first floor of their house. Have them use the lines on the graph paper to draw out the rooms of their house. They can write the name of each room inside the boxes. If your child chooses to have a second floor, have them draw the basic outline in the same exact shape as the first floor. They can then fill in the upstairs rooms just like they did for the downstairs.
Finding the Area of a Dream House
Now have your child find the floor space in their new house plan. Younger children who are just learning about area can count the graph paper boxes in each room and then add up the totals. If you are introducing area, this would be the perfect time to show them that you can get the same area by multiplying the length by the width of each room. Older children should find the area simply by multiplying the length and width of each room. They can then add the room areas to find the total area of the house. You could even expand this activity by allowing them to figure out the cost to carpet certain rooms of the house based on the price of carpet at your local home improvement store.
Finding the Perimeter of a Dream House
You can also have your child use his dream home plan to practice finding perimeter. They could figure out the perimeter of the interior rooms to plan how much molding is needed to finish a room. Or they could find the outer perimeter of the house to figure out how many feet of fencing would be needed to put a fence around the outside of the house.
Finishing the Dream House
A more experienced math student could take this project even further by furnishing his rooms. Your child could research the sizes of furniture, rugs, and appliances to draw into each room.
Letting your child plan out his dream house is a fun way to review or introduce two concepts that children easily get confused – area and perimeter. What other real life ways do you use to help your child practice finding area and perimeter?