Hands on math activities are crucial for understanding a new concept. We can use counters, pictures, and other fun math tools to introduce the basic operations. However, at some point our children need to begin memorizing math facts. This can definitely be one of the more challenging areas of math for any child. So how can you help your child memorize his math facts quicker? Here are a few tricks to make this task easier for both of you!
Turn Memorizing Math Facts into a Game
You can use math flashcards with most children’s games. You can play Memory by finding matches that have the same answer to two different problems. You can add addition or subtraction flashcards to many board games by using them in place of dice. Simply shuffle the cards and stack them face down by the game board. Then instead of rolling a dice to find out how many spots to move, flip over the top flashcard. The answer is the number you can move on that turn. Multiplication and Division flashcards can be used for a fun game of War. To play War, deal the cards evenly between the two players. Each player flips a card face up from the top of his pile. The person with the highest card value (in our case, the highest answer) adds both of the cards to the bottom of his pile. The game continues until one player has all the cards. That player is the winner!
It can be overwhelming for a child to see a huge stack of flashcards that they are expected to memorize. Start with a single fact family (for example, all the multiplication facts that include x2) to begin with. When your child can quickly answer all the flashcards from that family, give them a small reward or recognition before moving on to the next family. The reward doesn’t have to be big. You could give them stars on a chart, an extra 15 minutes before bedtime, or even a special treat in their lunchbox the next day. Keep the reward simple, but give them plenty of praise for the progress they are making.
Use Online Games to Practice Math Facts
You can find so many fun online math games that children can use to practice their math facts at any level. Math Fact Shoot Out by abcya.com has three different difficulty levels for each of the four basic operations. Children answer math facts correctly to earn chances to shoot baskets and earn points. Sheppard Software is another great website that has a large selection of games for practicing math facts. Many of the games can be used with any of the four operations, and they are all simple enough for children to use independently.
Learning math facts is a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be a boring one. Games, simple rewards, and online adventures can make memorizing those facts more fun for your child. What other tricks do you have for getting your child to master their basic math facts?
Photo by: Casey Fleser