Family life is busy. But wouldn't it be great to fill those few minutes we have of our child's undivided attention - while driving to activities or making dinner - with a fun intellectual activity? We think so too. That's why we've created 'Math on the Go:' a list of three to five math activities that we'll provide every few weeks that you can do as a family.
These activities should be scalable for age and level, so anyone should be able to participate. We encourage parents to try a few of these with your children. There's nothing that sends a message as strongly as a parent taking a vested interest in a subject. Enjoy!
Three Math Activities to Play in the Car
Travel Time! (For grades 3 - 5)Use driving time to introduce elements of motion problems! You can ask a series of math-type questions, including:
- Tell your child how long you expect the trip to take and when you need to be there by. Ask: What time should you leave in order to arrive on time?
- If you drove 2 miles in the last 5 minutes, ask your child: How far could you go in 30 minutes? If you need to cover a distance of 15 miles, should you speed up to arrive on time?
- Tell your child the estimated time of your trip, ask: What time do you think you will arrive?
Guess My Number (For grades K-1)
Think of a number from 0 - 10 and ask your child to guess. You can limit the number of guesses or set a time limit. The key is to respond "higher" or "lower" to help steer your child toward the unknown number, like a game of hot and cold.
A typical game might go like this: Parent: I'm thinking of a number between 0 and 30. Child: Is it 20? Parent: No, lower. Child: Is it 10? Parent: No, higher. So now we know it's between 10 and 20...
As your child's ability and confidence grow, change roles so that you're the one guessing the number and your child gives the clues. Eventually, increase the range of numbers to 0-50, or change the range to start with a higher number.
Counting Cars (For grades K-3)
Ask your child to count how many cars pass by on the road in 2 minutes. Then estimate the number of cars that would pass by in an hour.
How many cars are slower/faster than yours?
Tell your child that you have a feeling that the roads are busier in the mornings than in the evenings. Ask your child to help you figure out how many more cars pass by in the mornings than in the evenings.