4 Creative Ways to Explain Mathematical Concepts to Kids
1. Strengthen basic math operations first.
First, we want to make sure that the child has mastered the basic math operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. To strengthen these skills, we can give them verbal questions during daily activities, for example: as you prepare for school in the morning, or as you prepare dinner together.
TIP: Make it in form of a game so the child is more motivated!
2. Adapt math words in daily life.
Widen their understandings of those basic operations by adapting them to math words in daily life. Here are a few examples:
- “Mom has 10 candies. If I give to 5 candies to you, will I have more or less candies?”
- “Let’s give these toys to your friend. Every friend will get 2 toys. What operation is that?”
Always relate those basic operations to daily life in every chance you get.
Use children toys to illustrate simple concepts: Play-Doh for division, and Lego for comparing numbers.
3. Use interesting illustrations to explain.
When a child is confused in combining round numbers (positive and negative), we can use illustrations to explain it.
For example, positive numbers multiplied by positive numbers will result in a positive as well. Show that “+” and “+” are the same symbol, and “-“ and “-“ is also the same symbol. Same symbols multiplication always results in a positive.
4. Use engaging story illustrations.
When a child is confused to convert round numbers to fraction, we can help by using a story illustration.
For example: How can we convert 5?
Explain: “We start from the bottom, in between 2 and 5 there is an X symbol (write that), however between the 5 and 1 numbers there is an + symbol (write that).”
Repeat those steps and ask the child to say it as you write those symbols down.
By making sentences out of those examples, the child will be more familiar with mathematical symbols and their applications in word problems. Try illustrations for other materials as well.
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