Read this teacher’s guide to encouraging families to take part in teaching math skills at home. This post includes fun ideas and a FREE home math practice pack.
Informing parents about how to help their children practice Math at home is a critical factor in their child’s success within the classroom. There are many ways to encourage teaching Math at home. Here are some ways you can help families to be involved in their child’s learning. Family involvement in education is crucial to the retention of information all year, but especially at the end of the school year.
Practicing Math Skills At Home
As the summer approaches, it’s a good idea to start reminding families of the importance of their involvement and what they can do at home to help their child. Practicing math concepts at home doesn’t have to be stressful, time-consuming, or involve pencil and paper. By sharing some of these ideas with families, you show them how simple it can be to incorporate Math into daily activities and routines.
Games Involving Math Skills
Board Games: Children love board games. Not only do they promote screen-free time and family bonding, but they are often educational! Some of my favorites for teaching Math are Hi, Ho Cherry-O, Yahtzee, and Trouble.
Playing with Tactile Objects: Encourage parents to use whatever they have at home to continue to build on their child’s number sense skills. Math manipulatives such as those we have in our classrooms may not be accessible to them. However, things such as coins, a bag of dry beans, stickers, or shape cut-outs would work just as well for hands-on learning.
Apps and Web-Based Games: Apps and online games are engaging and stimulating when used in moderation. There are so many great programs, but the one I recommend most for primary grades is ABCMouse.com. It’s not just for preschoolers, but it’s geared for up to age 8. And at only $7.95 per month (usually the first month is free) – it’s a very affordable option for summer learning. There are also free online games such as those found on ABCYa.com, Math Playground, and Cool Math Games.
Math Skills Practice Handouts
Online Printables: Parents should utilize the multitude of printable math worksheets that can be found and downloaded (often for free) online. Also, it should be noted that most children also need hands-on instruction to go along with them. Inform parents of the importance of having small objects nearby that students can use while completing their math practice.
Daily Math Practice Sheets: An excellent option for home practice are Math Mats – simple and easy to print out, and they are conducive to a daily practice routine. Each mat provides the necessary spiral math review to keep math concepts fresh. Try Math Mats for FREE!
Make it Routine: Through the Bedtime Math program, parents can build Math into their nightly routine with a question of the day, as well as print off activity pages for practice with their children.
Talking About Math Skills
Discussions: Natural opportunities for parents to bring up Math topics with their kids frequently occur throughout the day. During everyday play is the best chance to slip in some Math vocabulary. For example, point out to parents how they can talk about geometry, symmetry, measurement, problem-solving, and counting while they build with LEGOs or while drawing with sidewalk chalk.
Figuring it Out: Mental Math is the perfect skill practice on the go. Remind parents that even on short car rides, Math can be practiced by posing questions to children on any topic that requires them to think about the answer in their head. The problem can be as simple as: “It is 10 miles from our house to the mall. We’ve already driven four miles. How much farther do we have left to drive?”
Real-Life Math Skills
Daily Vocabulary: Give families a list of terms and concepts in Math that you are teaching in class, and that can be brought up in everyday life with their children. Challenge them to bring up one idea per day through natural conversation. In doing so, they will help to cement the concepts into a child’s memory. A straightforward way to do this is to search for shapes in the neighborhood while walking around the block.
During Play: Parents can bring up Math concepts throughout the day during play. Things like blocks, crayons, toy cars, puzzles, and crafts can be used to teach skills such as counting, recognizing patterns, comparing, and ordering. Telling time can be practiced by setting out a clock for children to watch. Say things like, “At 4:00, we’ll clean up and have a snack. You tell me when it’s time.”
Around the Home: Math is easily integrated into daily tasks in the kitchen, such as measuring ingredients, doubling and halving recipe ingredients, counting, and dividing meals into equal servings. In this way, cooking and baking provide natural learning opportunities. Yard work and home repair is another example of this. Measurement and planning, ordering, and recognizing patterns can be discussed while gardening and working around the house.
The Use of Money: If children earn an allowance, they naturally learn about the value of money and how to count it. Suggest implementing a summer savings plan or giving children a penny for progress made towards a goal. Children will learn through the process of how to count money, how to exchange smaller coins for larger value coins (such as 10 pennies make a dime). Having children help at the grocery store is also a way to boost learning about money.
Books that Teach Math Skills
Best Books: Give parents this list of books to check out at their local library. Perhaps use it as a summer reading list, or add some of these books to your recommendations. Reading one of these books a day will keep math skills in children’s minds all summer long.
Home Math Skills Handouts
I hope you enjoy this FREE packet that you can download and print. Send the parent letter and handout home with your students to encourage them to practice Math at home. It includes a home math folder cover that can be attached to a folder and laminated.
It also includes an EDITABLE parent letter explaining the importance of home math practice and a few pages of ideas. To receive your free copy, click the image below.
These simple tips for teaching Math at home will help you as you end the school year. Providing families with these ideas now will keep Math skills sharp over the summer. If you’re not already equipping families throughout the year, pin this page! It’s a great addition to your arsenal of ideas for next year. By involving families in learning Math year-round, students are more successful in the classroom.
Try the Mindful Math Comprehensive Program
Read about the Mindful Math program and how it can change your math block in positive ways! This comprehensive math curriculum is available for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
More Math Skills Resources
FREE Number Sense Email Series
Sign up for the building number sense email series filled with effective strategies, must try activities, and FREE resources to build routines in your classroom. Everything you need to help kids grow their number sense and have fun at the same time!
Oh, I like how you say that you can talk about math while drawing with your kids on the sidewalk. My son loves to draw, but he takes after his mom in that he is hopeless at math. I wonder if I could get a tutor who teaches it while integrating drawing, which is only one step further from what your article said.
I liked that idea of bringing up math concepts during play time. I figure that it helps build a positive association. That way, your child might be more interested in learning.
These activities look amazing, Elyse! I am a STEM blogger and an early educator. I can surely try these with my students. I’ve always maintained that if you spark a love for math and numbers in kids at an early age with some interesting activities, they’ll never fear it when they’re adults… in fact, they’ll grow up to love mathematics! I too wrote a post to make math a fun subject for kids: https://kidpillar.com/easy-math-card-games-for-kids/ – I’m sure you will love it 🙂