Tips on Strengthening Numeracy Skills in Children

16 December 2022
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Most children grow up never understanding mathematics and feel overwhelmed by numbers. However, the subject in its most basic form is crucial to dealing with everyday challenges. You can figure out when to leave home so you can catch your flight in time, how much chicken you need to buy for a party or even how to divide the birthday cake with your friends. As a parent, you might be at a loss when trying to figure out ways to make maths fun. Most children grow up hating the subject because of the kind of experience they had learning it. However, numeracy can be something other than the monster under their bed. The right activities to improve maths skills can make it fun. Read on for tips on strengthening children's numeracy without making it stressful.

What is Numeracy?
Numeracy is a field of mathematics that focuses on basic mathematical operations and their application in real life. This includes simple calculations including addition, subtraction, division, multiplication and the rules of brackets. While it may seem like an insignificant skill in this age of smartphones and calculators, it still holds weight. Most competitive exams require you to be efficient in your calculations - a situation where your gadgets might not help you. Moreover, it also helps you perform everyday transactions with ease and build a solid groundwork for further studies. The key to mastering numeracy lies in how the students see it. There are so many maths activity ideas to help you change their perception towards the subject.

Bake a Cake with Them
One of the most fun ways to learn maths is through cooking. You can set aside a weekend to spend it cooking with your children. Baking is the best option because it requires you to weigh your ingredients and set up timers - all tasks that involve plenty of numbers. Be intentional in your conversations and encourage them with questions like, "if I want 350 gm of flour, but I only have 200 gm, how much more do I need to buy?" It might require some planning on your side, but in the end, it will be worth it. It's also one of the best numeracy activities for kindergarten children. They will learn the basics of addition, subtraction, different kinds of quantities and other essential mathematical operations.

Take Online Quizzes
A classroom environment may not always feel encouraging to students. Since the teacher has a syllabus to stick to and a large class to handle, they might not always be able to make each lesson fun. Take some time out to work on lessons that your child finds difficult. Seek online resources such as engaging videos and quizzes. If they can see you being as excited to figure out a problem, they could feel encouraged to work on it too. Make it a routine to take out an hour or two every week to just have fun solving maths quizzes on the internet. Over time, it will improve their overall problem-solving skills and basic understanding.

Take Them Shopping
Supermarkets are the perfect places to play around with maths. It is one of the best ways to develop numeracy skills. These spaces usually offer discounts that you can ask your child to calculate. Apart from this, make them figure out how many 200 gm packets of coffee you will need so you can have a total of, say 1 kg. These easy but fun mathematical operations unconsciously make them carry out mental operations. This can actually make maths fun and at the same time strengthen your child's basic mathematical skills.

Pull Out the Board Games
One of the many ways to help your child with maths is through games. There are plenty of board games that have a mathematical aspect to them. As opposed to textbooks filled with words and numbers, these are much more fun too. Pick some popular options such as Ludo, Snakes & Ladders or Monopoly. Bring in the entire family to join in the fun and make them ask the children mathematical questions too. This will push them to like numbers better and realise how easy maths is in real life.

The importance of numeracy in early childhood makes it an essential skill to introduce children to. However, if you find your child struggling with mathematical problems, let them know that it is okay. The subject is infamous for causing stress and inducing anxiety in a lot of children. Instead of forcing them to learn it or losing your temper when numbers make them feel lost, be patient. There are many ways to ease up their affinity to numbers and mathematical operations. Once they feel confident enough, they can take up more difficult problems. Use baking or shopping, board games and other online quizzes to develop a more fun approach towards mathematics in children. It will seamlessly strengthen their numeracy skills.

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