Math Activities

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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In addition to sports, shopping, and playing board games, there are numerous math activities that are a part of everyday life. If your child is resistant to textbook learning, there's always cooking, cards, geography, model-building, and other applications that offer ripe opportunities for using math in the real world. Whether your child is obsessed with cars and trucks, airplanes, military history, trading cards, or nature and animals, instances abound where crafty adults can participate in math activities along with their kids.

Take out a map or atlas and use the legend to determine how far away places like Asia, Europe, and Africa are. If terrestrial geography is simply too mundane for your son or daughter, try consulting a map of the cosmos instead. If the sun is 93 million miles away from us, ask your child how long it would take, driving 60 miles per hour, to get there and back. For a more challenging turn, ask him or her how long it would take to get there at the speed of light, roughly 186,000 miles per second.

Math Activities for the Computer

When you finally run out of options in the kitchen, the car, and the backyard, turn to the computer room to keep your child's interest stoked. Games such as Yahtzee, Tetris, Super Collapse, and Minesweeper are just a few of the titles that demand on-your-feet thinking and computation. These games also test spatial relationships, rotation, probability, and other more advanced principles.

While these games aren't marketed as learning materials per se, educators identify them time and again as outstanding pedagogical tools. If you're more of a traditionalist who likes your math activities packaged and sold as such, there are countless titles at bookstores, big boxes (such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy), and through online shops specializing in primary educational products. While the first batch of games can typically be found for free on the Internet, formal educational products often run 20, 30, or 40 dollars per title, depending on their relative complexity.


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