I know first hand how well games can help children learn many topics, as we often turn homework into some sort of game to encourage my son to complete his lessons. Our Guest Geek post today focuses on the subject of math and how making learning fun can have a big impact on children and their willingness to learn something new, even when they may find it a challenge.
How Games Help Kids Learn Math
Many young learners struggle with math. Like reading, math is a language of symbols. Once a learner masters math, the symbols are no longer a barrier. But, initially, learners must practice a lot with the symbols to get comfortable with how math works. You may have experienced resistance from your children or students about math homework. When kids complain, it generally means they are having trouble understanding what underlies the math symbols and how they function together. So, consider some fun ways to engage young learners with math that reduce the resistance and increase their understanding of this useful language of numbers.
Why Math Games?
Math games are a great way to practice math concepts that have been introduced in class or at home. All of us, including kids, associate games with entertainment, whether board games, video games, or casino games. By using online math learning games for young learners, you provide a fun outlet for practice and improvement. Different types of math games are designed to help with different skills, and playing them may help reduce children’s anxiety about learning math.
How to Play
A math game can typically be played individually or in competition with classmates or friends. For some students, competition is motivating, while others may thrive on independent work. Regardless, as the parent or teacher, you’re in charge of ensuring that children access and play math games in the way that works best for them. Keep in mind that if you are introducing a competitive aspect, the goals and rules must be clear. And the focus should always be on each student’s best work, not on any comparative judgement. For example, something as simple as tracing numbers for the youngest children can be done using a timer to how well each child can trace the number within a time limit.
In all of Kids Academy math learning games, tailoring the game level to the learner ensures that they can benefit from it. The best math game has just the right level of challenge for the particular learner using it. Don’t feel obliged, therefore, to have a group of leaners playing a game at the same level. On the contrary, customize and reward learners as they progress through levels, something they may be quite familiar with from video games. A learner should have a chance of winning, but the win must be somewhat hard-won to maintain their interest.
Also, select games that reinforce math concepts students have already been exposed to. Games are great for practice, scaling up skills, and developing confidence in solving problems and applying math concepts in new contexts.
Kids Academy also offers hundreds of fun math worksheets for young learners, preschool through Grade 3. The worksheets invite kids to apply their math skills to solving everyday problems, such as counting road signs and tallying money, as well as harness their imaginations to design a dragon avatar or code a haiku poem.
Observing how a child plays math games can give you a sense of their strengths and weaknesses. While their confidence may get a boost, you are also setting them up for further success in math.
Categories: Kid Stuff