Making Math Tangible for Kids

My son gives his dad a score every morning for reversing the car out of the garage on the way to work. The other day, my son flashed four 10-fingered hands. Here's the conversation that followed.

Me: "Wow, Dad got a 40 today!"

Son: Nooooo, he got a 20.

Me: Four 10s is 40.

Son: Nooooo, it's 20.

I clearly was not going to win this argument, so we agreed to disagree. After school, we would do a project to understand what four 10s amounted to.

So after school, I collected an assortment of beads, pom poms, pipe cleaners and wooden spools from our craft basket. My son was eager to explore the objects. I asked him to make 1 group of 10 and then a second, third and fourth. He then counted each and every bead. 

When I asked him what four groups of 10 equaled, he looked at me like duh, it's 40! Well, mission accomplished.

Math can be so abstract for kids. It's really helpful to use everyday objects to make it real. We add and subtract with blueberries. We reverse addition equations using biscotti. And we make equal piles of Hot Wheels. It's a positive and engaging way to introduce math operations and equations to younger kids. Our little dude loves doing "math" even though we've never actually called it that!

Hope you find this tip helpful!



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