Making Math at Home: First Grade Tips
Be number one! Eight great ways parents can help first graders learn math.
What You Need To Know
In First Grade, children develop their math skills from object-based counting to pencil and paper. Every child learns at different speeds, but for concerned parents who want to help their child learn, there’s good news. Plenty of household tasks are perfect for math practice!
How You Can Help
- Count. Counting can be done everywhere from kitchen to bathroom. When children get bored on long car journeys, keep a total of red cars versus blue cars. One hundred is the magic number for first graders learning the decimal system, so count up and down to 100, or between two numbers under 100.
- Multiply. First graders learn their two times table, along with fives and tens. Lego blocks of two or five bricks can be a neat way to illustrate first, then you can mirror the multiplication on paper.
- Cook. Every parent knows it’s tough to cook and keep an eye on their child, but if you use recipes as a learning tool, you can do both. Fill ¼ cup with rice and learn fractions, by demonstrating how four ¼ cups make up one full cup.
- Read. Flick through a magazine together and ask your child to read out the page numbers. Then pick a number and ask him or her to find the page.
- Play games. Every number can be represented in different ways. 6 is 2 x 3 or 3 + 3. Get your child to write numbers on cards. While you have to guess the number, they have to give you clues without saying the number.
- Ordinals. Every game you play, use ordinal numbers. Who goes first, second, third?
- Tell the time. Familiarize your child with digital and traditional clocks, by linking time with their activities. For example, tell them they can play in the yard from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and show them the time at the beginning and end.
- Turn numbers into words. School math problems often use real examples. You can prepare your child for these by asking, ‘If Mom wants one cookie and Dad wants three, how many cookies will we eat?’ Then use a pencil to convert the sentence into 1 + 3 = 4.
These eight tips are a good way to start, but you’ll also need encouragement. Moving from object-based counting to pencil and paper can take time. If your child is confused by a worksheet, make the problem real. For a question involving grocery store change, use real coins. Keep trying, keep praising, and don’t be afraid to think creatively.
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