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Playing Math Games with Children

Question most adults about what it would take to get kids hooked on math, and many would ask, “Is that possible?”

As a veteran elementary teacher, I know that kids can get hooked on math at an early age, and if you miss that window, it’s harder to get them into it later.

What can parents and teachers of young children do to get their children excited about math? Well, you could buy a $200. program. Or you could buy a deck of cards, a couple of dice, and/or some board games and begin to play math games. I can guarantee that the latter will be a lot less expensive and a great deal more engaging.

I tried to teach my child with books.
He only gave me puzzled looks.
I tried to teach my child with words.
They passed him by, unheard.
In despair I turned aside.
“How will I teach my child?” I cried.
Into my hand he put the key…
“Come” he said, “and play with me”.
Unknown

The Importance of Play
There are many math games and activities that have a great deal to do with having fun as you learn. One of the things we positively know about children (and adults) is that if pleasure is not a part of what you are doing, you will not be willing to do it very much or for very long.

Many parents regard play as rather trivial in the lives of their young children and would much rather see their kids get involved in “educational” activities. To parents, it often seems that all children do is play! They play until they are five or six, then they go off to school and start to learn. They play until they are big enough to really begin to do things.

The act of playing is an important tool that influences a child’s life. The primary goals of childhood are to grow, learn, and play. It is often through play that children learn to make sense of the world around them. It is a child’s “job” to play to develop physical coordination, emotional maturity, social skills to interact with others, and self-confidence to try new experiences and explore new environments.

Play to a child IS learning! They learn to play and play to learn. Play is terribly important to a child. It is not a distraction. It’s not something they do to take up time. It’s a child’s life.

So, begin to “play” with your child. Playing math games is a wonderful way to learn as you play.

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