Creative Activities to Teach Math Skills

Texas Instruments conducted a survey in 2018 with 1,000 students about their attitudes towards math. The survey found that 24 percent of those students hated or disliked math while 30 percent were indifferent to it.

Oftentimes, how math is taught causes students to develop negative attitudes towards the subject. Imagine if creative activities were used to teach these 540 students math. They may have responded differently to the survey.

math skills

Additionally, 68 percent of the students surveyed stated that they would “like math more if they understood how to apply it to their future”. Therefore, the activities used to teach math should be fun and demonstrate relevance to real life.  Math is an extremely important skill and makes a huge difference in your son or daughter’s development; and opens up future opportunities.  Tutors on Call outlines the importance of math in the article Why Math Matters.

We’ve created a list of activities based on three categories of fundamental math skills: basic operations, fractions, and basic geometry.


Basic Operations Activity

The basic operations in math are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. An activity that you can use with children in grades 4 and 5 to reinforce basic operations is math hopscotch. Here are the steps.

  1. Use sidewalk chalk to draw a traditional hopscotch grid.
  2. Choose a basic operation to govern that round of the game.
  3. Give your child an equation and ask him or her to hop to the answer. For instance, an equation could be 5 + 2 =?
  4. Ask your child to give a real-world example of how to apply the given equation. For instance, 5 + 2 = 7 could be translated to 5 apples plus 2 apples equals 7 apples.
  5. Repeat using a different operation each time.


Fraction Activities

One of the best ways to bring fractions into real-life is through cooking. This website has some good recipes you can use to help your child master identifying and estimating fractions.

You can also use pool noodles to reinforce adding and subtracting fractions. More details about this fun activity can be found in this article.


Basic Geometry Activity

Geometry comes alive when children are able to use manipulatives. There are an array of manipulatives that you can try such as this Learning Resources container of plastic shapes.

A geometry game that you could try is Kitki Three Sticks. The aim of the game is to try to create connecting shapes using two sticks in each round. Ultimately, your child will develop an appreciation for compound shapes and large shapes such as decagons.


Financial Literacy

This can also be a great time to teach your son or daughter about financial literacy.  This is often not a skill that is taught in school; even though it is directly linked with math.  It is also an important skill for their future success as an adult.  Check-out this article that Tutors on Call has written Teach Your Child Financial Literacy.


Final Words

Creative activities for teaching math skills should be both fun and relevant to real-life. The activities we’ve described in this article check both boxes. Can you think of any other activities? Let us know in the comments below.

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