Practicing math with kids using real-life concepts gives them more confidence in school and helps them prepare for the future. Consider these simple ways to help kids practice math outside school during the cold winter months.
Creative Ways to Help Kids Practice Math Skills Outside of School
Drill work and workbooks aren’t the only answer to help your kids practice math. The following practical math ideas can help them practice their math skills and learn new ones.
Take your kids shopping and encourage them to calculate the cost of buying groceries. They will get plenty of review time on adding, subtracting, multiplying, and estimating. You can have them work it out in their head or on a small notepad, or allow them to bring a calculator so they can become proficient in its use. For an added challenge, give them a recipe and a budget and have them put together a basket with everything the recipe requires while staying within the budget. If you thought ahead and gave them your Christmas cookie recipe, you can transition right into the next activity!
Baking is great fun, and you get a tasty reward when it’s done. Your homemade baked goods are likely far healthier than many store-bought treats. Choose a recipe with your kids and have them help you measure the ingredients and pour them into the bowl. Younger children can stick to reviewing basic measurements such as teaspoons, tablespoons, half cups, quarter cups, and thirds of a cup. Older children from grades 3 and up can practice multiplying or dividing ingredient measurements, so the recipe is the right size for your family.
Building is a great activity for active kids who often don’t enjoy sitting down to do math review worksheets. Hobby shops have tons of model vehicles and buildings that require patience, precision, and calculation. You could also stop at a thrift shop or Habitat for Humanity ReStore and find a refinishing project or supplies to build your own furniture. Building helps kids practice measuring with a ruler or tape measure, and teaches the importance of accuracy. Measure twice, cut once!
Sports are a great way to teach kids how to apply situational math skills. Our friends at the College Football Playoff Foundation (CFPF) and the NFL have games all through the fall and into winter. Both men’s and women’s college and professional basketball play through the winter. Check out a local high school or college nearby with football or basketball, or even some other traditional winter sports that require situational math, such as wrestling and gymnastics.
While watching a game or match, ask them how they would use math to determine the best course of action in a game. Older kids can look at things like probabilities.
- It’s 4th down and 6: What’s the likelihood the offense gets a first down?
- Your favorite basketball team is losing by 10 points: Should they keep playing their normal offense or focus on shooting 3-pointers?
- The American gymnast is in 2nd place: What score does she need to get into 1st place? How many mistakes can she make and still reach that score?
If they have fun with this activity, just think how excited they’ll be when the Winter Olympics comes around!
Practical math activities can help you spend time with your child doing something that is both fun and educational. Kids will become more proficient in math as they use it in everyday ways, which can ultimately help boost their grades when they return to school later in the year.
More Winter Learning Activities & Ideas
If you’re looking for more ideas and inspiration to keep kids learning through the winter, check out the Inspiration and Planning topic page to see what’s new. You’ll find activity suggestions and much more. Then visit our online store to find all the tools and supplies you need to make learning come alive!