These everyday math activities are the perfect way to introduce hands-on math ideas to kids!
Do you know today is?
Ring a bell at all?
Ok, how about if you flash back to high school math class?
Yes, that's it -- Today is Pi Day!
And Pi Day is a great time to get your kids more keen on how math is part of our daily lives.
17 Easy Math Activities for Any Day
Really, any day is a good time get kids more interested in HOW we use math on a regular basis.
(and yes, I did hear you groan when I mentioned high school math :-)
First, a little math refresher --
Pi is the ratio of a circle's circumference to it's diameter, and it's a constant number so no matter how large the circle, the ratio is always 3.1415926535897....
And the digits in pi never repeat themselves -- it's what we call an infinite number so a pretty cool thing to explain to kids too.
Ok, enough of that!
We all know that Pi goes on forever and ever, and is used to find the area of a circle too -- and no, I'm not asking you to have the kids memorize the value of Pi.
You'll be surprised how many kids think that math is just something they use when they do worksheets in school (a sad but true fact).
What we really need to do is help kids realize that math happens all the time! Without realizing it, they are using their skills outside of the classroom too.
Try introducing or discussing math during everyday activities with these hands-on ideas. We're including links to more FUN math activities along with affiliate links to books and items that you'll find helpful too.
In the Kitchen
I've posted before about how fun it is to get kids involved in the kitchen with math and it's so easy to find a way to talk math.
You can discuss:
- measurements (teaspoons, tablespoons, cups) as you make cookies (or a pie),
- the temperature of the oven when you are baking, or
- fractions -- how to evenly share a food item (like a pizza).
I love having a set of kid-friendly measuring cups in the kitchen too (more insirpation to help me bake ;).
Here's a great list of 10 Types of Math Tools you'll find around your house.
At the Store
Next time your kids are taggin' along and 'helping' you shop for groceries, think about a mini math lesson.
You can show them so many things at the store:
- how different foods are measured when they are packaged
- how to find the weight of an item (my kids LOVE weighing the fruit!)
- talk about money as you pay for items - there's a huge math lesson. For example, if you have $3.00 and your favorite cereal costs $2.75, how much change will you get back? For older kids, ask them to figure out the tax on the item too!
I love to have our kids count out coins too -- especially if they are saving up to buy something on one of our shopping trips!
And I also add coins to our Easter Egg hunts each year -- when they were younger, I had them identify each of the coins. As they got older, I have to tell me how much money they find once all the eggs are discovered.
If your kids play sports, the whole idea of keeping score is a daily exercise in math.
- Basketball is a great lesson in counting by 2's
- If your kids are swimmers or involved in track, they'll quickly need to calculate how many seconds faster they need to run or swim in order to win their meet
- And football has the whole '7' thing going for it if your kids are practicing their multiplication tables.
There are SO many great outdoor counting games you can play:
- jump rope,
- hide-and-seek (to name a few)
- have your kids keep a mental score when you're playing a game like bocce ball.
As you talk a walk or a bike ride, you'll encounter quite a few math opportunities:
- ask your kids to estimate many feet until the next corner when you're riding your bikes or walking to school,
- have them identify the shapes (geometry) of the various street signs you pass,
- you can also practice using the correct measurement (inches vs. feet vs. yards) or converting measurements from standard to metric -- how tall is the basketball hoop? how high can you swing? how far is it to walk to school?
If you want a really cool outdoor measurement activity, try building a Star Wars Solar System (with free printable!)
Storytime with Math Books
Yep, there's even math in books and it can be lots of fun!
If you have a child who loves reading but isn't too crazy about math, you might want to share a few of these fun books with them:
The Grapes Of Math is a fun book for kids ages 5 - 10 that shows kids how to use creative thinking to solve math problems. The books is written in rhyme and riddles; kids really enjoy these fun ways to think and talk about math (both of my kids enjoyed this one).
Well of course I was going to list a book that talks about Pi (I'll bet you didn't even think there was a kids book about Pi, did you?) The beauty of this story is the math is masked in this fun fantasy tale about a boy who must save his father. Some great riddles and tongue-in-cheek writing make this a great read-aloud for families.
PLUS you'll love these 25 Marvelous Math Picture Books too!
Kids ages 5+ will enjoy this fun book that helps kids to quantify how large a million of any item would be. The Magical Magician goes through various sets of equations to help kids understand the difference between 100's, 1000's and beyond. Illustrations are outstanding and the examples are clearly explained.
I really love the Alexander books - they are fun reads for the kids and great reminders to adults about how hard life can be as a kid. This is a gem of a story for discussing money, both how to count money and how to save it! Alexander gets a dollar from his grandparents and thinks he's rich. But oh how quickly the money can be spent. Kids will really identify with Alexander's plight and won't even mind solving a few math problems as they read.