Math Around the House

Are you looking for ways to keep math skills sharp over summer vacation? Sparking your child's interest in math is as easy as 1-2-3 with these activities.

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1. Bake a Cake

Sometimes it seems like chocolate makes everything better. Baking a chocolate cake can provide numerous opportunities to use math. You could make a layer cake and ask your child how many eggs you'll need to double the recipe - one cake for each layer. Show how this can be calculated both by addition (setting out 2 eggs + 2 eggs = 4 eggs) and multiplication (writing out 2 eggs x 2 = 4 eggs).

Next you can figure out how much flour you'll need. Glass measuring cups are a good visual way to learn about fractions. Your son or daughter can see how 1 1/4 cups of flour is doubled to make 2 1/2 cups of flour.

home math math activities baking cake cooking

Sticks of butter often have portions for both tablespoons and cups labeled right on the wrapper. Ask your child to first double 1 1/2 sticks in the recipe to get 3 sticks, and then figure out how many cups (1 stick = 1/2 cup, 3 sticks = 1 1/2 cups) or pounds (1 stick = 1/4 lb, 3 sticks = 3/4 lbs) of butter that equals.

The fun continues with measuring the baking soda and cocoa and even with cutting the cake into pieces. Next time, try halving the recipe and making cupcakes that you can divide up.

2. Math Scavenger Hunt

Consider this rainy day alternative to playing games and watching TV: Create a scavenger hunt for your kids. Have them look for the clues around your house. You could include counting clues, like a room with two windows or a room with four chairs. Some more challenging items could include something in the house that you have at least 50 of (socks), or less than 20 of (forks). You could also ask your children to hunt for geometric shapes, such as cylinders (soup cans), trapezoids (lamp shades) or rectangles (TVs).

math game math fun counting child math

3. Family Counts

You may read your son or daughter a bedtime story every night, but how often do you talk about numbers? You can incorporate math into various discussions. For example, ask your child how old he or she is. Then say your age, and tell your child how old you'll both be in five years. Ask how old you'll both be in eight years. Then tell your child how old your mother, his or her grandmother, was when you were your child's age. Ask them how old grandma is now.

Before the next family event, ask your child how many relatives have black hair, red hair, brown eyes or green eyes. Count the number of boys and girls. How many of them like ice cream? Do you know who's the tallest? Have your kids measure each other's heights. Show them how math is all around us and how fun it can be.

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