Math To Go


        With families on the go during the summer, consider putting together a box of useful math-related objects that can serve as both a diversion as well as a source of learning.

        Assembling these objects in one location will enable children to have a variety of tools for approaching math as a fun activity. All of these are readily available and do not have to be expensive.

  • Start with a sturdy box. There are many plastic boxes with covers that will snap on tightly.
  • Pencils are the writing tool of choice in math. Provide several of them, along with a small sharpener and eraser.
  • Cut up lots of scrap paper. You also teach the value of recycling when you use the backs of paper that has been printed on one side.
  • Include a variety of measuring tools. This can include a ruler and a tape measure. Kids love those retractable tape measures that open up to twelve feet. They will measure everything in sight, just for the fun of opening and closing it. Be sure to get ones that have metric as well as imperial units of measuring.
  • A calculator will provide lots of numeric exploration. Best of all, let the older children who have a knowledge of how to use one show the younger ones the ins and outs.
  • Your children in intermediate or middle school grades will probably find a protractor and compass useful.
  • A pair of dice can not only be a good way of teaching the addition of number combinations, but you can also use them to graph the probability of the frequency of numbers that will show up.

        One advantage of taking your "to-go" kit with you is that it combines math activities with recreation. This makes math an enjoyable experience for children, which can take the sting out of it when they return to school.

        Best of all, when you have put together a kit such as this for recreational use, you will have it ready to tackle homework when the new school year begins. You will certainly appreciate having all the components ready and available when your child needs them.

This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson.  Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use.  There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication.  To receive that permission, contact   Jay Davidson