It doesn’t matter if you homeschool full-time or are distance learning, elementary school math presents a challenge when helping your child with math at home. Afterall, these are the years when your kids learn concepts such as number sense and operations, geometry and spatial sense, measurement and more.

Fortunately, there are many useful math tips for parents of elementary students. These tips are fun and effective and will help build math fact fluency during their early years. Math fact fluency is defined as the ability to remember the answers to basic math facts automatically and without delay. This takes considerable practice, so employing engaging and entertaining activities is essential, especially when your little ones become fidgety.

Check out the following tips to help your kids with math — and keep in mind, there will be good days and trying days for everyone, but there are also many resources you can turn to for help.

Hands-on Math Lessons

1st through 3rd grade activities

Young children love using their hands, so it’s beneficial to incorporate that instinct when helping your child with math at home. For example, use bingo chips, Legos or other objects to help your children visualize abstract concepts. Instead of writing 3 – 2 =1 on a white board, use the bingo chips to explain the same concept. Play math bingo. Choose whatever skill you want to practice such as addition, subtraction, etc. A quick Google search will give you the directions. Create paper plate clocks to help your children tell time and become more familiar with the numbers on the clock.

4th and 5th grade activities 

There are many math games available such as Fraction Puzzles, Divide and Conquer and more. You can also have your children convert fractions into decimals by playing bingo. Board games are also a fantastic hands-on resource for helping your child with math at home. For example, Yahtzee teaches addition and subtractions skills and Rummikub reinforces skills such as addition, sequencing and patterns. Use your imagination and your kids will respond in a positive manner, especially when they’re solving math problems in a fun environment.

Online Math Lessons

1st through 5th grade activities

Most kids at every grade level love to use the computer for various reasons. So, it’s only natural that they would enjoy an online learning program like Time4MathFacts. It’s lessons are presented like video games, which are entertaining and excellent at keeping kids engaged. And the longer your kids are engaged and practicing their math, the better chance they have at mastering math fact fluency.

Additional online skill building tools include Time4Learning, which offers a full-time elementary math curriculum that can be used to review difficult concepts and reinforce your child’s math foundation. Homeschoolers and parents who are now distant learning can help your kids with math by checking out what’s included in Time4Learning’s math curriculum for each elementary grade level below:

The lessons at each grade level not only teach your kids “how” to do math, but also include deeper conceptual elements. This method builds a stronger math foundation and prepares your students for learning the five elementary school math strands, which include number sense and operations, algebra, geometry and spatial sense, measurement, and data analysis and probability.

Using the Kitchen for Building Math Skills

1st through 5th grade activities

Every recipe gives you the opportunity to increase your children’s math skills. And as they are using ¼ teaspoons and ½ cups, quiz them on measuring conversions such as how many ounces are in a ½ cup or how many tablespoons equal one ounce. It’s fun and the best part is, you enjoy the finished product! Kids also enjoy using measuring spoons and getting their hands a little messy, especially when they’re making chocolate cake. Following strict directions and sequencing are also a part of baking when helping your child with math at home.

Use Money to Reinforce Math Skills

1st through 3rd grade activities

Put your credit and debit cards aside and introduce your students to real money. Have your children sort the coins into separate piles, quiz them on how much each coin is worth and count out spare change. You can use change and bills to create addition, subtraction and multiplication problems. For instance, if it takes four quarters to equal one dollar, how many quarters will equal six dollars? 4 quarters x 6 = 24.

4th through 5th grade activities

This is the perfect time to start building financial literacy skills while using math and money. Teach your children how to budget, have them pay for products at the store and count out the change. Make a grocery list and budget a certain amount for groceries. You could bring a calculator to the store and have your children add up the prices as you shop. Teach them about comparison shopping. For example, if one product costs $3.99 and a similar product is on sale for $2.49 how much money will you be saving?

Use Stories to Teach Math

1st through 5th grade activities

This unlikely resource is amazing at helping your child with math at home. The books weave number problems throughout the story. For example, a review for the book The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat, states: “Penrose, a cat with a knack for math, takes children on an adventurous tour of mathematical concepts from fractals to infinity.” Other fun and effective books include:

  • Sir Cumference
  • The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat
  • The Number Devil
  • Murderous Maths
  • The Joy of Mathematics
  • Life of Fred
  • Night Noises
  • The Phantom Tollbooth

All of these math tips for elementary students will boost your child’s math fact fluency as they progress through school. They should also make your job less stressful as you teach math concepts using activities and resources that are not only engaging for you and your children, but also easily accessible. And let’s not forget about the entertainment value — it’s a win/win when your kids are learning math and having fun!

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