My kids love doing math. It is the one subject that I rarely ever have to remind them to do. Maybe they were wired with an affinity for numbers. Maybe it is a learned passion. Maybe it is a bit of both.
I do not know exactly what is stems from, but I do know that we often do math differently than I was taught in school. For us, math can be a grab-n-go fun-filled activity. Gone are the days of black and white timed math drills. We have a tote with several math manipulatives to make learning math facts a fun activity.
Dice. We have standard 6-sided dice as well as 12-sided and 20-sided dice. You can find these at most educational stores but I have found the best prices at game stores. Simply roll 2, 3, 4 or more dice and add, subtract, multiply or divide as quick as you possibly can. Sometimes each child will roll a die (generating three numbers) and each child will quickly provide the answer to their individual equation… i.e. Bookworm Beauty will multiply all three, Sweetness will multiply two of them and add the third, and The Boy will add all three of them. To take this even further, you can purchase a die with a different operation on each side.
Dominoes. We love dominoes. When we use them for math games we use them much the same way as we use the dice, except instead of picking multiple dominoes they typically choose a single domino out of a bag and perform their operation with the two numbers on it. There are sets available in Double 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18. Some have numbers printed on them, others have color-coded dot patterns. We have a set of Double-Twelve dominoes. This allows the kids to learn their math facts through 12. Our set has dots instead of numbers, which I really appreciate, as it allows the kids to practice quick pattern recognition.
Playing cards. When using playing cards, the kids pick up 2 cards and perform their operation with them. They can choose cards from a pile, a bag, deal them out, lay them out as you would to play a memory game (and keep the pairs that are answered correctly), or any other way that you can imagine.
There are unlimited ways to practice math facts. Having a set of dice or cards in the car can make restaurant trips fun and waiting times seem shorter. If you have the car blues, turn license plates into math games. Virtually anything that contains numbers can be transformed into mathematical fun.
I have noticed that my children have gained speed in recalling their math facts and performing mental math on longer equations. It sure beats the old flash cards… although we have those too!
What fun ways do your children practice math facts?