Age is only a number, right? Well, for my four-year-old, numbers are everything. Literally. Everything. To say he likes numbers is an understatement. Obsessed is more like it. And for this right-brained mama, keeping a left-brained child entertained is at best tedious and, at worse, maddening.
I’m not a math fan. I was the one that always questioned when we were going to use what we learned in math class in “real life,” never thinking for a second that the real-life application would include parenting!
But here I am, constantly being asked what 467 + 2394 equals. Or worse, what it’s divided by! So if you’re like me and you loathe math but have a curious little person who’s consumed by numbers, then I may have some helpful tips on keeping them entertained. But please, don’t count on it!
Make it a game – FOR YOU!
Numbers ARE a game for my little guy, so I try and find the fun he sees in it. This includes using simple addition as part of our bedtime routine to get him excited to the count-down of bedtime (and bedtime makes me a very happy mama).
Find inspiration everywhere.
I’ll ask my son to stand in the 12th square of the tile floor to get him to stay still for a minute. Or ask him to eat the 6th piece of food on his plate, etc. Even the calorie count on the back of yogurts is a way to explain to him how strong he can be if he eats all his yogurt up to the 230 on the label (clearly, there’s some creative liberty here).
Ever hear of this one? Up until a month ago, I didn’t either. It’s a really cute BBC series that teaches multiplication through song and counting blocks. Kids love it. I don’t get it, but they do. Allowing him some screen-time watching this gives me a bit of a guilt-free break knowing at least it’s educational
The generic version of NUMBERBLOCKS, interlocking cubes that can be built into step-shapes and towers. Think of a 3-D version of Excel’s rows and columns. Colorful and cheap- roughly $10 per 100 blocks
Another obsession of my son’s. Not only great for the tactile learning of putting them together but creating shapes based on numbers of blocks
We enrolled our son in KUMON last year after 6 months home from daycare due to the pandemic. While he’s enrolled in both reading and math, the latter is what gets him excited to go every week. With daily homework, it’s an investment in time (and money), but it does set them up for success and creates 15-20 minutes of family time doing my son’s favorite thing, counting, of course… don’t tell him it’s “homework.”