All Children Can Succeed at Math

Fun tips to help children master math.


Everyone can succeed at math. Parents can help their children master math and dispel the notion that math is difficult by “talking math” with children as they use it in everyday activities whether it be shopping, cooking or dining out. Our math experts believe that by combining traditional math drills and memorization of math facts and formulas with real-life examples and activities, math becomes more approachable and math discovery becomes fun. Using games and activities is a great way to encourage math discovery and enhance basic skills.

Here are some tips and ideas to help your children have fun and become successful at solving math problems:

1. Play popular board games that require basic math skills. Chutes and Ladders® and RackO® develop number sense.  24 and Yahtzee® help computation speed and accuracy. Problem solving skills are developed through games like TriOminos® and Connect Four®.

2. Review previously learned math concepts before tackling new assignments. Starting with familiar concepts helps build your child’s retention and confidence.

3. Ask your child’s math teacher for a schedule of math topics. Take time to develop two projects or exercises per week that will reinforce what your child is learning in class.

4. Work with your child to solve math problems using multiple methods.

5. This will help your child develop a fuller understanding of the computation concepts.

6. Provide pictorial examples of math concepts. Draw or collect pictures of animals, objects or people to show addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fractions.

7. If your child receives an allowance, use it to formulate mathematical problems and teach him or her about saving. For older children, relate percentage problems to their allowance.

8. Allow your child to plan the next family trip. Help him or her to compute miles, cost of gas and the expenses incurred for food and hotels.

9. Don’t let problems with math linger. Since math builds on previously learned concepts, it is essential to identify and address problems early so they don’t compound (to use a math term).

10. Assemble puzzles with your child. Puzzles help children learn spatial and visual organization. These are the basic lessons of geometry.

11.  A deck of cards can be a valuable math tool. Card games begin to teach the lesson of probability and reinforce addition and subtraction memorization for children learning basic math facts.

12. Dice are helpful for younger children to practice number facts to six. If they are stumped, they can count the dots to find the sum.

13. Relate math to your child’s favorite sport.  Keeping score is a math exercise! Ask him or her to calculate the number of points needed for his favorite team to win. Encourage him or her to create multiple point combinations to reach that score.

14. Play car games such as “guess my number.”  This will reinforce logic skills with children of all ages.

Dominoes are a great game for children of all ages. Smaller children can use them to recognize similar quantities while older children can explore the concepts of probability.

15. Encourage your child to do math aloud and to explain the series of steps used to solve the problem.

Follow your child’s progress through his or her math book, tests and homework.

16. Use Sylvan Learning’s online Math Activity Booklet to help sustain and renew children’s interests in math learning and discovery. Visit the “Parent Resources” area of and download or print 30 days of math writing topics, trivia, questions and puzzles.