People like the feeling of learning and understanding things through experience. Children are no exception. Learning and understanding through experience can be best summarized in a four-letter word - GAME.
Adults sometimes forget how much effort it takes to learn simple math concepts for young children.
Take for example, a child can recognize that there are 9 items in a collection but do not know how to express it in numerical terms. Sometimes children with learning difficulties don’t even know what a numerical 5 represents.
So how do we deal with easing the learning of Math for children - whether they have learning difficulties or not?
Simple - Math games !
Math games help children learn what numbers are and what they mean.
Developing Problem Solving Skills
Math games encourage children's problem-solving skills and an independent attitude - values that are crucial to support a child's early learning journey and later, academic success.
According to a research paper by Jo Adetunji*, children who played more games at ten years old were on average no more intelligent than children who didn’t game, they showed the most gains in intelligence after two years, in both boys and girls.
For example, a child who was in the top 17% in terms of hours spent gaming increased their IQ about 2.5 points more than the average child over two years.
For those parents bothered by their children playing games, you can now feel better knowing that it’s probably making them a tad smarter.
Learning to Socialize
Games also provide an inevitable situation where children have to interact with other children (whether they are nice or not!) and learn how to manage their friends, teachers’ expectations while managing their own behavior.
For kids between 6 and 12 years, board games provide a structure to learn social skills that are necessary for living successfully. They master counting and taking turns, plus they use their memory. They learn about fairness and the consequences of cheating.
When parents play together, they can guide their children’s thinking and instill values, everything from fair competition to assertiveness and generosity. It’s a time for conversation that in the busy-ness today’s families might otherwise be lost.
According to psychologists, the Marshmallow experiment* is one of the best indicators of a child’s propensity for success in later life.
This experiment simply tests a child’s resolve not to take a marshmallow and wait 15 minutes so he/she can get another marshmallow - so if a child waits and exercises delayed gratification, he/she will receive 2 marshmallows instead of just that one on the table.
Games teach children to be patient and manage their emotions while interacting with other people. Very importantly it also teaches them about losing - a concept not well taught in school where academic results are very important.
In our next article we will explore some games you can play with your child to help ease your child’s math learning and overcome his/her fear of learning numbers.
How we help!
Mentalmatics offers lessons that incorporate Math with games just to help students learn, socialize and develop better self management skills. It’s a lot of fun to learn Math!
To find out more, make a reservation to talk to us from the link below!