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Math is everywhere – and fun for families! 

By Susan Hayes

Hartselle City Schools

Federal Programs Coordinator

Most families of elementary and intermediate school-aged children want to keep math skills sharp over school breaks and weekends, and if family time can be a part of that – that’s a bonus! 

Sites such as tasteofhome.com have no-bake recipes that parents and children can make together. This is fun for everyone, and it grows math skills. Depending on the age of your child, consider working with him or her on developing math skills with the following considerations: 

  1. Mix ingredients. Allow your child to measure and then add ingredients. 
  1. Mix ingredients. Double, triple or halve recipes, allowing your child to determine how to scale proportions. 
  1. Price the total recipe. Using your grocery receipt, have your child find the items used in the recipe and then determine what it cost you to make it. 
  1. Price each portion. Did you make two dozen of something? Have your child help you determine what each portion costs. 
  1. Consider a profit margin. You can have a conversation with your older child about what it might cost to sell the treats. Labor, power, water, packaging – a conversation about how businesses determine mark-ups and profits could be powerful. There are YouTube videos for children about profit margins that might spur your conversations. 

Several sites and Pinterest pages provide directions for making homemade cards with your children. Depending on the age of your child, consider working with him or her on developing math skills with the following considerations: 

  1. Though not specifically tied to math, using scissors and “dots of glue the size of an ant” and other such activities build fine motor skills in little hands and fingers. 
  1. Counting collections is a math skill that should be reinforced in 4-, 5- and 6-year-old students. So, if you are going to make 10 cards and need 20 charms for the cards, have your child count 20 from the collection. Alternatively, consider having your child sort the charms by sizes or colors and then count those collections. 
  1. If your child is a bit older, have him or her do the sorting and then determine how many cards can be made with the number of charms available. 
  1. Similarly, if you are cutting shapes from paper, have your child determine how many shapes can be cut from one sheet of paper and then how many pieces of paper will be needed to accomplish the task. 
  1. An older child can again consider profit margins. “If you wanted to make and then sell these cards, how much would you need to charge for each card to cover all of your materials costs? And what would your labor be worth?” 

Again, family time is important in the life of a child. Activities such as these can make holidays and weekends fun and academically rewarding. 

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