How to use money to engage your child with math!

March 13, 2015

Many children struggle to find enjoyment in math. This is often because the way the subject is traditionally taught is full of drills and memorization, and practically devoid of fun. A sure-fire way to amp up your child’s interest level in math is to break the association with boring drills and create an association with something a child likes or has a use for.

Most children are at least aware of the concept of money. They know it has more value than most other pieces of metal and paper, even if they’re not quite sure what that value is. Introducing children to the value of money early not only serves as a great tool for learning simple math facts, but it also helps lay the foundation for financial literacy throughout life.

Money and finance can be used in a variety of different ways to help kids from preschool to college strengthen their math skills. For a small child, focus first on the value of the coins and bills. Teach your child exactly what each piece means, and make a game of helping them memorize it. If your child is having trouble grasping the concept of the currency’s worth, create a mini store of small treats and set value to them. If they assign the right coin or bill to the item, let them “buy” it.

For more advanced children who know the value of a dime, use money to make arithmetic more exciting. When on a shopping trip with your child, have them add the prices of a few items together or multiply an item’s price by the amount you’re purchasing to find the total cost. This is easily adjusted for the math level that your child is working towards, whether they’re just starting to add or are multiplying multi-digit numbers.

For older children money math can be used in the form of finance. Open a savings account with your child and help them learn about earning interest and different ways of investing. Help them learn about responsible saving by encouraging them to put a certain percentage (5% or 10%) in savings each time they’re given or earn money. Show them how even small growth at a steady pace will make a big difference over time.

Though many adults think of math with a grumble, we have the great opportunity to change the way the next generation sees numbers. By presenting math and arithmetic in a way that is creative and enjoyable, we can lay a pathway enjoyment for kids that can not only take them successfully through school, but into a successful career involving mathematics.

Written by Abby Ball, Center Director – Colleyville

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