Math Phobia with Children and Families

I suspect that Math phobia starts at an early age. And the family’s culture either helps develop or prevent the phobia among children-starting at an early age. Sue Shellenbarger provided a piece in the Wall Street Journal in August 2012 to help families engage in neat math-related activities with preschoolers and elementary school-ages children. These and others of their types can go a long way to complement homework assigned from school and fend off math phobia:
Preschool age-appropriate
1. Build a tower of blocks and have child do so along side yours to look just like yours. (Later count the blocks.)
2. Point to peas or other foods on a plate and count them.
3. Have child place wiffle balls or other small objects into a muffin tin or egg carton–count as they go.
4. Draw a chalk number line on the sidewalk and then jump to certain places on the number line. Ex. “Jump to number 5”
Elementary age-appropriate
1. Make a game of finding geometric shapes around the home, asking “How many triangles can you find?”
2. Use fractions to divide recipe ingredients while helping cook in kitchen, asking “how many one-quarter cups make a cup?”
3. Bank a child’s allowance weekly, track balances and figure out how many more weeks are needed before they can buy a toy or book they want.
4. Figure out how long a trip to a family relative’s house will take by plane or car.
5. Cut pies, pizza, apples or other foods into halves, fourths, fifths, etc., ask, “Which is bigger?”
Good luck! A nation at economic risk needs fewer math phobics and more math giants. It starts early!

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