math at homeThe holiday season is upon us and we will be shopping and cooking more than we usually do. This is an excellent time for us to teach children about money and measurement!  Why am I focusing this post on money and measurement?  I have to admit it is mostly because I have reviewed test scores of elementary and middle school students for many years and these skills always seem to need improvement, but I also write this now because it is so easy to implement the ideas below during this amazing time of year.

Money
We are a society that shops with visa and mastercards and children are not getting enough interaction with cash.  Look below for ideas on providing your child additional interactions with money this holiday season.

  • Whenever possible, purchase items with cash.  Let your child observe you counting cash.
  • Better yet, if the line behind you is short, let them count out the bills and coins for the cashier, then move aside to let them count the change you receive.
  • Ask children to estimate the cost of the items in your buggy.  Have them compare their estimate to the actual cost.
  • Provide children a specific amount of cash to purchase gifts for family members and friends.  Help them make a budget to determine how much they will spend on each person.
  • Collect each day’s change in a jar for a month.  Ask your child to count and wrap the coins.  Donate the collected money to the charity of your child’s choice.

Measurement
The need for measuring is everywhere this season!  Why measure a line drawn on a worksheet in a classroom when there are so many real life applications available?  The examples below are creative ways to include the use of measurement in your daily activities.

  • Help your child understand the unit ratio by having them compare the cost of similar items using cost per oz.  It really helps that many grocery stores put this information on store shelves along with the price.
  • Ask your child to estimate the weight of fruits and vegetables.  Let your child use the grocer’s scale to weigh each item.
  • Countdown to family gatherings and holiday events using a calendar. Ask your child questions like, “How many days until…, How many weeks until…, Which day of the week does the holiday party fall on,” and other similar questions.
  • Ask your child to calculate the surface area of gifts needing wrapped and the perimeter of a window to determine how many lights you will need to hang. Use standard and metric measurement.
  • Provide your child multiple opportunities to measure the ingredients needed for a favorite recipe.

I can’t think of a better way to review money and measurement than the many real life situations that occur during the holidays. Who knows, maybe the ideas you implement during the holidays, will carry over year round!

If you have additional ideas for implementing practice with money and measurement at home, leave me a comment.  I’m always looking for new ideas.

Angela Culley

Angela Culley

Owner & Tutor at Math Ninja, LLC
As the founder of Math Ninja, Angela provides online and in person math tutoring for all ages including those studying for the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, PPST, and other math specific subject assessments. Prior to launching her business, Angela coached K-12 educators on effective teaching strategies, curriculum writing, and assessment development.As a classroom teacher, she taught math to students ranging from grade 5 - 12. She has also taught both undergraduate and graduate math courses as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia and Mountain State University.
Angela Culley
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