3 Ways to Make Math Learning Fun for Kids

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Kids Learn Math” by j4p4n is licensed under CC by 2.0

Start young. A parent is the first teacher a child knows before she goes to school. Starting young would mean encouraging the kids to look at numbers in a fun, playful manner. For instance, counting the plates set on the dining table at mealtimes, counting the number of cookies in the baking tray, counting out the small change at the supermarket. Kids will not realize they are learning while going about these small everyday tasks.
Practice every day. A little bit of math every single day should be made a part of your child’s routine so that she doesn’t take it as a headache or an arduous task to be completed. The key here is to get kids into the habit of playing with numbers regularly – be it through simple worksheets, online games or tutorials.
Introduce math into play. It could be anything – counting out money in a game of monopoly, exploring and segregating geometric shapes of different types into separate piles, playing hopscotch or dice games – the list is endless.

Kids don’t really hate math when they say they do; it’s more often than not a case of being afraid of it because they do not understand it well enough. A healthy amalgamation of the above three factors could go a long way in getting rid of the math phobia in kids.

About Kids & Santa Claus

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Santa Claus” by Isacvale is licensed under CC by 2.0

Literally speaking, Santa Claus(es) are quite omnipresent as Christmas and New Year draw near. You find a whole lot of them everywhere, albeit in similar red outfits and white beards and twinkling eyes. As a kid, for a considerable number of years I was of the firm conviction that Santa actually exists. I remember it was fascinating to imagine the magical man descending to our warm homes all the way from North Pole, bearing gifts that we found under the Xmas tree. And then one fine day, I ended up asking my grandmother if Santa is for real; much to my mother’s chagrin, her mother decided to spill the beans as I was ‘a big girl’ by then.

The other day I chanced upon an article which talked about Santa-related research and the science (yes, science) of why kids have such firmly rooted beliefs which wane with time about Saint Nicholas. Apparently, there is some psychology behind it. To quote from the study:
‘The influential child psychologist Jean Piaget proposed that around age 8 children enter the “concrete operational stage” of thinking- a critical, observant phase of questioning impossible things. Is the North Pole cold? How do you fit inside a chimney?”

Surprisingly enough, researchers observed that it was parents who ended up being more woebegone than their kids, once their kids knew the sad truth about Santa. I can pretty much imagine myself feeling the same, which seems to be evident in the near future. No wonder my mother felt the way she did back then!

2 Spooky Halloween Crafts for Kids

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Bat” by Schmidsi is licensed under CC by 2.0

Hanging Bats: Though bats are quite spooky in real life, the handmade crafty ones that hang upside down can look quite cool too. There are many different and simple ways to make them. For instance, you could ask your little one to paint the outside of an old toilet paper roll black (the body of the bat), stick two pieces of black elastic onto one end (for the legs), add webbed cardboard wings to the sides of the black-painted roll (just glue or staple them on), stick on google eyes on the end opposite to where you’ve tied up the black elastic and simply tie it up using the two elastic pieces to resemble an upside-down bat on your tree in the backyard.

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Cute” by OpenClipart-Vectors is licensed under CC by 2.0

Mummies: The same toilet paper rolls or old discarded cans can be used to make mummies. Get hold of either one of them and use cheap toilet paper or tissue paper or even white stick-on tape to wrap around it round and round in a haphazard manner, such that the entire roll or can is covered on its curved surface. Stick on google eyes and add a lopsided evil grin with a black marker and your mummies are ready to occupy pride of place on the mantelpiece, on your front porch or even as accompaniments to each plate on the Halloween dinner table.




2 Simple DIY Science Experiments for Home

Science is everywhere around us. It is in the airplanes that fly, in the colors we see around us, in the storms that occur every now and then, in the music we enjoy and in the trees whistling through the winds. Explaining certain fundamental aspects of science to children becomes simpler in the form of simple science experiments for kids which can be carried out with everyday objects around us.

Here are two such examples of easy DIY science activities that talk about the concepts of bubbles in water and eggs, raw versus hardboiled.

The Bubbly Experiment
Why does water splash and form bubbles in a tub or bucket when it flows into it from a height in the form of a stream?

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Water” by brainralien is licensed under CC by 2.0

Requirements:
A wide-mouthed bowl, a glass tumbler, some water.

Procedure & Observations:
• Pour water both into the wide-mouthed bowl and the glass tumbler upto the halfway mark in each.
• Holding the tumbler at a slightly higher level above the bowl, start pouring water from the tumbler into the bowl.
• You will see bubbles forming on the surface on the water.
• Now hold the tumbler lower (nearer to the bowl) and start pouring water again from the tumbler into the bowl from a lesser height than in the previous step.
• This time around, you will not see any bubbles forming on the surface of the water.

Explanation:
The answer lies in the formation of air pockets which cause bubbles to form when the water is poured into the bowl from a considerable height. While falling, air gets trapped in the stream of water and forms a number of pockets of air. When the stream of water strikes the surface of water with force (since it is from a height), it breaks through the upper surface or skin of water, forcing the pockets of air to come out as bubbles back on to the surface. On the other hand, when water falls into the bowl from a considerably lesser height (close to the surface of water), no air pockets are formed, it does not break through the upper surface of water and hence no bubble formation occurs.

The Eggy Experiment
You have two eggs. One is raw and the other is boiled. How would you find out which one is which, since both appear the same from the outside?

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Egg” by WerbeFabrik is licensed under CC by 2.0

Requirements:
A raw (unboiled) egg, a boiled egg, a flat table top.

Procedure & Observations:
• On a flat table top, place the first egg. Spin it like a top gently.
• Do the same with the second egg and allow it to spin too.
• Next, gently stop each egg from spinning.
• One egg will stop spinning as soon as you apply force with your fingers.
• The other egg will also eventually stop, but will roll around a bit unsteadily even after you’ve applied gentle force with your fingers to stop its motion.

Explanation:
The egg which stops spinning altogether as soon as force is applied to it is the hard-boiled egg. This particular egg will also start spinning the instant you apply force to it in the right direction. This is because it has solidified from within and behaves like a single solid body. On the other hand, the raw egg wobbles a bit unsteadily when you try to stop it from spinning and does not come to rest immediately. This is because inside it there is liquid yolk and egg white which resist the force of motion. As a result of inertia, the shell outside is spun but the liquid part inside is still at rest and does not start moving instantaneously. It is the same inertia which prevents it from stopping altogether once force is applied against it. Inertia can be defined as ‘the property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.

Have you carried out any interesting science experiments with your kids at home? Feel free to add to this list.

2 Fun Back to School Activities for Kids

September means it’s back to school time. Although the phrase ‘back to School’ does not seem to fit along with ‘fun’ or ‘games’, here are two fun ideas related to both of the above.

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Back To School” by stux is licensed under CC by 2.0

Liven it up: Needless to say, a majority of the kids would still be in the holiday mood when they trudge back to school. In order to liven them up before getting down to books and other serious stuff, here’s a simple activity that can prep them up. Clap in a certain pattern and add a funny sound to it (say it aloud) intermittently. Ask the students to do the same along with you. In no time at all, the kids will all be giggling and clapping their way to become wide awake, minus any lethargy.

A Holiday Questionnaire: If a teacher asks kids to write out an essay about their holidays, it may not warrant the same interest as that of a questionnaire/worksheet with specific questions. For instance, ‘3 things that you enjoyed the most during your holidays’, or ‘What got you bored during the holidays?’ or ‘Name and describe a game that you played in your holidays’ etc. When everyone is done, the kids could come and read out their answers in front of the class. This could make it a fun exercise for every child.

The basic underlying goal is to get the kids opened up and active after a couple of months hiatus, and have fun in the process before getting down to homework and schoolwork.
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brionnasimpson

Author:brionnasimpson
I am an assistant teacher and my aim is to curate unique learning tips and techniques customized towards kids.

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