Teaching Children Math Through Everyday Activities

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We use math all the time – from comparing prices at the grocery store to measuring ingredients in recipes. But your kids may not realize just how much math they use every day. Help your children build their math skills and get excited about numbers with a variety of platforms – including television and board games.


Television Shows

Charismatic characters can give your kids a new view of math – as a colorful, exciting way to solve problems and discover more about the world around them. Several shows are designed with your children’s budding math skills in mind.

Peg + Cat

Where to find it: PBS

Peg and her curious cat, appropriately named Cat, embark on various adventures and use math along the way. Silly, catchy songs will keep your kids tuned in. This series premiered in October 2013.

Schoolhouse Rock! – Math

Where to find it: YouTube or DVDs at the library

These short, animated videos that ran between episodes of Saturday morning cartoons from 1973 to 1985 have become classics. Zero in on math by typing “Schoolhouse Rock math” into a YouTube search box.


Where to find it: PBS, Netflix

Your kids can join Jackie, Inez and Matt in saving Cyberspace from the evil villain, Hacker. There are eight seasons your kids can watch now, and new episodes are coming.

Team Umizoomi

Where to find it: Nickelodeon (Nick Jr.)

Shapes, patterns, measurements and more come to life in this show that features Milli, Geo and Bot. Kids are invited to develop their “Mighty Math Powers!”


Math-Related Websites

Thanks to these sites, ramping up their math skills is just a few clicks away.


Target Age: Grade school

Check out the Math Arcade on FunBrain.com for a variety of quick games where your child can choose the level. If she’s a soccer fan, have her try the Soccer Shootout. For budding baseball players, play ball with numbers in the Math Baseball game. There’s a whole list of games to try beyond sports.


Target Age: Middle school

“I’ll take Math Factors for 100, please.” So begins a game of Factors and Multiples on Math-Play.com’s Middle School Math Games section. Players get to choose their names and teams to start playing. Other games include Integers Jeopardy!, Walk the Plank, Place Value Millionaire and more quiz-type fun that will keep your kids’ math skills sharp.


Target Age: High school

To help your high schooler hone his or her math skills, review MathPlanet.com. There are no games on this site. Instead, your child selects an area of focus from the column on the right-hand side of the screen. He or she can choose subjects like algebra, algebra II and geometry. Then, select the topic where you need more help. The web page walks you through the basics, gives the user examples and then includes a video explaining each concept.


Smartphone Applications

What do you get when you add a dose of education to your child’s screen time? A way better equation for educational excellence. These math-based apps all get a’s for good times and good grades.

Count TV

  • Target Age: 3
  • Smartphone Type: iPhone
  • Cost: $2.99

For kids who already follow along with The Count on Sesame Street, this app is sure to please. Count Von Count invites your kids to pick a number to watch videos all about … you guessed it, counting!

Kids Numbers And Math

  • Target Age: 6
  • Smartphone Type: Android
  • Cost: Free to $2.99

For beginning math minds, this app helps kids recognize numbers, beef up their counting skills and start addition and subtraction problems. Bright-colored pictures keep your kids engaged while they’re learning.

Freefall Money

  • Target Age: 7
  • Smartphone Type: iPhone
  • Cost: $1.99

What child doesn’t want to fill her piggy bank with money? That’s exactly what she can do with this app that uses money to motivate. Kids use coins to add up to various amounts of money – and use the virtual cash they earn playing the game to purchase fish for a tropical tank (virtual too).

Slice It!

  • Target Age: 10
  • Smartphone Type: iPhone and Android
  • Cost: $0.99

In this app, your child learns how to complete different puzzles using math. He’ll need to slice shapes into a certain number of parts while keeping the area the same.

Fun Math Tricks

  • Target Age: 12
  • Smartphone Type: Android
  • Cost: $0.99

Remember all those tricks your math teacher used to teach you to complete equations quickly? Now your child can have them at his fingertips using this handy app.

Math With Your Friends

  • Target Age: All ages; appeals to high schoolers looking to mix social media and math games
  • Smartphone Type: iPhone and Android (coming soon)
  • Cost: Free

You may have heard of the popular app Words With Friends. Well, this game-based app builds on the same idea using numbers and math equations. Your teen can play against a friend or challenge players from across the globe.

Quick Graph +

  • Target Age: High School and college-aged students
  • Smartphone Type: iPhone
  • Cost: $1.99

Forget buying a graphing calculator. Use this app on your smartphone instead.


Board Games

Any game that involves counting money or using dice helps build number skills. These classics will encourage your child to become a math whiz!


Ages: Depends on edition; some target kids as young as 4

This board game has been around since 1935. It pits players against each other to make wise deals to buy up properties to win the game. Today there are several versions, from the classic (ages 8-plus) to Monopoly Despicable Me 2 (4 and up).


Ages: Depends on edition; some target kids as young as 4

By rolling five die, players rack up points. After several rounds, the player with the most wins. Try the classic edition (ages 8 and up), SpongeBob SquarePants Yahtzee Jr. (ages 4 and up) – and themes like Spider-Man, Glee, Disney Princess and more.


Ages: Depends on edition; some target kids as young as 4

By making lines of ascending, descending or matching numbers with their stack of number tiles, players try to get rid of their entire pile. Two to four can participate using 106 number tiles. The classic edition is for kids ages 8 and up; Disney Rummikub and Rummikub Start Right start at age 4.

Connect Four

Ages: 7 and up

Ready to make some noise? With Connect Four, two players compete to – you guessed it – connect four of their game pieces. The upright board is open enough for players to slip in their game pieces – either red or black checkers. It’s almost like playing tic-tac-toe in the air.


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