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Think about the last time that you used math. Was it when you cooked dinner last night? Was it when you visited the store yesterday? Was it when you were keeping score at your children’s soccer match? What all the above situations have in common is that these are situations in which we used mathematical skills and concepts to function in everyday life. An essential element of math instruction to keep in mind when you are working your children with math at home is to help your children understand that math skills are valuable in our daily routines. When children recognize that they need to use math on a daily basis, they may be more motivated to mathematical concepts. Here are three examples of how to relate math concepts to real-life.


#1 Cook with your children

  • Counting.  Your child can count the number of ingredients that you put in a recipe.
  • Measurement.  Your children can measure the amount of water or rice needed for a recipe or tell the temperature of food using a food thermometer.
  • Multiplication.  Your children can multiply the amount of ingredients needed to halve or double a recipe.

#2 Go shopping with your children

  • Counting Money.  Your children can make the correct amount of cash to pay the cashier.
  • Estimation and Addition.  Your children can round the prices of various products and add their estimations to come up with a sum that approximates the cost.
  • Estimation and Multiplication.  If you are buying multiple copies of a product, your children can round the cost of the product and multiply the estimate by the number of products being purchased to come up with a product that approximates the cost.
  • Subtraction.  Your children can use subtraction to determine how much change you will receive.

#3 Your children can practice math when they play sports.

  • Addition.  Your children can keep track of the score. This can get complicated. Just think about keeping track of football scoring.
  • Subtraction.  Your children can subtract to determine the amount of time that is left in a quarter or period of a game.
  • Angles.  Your child can use angles to determine the best shot to make to a soccer goal.