Fun In Teaching Young Kids Real World Math

Life Skills is something that many parents teach their children. It helps them navigate through the real world. Incorporating math in life skill lessons is important because  it helps people, including children, to describe how the world works. 

For example, a child knows that if he/she has one cookie and their sibling has two cookies then there is a difference. If a child has played with a toy for 5 minutes and another child played with it for 15 minutes, they can feel the discrepancy. 

In the examples above, children are using mathematics on deciding how they should feel about certain situations. As adults, let’s encourage and foster their learning by building on their knowledge of using everyday math.

These activities below will show you how to do it in a fun way with your children!

Let Get started!

Everyday Math at the Grocery Store

  1. Take your child with you to the grocery store.
  2. Have the child pick a food item they would like to pay for.
    • It could be their favorite food to eat such as apple sauce.
  3. Give the child more than enough money to pay for the item they choose.
    • Account for taxes
    • If the apple sauce costs $2.00, give them $4.00.
  4. Ensure the child gets the correct change back.
  5. Explain to the child that food costs money.
  6. The extra money added on to the prices is for taxes which helps pay for schools, roads, and parks.
  7. Explain how you got the money by going to work, starting a business, etc.
  8. Repeat this activity and incorporate more food items.
    • Once your child is able, have them calculate their change.
    • They can also calculate how much money is needed to pay for the item.

 Everyday Math in the Kitchen

  1. Find a recipe, such as brownies or cookies, that uses measurements such as teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups (or any measurement you use for cooking).
  2. Have measuring spoons and cups available to represent the teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces and cups.
  3. Have the recipe and ingredients available.
  4. Make the baked goods with the child.
  5. Discuss the difference between 1/2 and a full cup (use the equivalencies below to help with the explanation).
    • Put a 1/2 cup of flour in 1 cup to show that it only fills up 1/2 the cup.
  6. Explain the difference between tablespoons and teaspoons (use the equivalencies below to help with the explanation).
    • Put 3 teaspoons of flour in 1 tablespoon to show that 1 tablespoon is 3 times 1 teaspoon.
  7. Compare other measurements based on the chart below.

Equivalencies chart

  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp.) = 3 teaspoons (tsp.) = 1/2 fluid ounce (fl.oz.) = 1/16 cup
  • 1 cup = 8 fl.oz.
  • 1 pint (pt.) = 2 cups = 16 fl. oz.
  • 1 quart (qt.) = 2 pt. = 4 cups = 32 fl. oz.
  • 1 pound (lb.) = 16 ounces (oz.)


Everyday Math While You Take a Trip

Has your child ever asked you “Are we there yet” while taking a trip? Use everyday math to answer this question.

There are two ways to do this. One way is with time.

  1. Let’s say your family takes a trip that will last one hour (60 minutes) to get to your destination.
  2. Just before leaving for your trip, show your child the time.
    • Let’s say you are leaving at 4:00pm.
  3. Tell your child, you will get to your destination when the 4 turns into a 5, which is 5:00pm.
  4. Check in with your child every 10 minutes and do a countdown.
    • For example, at 4:10pm tell your child you have 50 minutes to go.
    • At 4:20pm tell your child you have 40 minutes to go.
    • You can also do this every 15 or 20 minutes if you like.
  5. This helps to decrease the constant asking of “Are we there yet?”
  6. If you stop to use the restroom, explain to your child that this will add time on to the trip.

Another Way to do this is with Landmarks

  1. Let’s say you are driving on the Interstate and you are on Exit 1 but your destination is near Exit 20.
  2. Tell your child when you get to Exit 20, you will be at your destination.
  3. Pinpoint every 2 or 5 exits until you reach the end of your trip.
  4. Have your child identify the Exit Numbers.
    • For example, ask your child to tell you when you have reached Exit 4 and then Exit 6.
    • You have just created an important task for your child.
    • They are helping you navigate and they can sense how long the trip will be.
    • This is also helping with number recognition!

Everyday Math while at Home

Introduce your child to Mortgage or Rent Payment with this activity.

  1. Explain to your child that your house or apartment costs money.
  2. People who live in an apartment pay Rent to the owner of the building called the Landlord.
  3. People who own their home, usually get a loan from the bank and pay the bank back with Interest.
  4. You can skip steps 2 and 3 if you think this is too advanced for your child.
  5. Your child is going to pay you rent at the first of each month with play money for their bedroom or any other room in your home.
  6. If you want to get technical, calculate how much your child’s room is worth with the formula below.
    • Get a percentage of your child’s room by dividing your child’s room square footage by the apartment or home’s square footage.
    • For example, if your home is 1,200 square feet and your child’s bedroom is 200 square feet, then their bedroom takes up 16 percent of the home.
    • Now calculate how much of the rent your child’s room represents.
    • If your mortgage is $1600 a month, then your child’s rent would be $256 (which is 16% of $1600.
  7. If you don’t want to get too technical, then come up with a simple figure, like $100, that your child can pay you each month for rent.
  8. You can even have them earn play money daily by doing the following…
    • Pay them a certain amount each day for cleaning up or following the rules.
    • This money can be used to pay their rent.


I hope you and your child enjoy these simple activities!

A great resource for similar activities is The Everything Everyday Math Book: From Tipping To Taxes, All the Real-World, Everyday Math Skills You Need by Christopher Monahan

Happy Learning!


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4 Simple and Fun Pumpkin Activities for Kids

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links.

Pumpkin activities

Every fall, I ask myself what are simple, fun, and educational pumpkin activities to do with my son.  We attend fall festivals in our county and get at least 4 pumpkins annually. This year, I was looking for activities that DID NOT require me to purchase more craft supplies from the store. I wanted to use items that we had on hand.

Below is what we did and had a blast!

Paint The Pumpkin

Materials Needed

 

  1. Put Newspapers or cloth on table for easy clean-up
  2. Put water in cup to clean paint brushes.
  3. Put napkins in paper plate #1 to clean and dry paint brushes.
  4. Put small sections of various color paints on paper plate # 2.
  5. Place pumpkin on table with newspaper/magazine paper or cloth.
  6. Let your child be creative and paint the pumpkin.

 

paint set up
This is our set up before starting to paint.

 

Pick, Count, and Cook Pumpkin Seeds

Materials Needed

 

  1. Place pumpkin on cutting board or pan in front of child.
  2. Give the child a spoon and have them scoop out the seeds.
  3. If they are having difficulty using the spoon, have them use their hands.
  4. Instruct child to put seeds in bowl.
  5. Have the child count the seeds while scooping.
  6. Another option is for the child to count the seeds at the end of the activity.
  7. Roast the pumpkin seeds for a great snack!

 

Scooping pumpkin seeds with spoon!

 

Make Pumpkin Soup with Rice

Materials Needed

  1. Follow our Pumpkin Soup with Rice Recipe.
  2. Have fun eating it with your family!

 

Access Our Pumpkin Soup with Rice Recipe

at the bottom of this post!

 

Have a Science Lesson and Learn about Decomposition

Materials Needed (please note this activity came from Sid the Science Kid Season 1 Episode 6 called Mushy Banana)

  1. Once the painted pumpkin has started to decay put it in a large plastic bag or container.
  2. Let the pumpkin decompose until it changes colors.
  3. Put plastic gloves on the child before touching pumpkin.
  4. Stay close to the child to ensure they don’t put the pumpkin in their mouth.
  5. Have the child feel the pumpkin and compare it to a fresh pumpkin.
  6. Have the child take a closer look by using their magnifying glass.
  7. Ask the child the following questions…
  • How is the pumpkin different from the fresh pumpkin?
  • How does it smell?
  • What colors do you see?
  • How does it feel?
  1. Put Pumpkin in the compost when complete.

 

He is analyzing a decayed pumpkin!

 

We cut the pumpkin in quarters and now he examines the decayed flesh.

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Get the password for the library with Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Rice Recipe by completing this form. Once you press the GET ACCESS NOW button, we will send you an email with the password. Then go to SOY Resource Library and enter the password.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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