Kitchen + Kids = Math Fun
Kids need to experience math as part of each day and ordinary living. Here are some ways that kids can have math fun in the kitchen.
The most obvious way have math fun in the kitchen with kids is by cooking and baking together, but there is so much more. Young kids like to help, so when they are old enough, they can help set the table. Even if kids can not yet count accurately, they know that each person needs a plate. Kids can name each person and set a plate out for them. Or, if plates are breakable, maybe they can get the placemats and make sure each person has one.
This is called one-to-one matching and is crucial for developing number sense because one number means one thing. After the plates, there are the cups, and forks, and maybe napkins too.
As you work in the kitchen, kids can play with water at the sink. Let them have a few small containers, plastic spoons, scoops, and other tools. Spoons will only hold a little bit of water and even a small container will need many spoonfuls. That’s a math concept about volume. Kids will figure this out all by themselves if they have a chance to fill and empty over and over, with lots of different sizes of containers.
Dishes come in a variety of sizes. This can be pretty tricky. One child-size cup might be small, compared to an adult one, but could be big compared with a baby one. Three bowls could be almost the same size but who gets what bowl can be a big deal for kids. Food has different sizes too. Beside an apple, a strawberry is small but beside a blueberry it’s big.
A kitchen is a great place to look for different shapes. How many circles can your child find in the kitchen? As kids learn the shapes, they can look for squares, triangles, and rectangles. Being a shape detective can be exciting. When kids are old enough, play the game “I Spy”. Do you spy the blue triangle?
All of these incidental activities count. Oh, plus there’s lots to count in the kitchen too. Can you add to your child’s math fun in the kitchen?