5 Sneaky Ways to Get the Kids to Practice Math Skills

My kids love school--and always have. We were fortunate that bags full of library books and random science, arts, and crafts projects were always hanging out in the family room! Getting in some math practice was a little more complicated, though. The girls were all decent math students--but didn't love to practice math with worksheets or flashcards. If you are looking for ways to help the kids practice math skills without doing worksheets or math projects--here are five sneaky ways to get the kids to practice math skills.


Head to the Kitchen. Cooking with the kids is a great way to reinforce and practice math skills! From counting ingredients for little ones to measuring, timing, and estimating tasks for older kids, recipes offer many opportunities to use numbers and math skills in the real world. I was the mom who gave the kids one measuring spoon (usually a 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon) so that cooking became a serious fraction refresher as they measured out the proper amounts of ingredients with one size spoon or cup! Check out our Cooking with Kids section for some recipes our girls have loved over the years!

Build Something. Building simple projects- like making a kite from scratch or a birdhouse from a birdhouse building kit- is another excellent way to teach the kids some life skills along with their math skills! Planning, drawing out designs, measuring, and problem-solving all give kids a great way to see fractions, geometry, and STEM skills in practice. We have taken the kids to special workshops at our local home improvement store to build derby cars and bird houses. They are also learning to use some small hand tools and basic construction skills that will be useful for life.


Play a Game. Before technology, I grew up with great board games to reinforce math skills! Games like Monopoly, Trouble, Blokus, and Equate top my list for counting and problem-solving skills and learning about money and math equation operations. I also love online games as a way to encourage the kids to use technology for learning as well as fun! The younger kids love logic puzzle games, and the Sokoban game on is a simple, fun game to practice spatial awareness, cause and effect, and problem-solving as they maneuver their boxes into place on their game board. My older girls have always loved Sudoku--but I was recently able to turn them on to the Nonograms game on the site too!


Starting a Game of Nonograms at


Make Music--or Listen to Music. Music teaches so much about rhythms, patterns, and special counting skills. Whether using music to practice counting or rhythms directly or taking advantage of The Mozart Effect --there are scientific studies that point to a beneficial solid correlation between math and music.  


Get Moving with Math. One of my best purchases was a simple, electronic math activity mat on which the girls could step or jump to solve math equations. The Math Mat Challenge Game was fun for them to practice math facts and number recognition without flashcards! Every game was a competitive race, keeping them up and moving for a while.


Give one of these ideas a try when you want to add in some educational fun to your family's day! 

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