Guide To Improving Mental Math Skills In Children

Mental math is the act of solving mathematical problems in one’s head, without using external aids like calculators. While mental math may not be part of your child’s school curriculum, many educators have vouched that developing mental math skills is integral to improving a child’s number sense, which involves concepts like basic addition and subtraction. Read on to find out how you can improve your child’s mental math skills! 

Craft Word Problems

Many children lose interest in learning math when they don’t find the content stimulating. One easy way to tackle this would be to integrate innovative word problems into your child’s learning. You can do this by crafting word problems that are based on your child’s interests and include names of people they know as characters. This makes the word problem more relatable to them and increases their motivation to engage with the content. 

For instance, if your child enjoys having chocolate and candies as snacks, you could create a scenario in an addition and subtraction problem that involves the trading of chocolates and candies between your child and their sibling. 

Utilize Digital Apps and Websites 

Your child might find the rhythm of completing worksheets to be too monotonous and repetitive. If your child has a tablet or phone of their own, one alternative to this could be using a math game from an app or website to amplify their learning. These programs usually feature a rich diversity of engaging content that hone a range of problem-solving abilities while developing your child’s mental math skills. In the age of digital technology, these programs are now accessible to everyone. 

Create Mnemonic Devices 

Studies have shown that self-directed learning has been effective in improving fact fluency and memory retention. Employing mnemonic devices like rhymes and imagery in children’s learning is useful for simplifying more complex and content-rich problems, allowing them to easily remember basic facts and information in the long-term. 

To expand your child’s learning experience, you can even plan an activity for them to create their own mnemonic devices, such as rhymes or riddles. Through this creative process, they will be more likely to remember these important facts and information as well as eventually integrate them into their mental math skills. 

Use the Taped-Problem Approach

You might not have heard of this strategy before, but this taped-problem approach was pioneered in a 2004 study. It aims to help individuals develop their math fact fluency and relies heavily on an auditory style of learning. In this strategy, your child will have to listen to a math question or fact that is being read out in the form of an audio recording and write down their own answer during the short pause before the actual answer is revealed. 

If they get the answer wrong or are unable to solve the problem, they will have to cross it out and write down the right response. You can even lengthen the pauses so they don’t depend on simply waiting for the answers. In the long-term, this will help train your child’s ability to retain facts and information more effectively.  

Your One-Stop Center for Boundless Learning 

At JEI Learning Center, we believe that every child’s inner potential and natural abilities can be unlocked with an approach that addresses their learning needs. Our internationally acclaimed JEI Self-Learning Method® develops your child’s confidence with an individually paced, step-by-step program. To find out more, contact our dedicated team at any of our learning centers near you.