If your child has a hard time trying to learn math, you might consider using manipulatives. What are manipulatives you ask?

Well don’t let the term scare you. I found an article that will help explain them and also give you some examples of how to utilize them!

Check it out:

**Three Easy Ways To Help With Elementary Math**

Are you worried about giving adequate help with elementary math to your child? Has your child ever brought home math homework and you have no idea how to assist them? Students no longer learn math the way you and I learned math. They are now exploring, drawing, and developing their own strategies to solve a problem. This leaves many parents in the dark about how to help their child in math. In addition, some people just are not “math people” and therefore feel like they don’t know how to help their child. I am going to give you three easy ways to help with elementary math from home.

Help with Elementary Math Tip #1- One of the easiest ways for a child to learn math concepts is to use manipulatives. Manipulatives are items that your child can move around, group, take away from, add to, etc. These can be anything you have in your house (beans, skittles, grapes, etc.).Manipulatives help children who are struggling in math because they help to bring the problem to life. Your child will now be able to “act out” the story problem, which helps them better understand what they are supposed to do in order to work out the problem or equation.

When children use manipulatives they show the word problem using the manipulatives. For instance, if a child was dividing 72 by 9, he or she would count out 72 beans and then group them into groups of 9. He or she would then count how many groups they have to find their answer. To extend this activity, students can label what they are doing so they can connect the manipulatives with drawings or numbers.

Help with Elementary Math Tip #2- If you don’t have manipulatives at home or if they are completing their work in the car, before baseball practice, or anywhere that manipulatives are not available your child can draw pictures. It might seem too simple to be true, but I have had many experiences where a child was stuck on a problem until they drew a picture and visually saw the problem instead of simply reading it. Drawing pictures of the word problem or equation helps a child see exactly what they are going to do in the problem. They are also able to manipulate the items they are working with, which makes it more fun and meaningful to them.

Drawings work a lot like manipulatives, but students are now strictly using paper and pencil and drawings instead of physically manipulating items. To make this activity more meaningful, your child should label their drawing with numbers, skip counting, or however they are counting the objects in their picture. I always tell my students that anyone should be able to fully understand what they are doing just by looking at their work.

Help with Elementary Math Tip #3- When your child is stuck on a problem try making the numbers smaller. In many cases, children are overwhelmed with big numbers. They see large numbers and automatically think the problem is going to be difficult. Making the numbers smaller doesn’t change the concept, it just makes it easier for them to work through the problem and it gives them confidence that they can complete the problem. Once they can successfully answer the problem with smaller numbers have them try using the bigger numbers. Just remind them to do the same thing with the bigger numbers that they did with the smaller numbers.

Math is a difficult subject for many children. A lot of times they come home and you just don’t know how to help them. Some of the best ways you can help your child succeed in math is to let them use manipulatives, have them draw pictures, and to change the numbers in the problem. They can use one or all of these strategies on the same problem. Utilizing these three easy tips with your child will help with elementary math skills and get them started on the path towards excellence in math.

By: Bethann Baker

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So I hope you have a better understanding of manipulatives now. And if you want extra help having your child learn math, please stop by and visit us an Mathnasium in Cherry Hill, NJ!

Have a great day!

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