Ahhh, to memorize, or not to memorize…THAT is the question! Is it important that kids memorize their math facts? I believe the answer is YES. In this blog I am going to explain why math fact memorization is important and give you some fun ways to help your child improve their math fact fluency.
Let’s start with WHY a solid math fact foundation is important for kids. I have taught elementary grades for over 20 years. This experience has further solidified my belief that without a thorough mastery of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts, kids will struggle as they attempt to solve more complex problems in the later grades. Kids can’t master grade level content until they have the basic math facts mastered. This is because they use so much of their working memory on simple calculations that should be part of their rote memory recall, that they have little space left in their brain for understanding new concepts. This leads to frustration and a feeling of failure in math.
So, how can parents help their children learn the facts in an engaging way? Before you dust off the flash cards, keep reading. There are so many ways to help your kids develop math fact automaticity! Automaticity is the ability to be able to recall the answer to math facts automatically. Let’s dive in and look at a few ways that you can help your kids develop this skill.
I know, I know! Kids are on their devices ALL DAY! But, hear me out. There are like a gazillion awesome apps and online games that kids absolutely LOVE that improve their math skills. These apps and websites offer games and digital flashcards that are engaging and help kids build their speed and accuracy with basic facts in fun ways. Kids can play alone or engage in competitions with their friends. The best part is that so many of these online math fact games are available for FREE! So, the next time your child asks you if they can play a game on your phone, say, “Yes!”
Our family absolutely LOVES card games! One of my favorites is the classic game of War. You can use this game to practice addition or multiplication facts. For example, you and your child will turn over the top card from your piles, and the first to add or multiply them gets to keep both cards.
Write the Answer
Grab some paint, chalk, or the hose and head outside for this one! Say a math fact to your child and they have to write the answer on the cement using one of these art mediums! Washable window markers would be fun to use too!
In conclusion, practicing math facts doesn’t have to feel like torture. (My mom made me complete a sheet of subtraction problems WITH REGROUPING everyday before going outside to play during the summer!) There are so many engaging ways that kids can practice their facts every day. Developing math fact fluency is critical for your child’s future success with increasingly complex math concepts and developing their confidence. As with anything academic you do with your kids, keep the activity light, keep the pressure off and make it fun. As soon as you start to see your child get frustrated, stop or change the activity.