Mental Math for Kids: 4 Fun Ways to Perfect Your Child’s Skills

# Mental Math for Kids: 4 Fun Ways to Perfect Your Child’s Skills

Understanding simple math facts can offer students a tremendous advantage in school. Mental math – the process of doing calculations in one’s head rather than on paper or by using a calculator – can improve a child’s math fluency, allowing him to advance more easily to higher level mathematics. Good memory skills are necessary to do mental math. In fact, memorizing multiplication tables is an example of a mental math skill that allows kids to work on math problems in their heads more quickly.

Practicing mental math can help children improve other math skills. That’s why developing the skill of mental math for kids through playing simple, but fun, math games is a fantastic way to not only stimulate your child’s mental math abilities but also an ideal way of improving number facts.

#### Mental Math Activities

Here are a few of our favorite activities that are fun and support mental math skills:

#### Multiplication War

With this fun card game, your child will master his multiplication facts in no time! Shuffle a deck of cards and deal them face down, giving each player an equal number. Assign the picture cards a value of 10 and the aces, a value of 11. Each player turns two cards face up, reads the number sentence and supplies the answer. For example, if your child draws a 7 and an 8, he says, “7×8=56.” If you draw a 6 and a 4, you say, “6×4=24.” Because his product is larger, he wins the four cards and puts them at the bottom of his pile. Continue the game until one player runs out of cards.

#### Mental Mystery

Have your child count out five small objects such as pennies, marbles or candy, and have him close his eyes. Then hide some of the five objects, while leaving the rest uncovered.  Ask your child to calculate how many objects he sees and how many objects are covered. Practice this activity until your child can quickly solve these simple equations. After your child has mastered that level, add one additional object to increase difficulty. For older children, start with 10-20 objects.

#### 101 and Out

To play, you’ll need a sheet of paper, a pencil and a die. The object of the game is to score as close to 101 without going over. Players take turns rolling the dice. As you roll, you can either take the number as a one or a 10. For example, if you roll a five, it can be used as five or 50. Players keep a running record of their total as they play. This game is a great way to build mental math strategies, as children often think critically in regard to what number they need to roll next.

#### Math Jeopardy

Give your child a piece of paper and then say a number. Give them one minute to find as many ways as they can to make the number using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

As you can see, practicing developing mental math for kids can be fun.  Learning some basic, but useful, mental math strategies can work to greatly improve your child’s self-confidence.

#### Key Takeaways

• Doing mental math helps children improve their math fluency.
• Kids need strong memory skills to do mental math.
• Mental math helps children get to the answer of a math problem more easily.