So you want your child to succeed in math but whenever you push on the school front you always get "but Mom, school is boring!" Fear not! I am here to help. As a professional math tutor of 8 years and a successful student when I was in high school myself (100% on gr. 12 diploma) let me give you my two cents on how to get your kids past their lack of enthusiasm for school: Math video games!
Yes you heard me math video games. When I was a boy I can still remember playing the incredibly old math and logic games my father got for me called number maze and math circus. Although I do not remember having a passion for times tables I do remember caring a great deal about slaying the dragon and saving my low res black and white princess. And yes, this particular dragon had a weakness for knights who knew their times tables ;). After that math became intertwined with puzzles and challenges for me and every new challenge was a point of personal pride that needed to be beaten! So where does that leave you? A quick google search of "math games" brings up an enormous quantity of games most of which, thankfully, are far prettier and complex than number maze.
I will be going through a number of engaging and fun games that have my personal recommendation for engaging your child with numbers. The first website on the list is www.mathplayground.com . And boy oh boy do they have a lot of games. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content on this website but the good news is it's hard to go wrong. Most of the games have a scaleable difficulty; they start easy but can made much harder once you get the hang of it which is very important for long term engagement. Just a quick jump into "Monster Mischief" and "Thinking Blocks" was fairly engaging even for me and taught a number of great skills such as thinking outside the box and turning word questions into math equations. My favorite was "Red Block Returns" and although it doesn't use numbers it requires visualization and logic to complete the levels and is remarkably challenging. But above all if you want to get your kids into these games and into math and school, play the games with them! Although beating number maze levels as a boy was satisfying, it was no where near as satisfying as being able to have my Dad watch me as I beat them and help me when I got stuck and frustrated, which, being a child, happened all the time. And who knows, you may find you are enjoying the games yourself anyway! Next time we'll be looking at some deeper stand alone games you can get for less than $10.