Have you ever heard the acronym STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), and if yes, have you ever considered it in the context of fun?
Much too often, learning is associated with boredom and dread. Hardly ever do we think it can be fun.
It is an obligation best to be over with quickly so we can go on to something we actually enjoy doing. Homework always seems to get into the way . . .
How can you try to hone in on the fun and improve your kids' math skills, their cognitive, social, and decision making abilities while bonding with family and friends at the same time?
The key to learning is truly keeping the interest, excitement and focus on the subject. To achieve this, children have to want to be on board with what you are doing. Having choices and being able to make decisions together can be very helpful.
You can be a supportive parent, a great role model, teacher and fun guy all at the same time. The trick is to think outside the box. Who says learning has to come in the form of books and assignments?
Yes, it is true that life is not all fun and games. And it is also true that there is a time to work and there is a time to play. But many times, homework is dreaded simply because tasks seem too hard since certain skills are lacking.
It is challenging to concentrate on something we don’t understand. Something that doesn’t catch our interest that doesn’t make any sense. Something that we just don’t know what to do with in real life.
And the younger you are, the worse it seems. The most frustrating thing for children and parents alike is getting into a fight over homework. All you hear is that your child says that they just don’t get it while you listen to yourself say that you just don’t get what they cannot understand.
Time to bury the hatchet and take a break. Because once you reach this level of frustration, you are getting nowhere fast. All that is happening at this point is that the myth that learning isn’t fun will be ingrained in your child’s life forever.
Time to switch gears. How about bringing out some board games that can teach skills through fun? What if you could spark your child’s interest using STEM?
What is this again? STEM? Sounds a whole lot like school and work, doesn’t it? And yes, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) has a lot to do with knowledge. And where do you acquire knowledge and improve your math skills? Not only in school but in everyday life and activities.
Matter of fact, learning together is much more fun, less repetitive, and has lots of other benefits. You learn to work together, prioritize, listen, express yourself, accept that you may not always be able to agree but learn to disagree respectfully.
You understand that you can not always win, and you learn how to be a gracious winner, and how not to be a sore loser. You realize that practice, in fact, helps you to improve - that you can graduate from being the student to becoming the teacher.
This fosters pride in your achievements and capabilities. It improves your self-confidence and makes you enjoy sharing your knowledge and helping others.
Board games like Monkeys Up can teach even children as young as six years of age all these skills while improving their math. How amazing it is to see them strategize how to win while adding up numbers . . .
They finally get it!
Here they are doing arithmetics while having fun with family and friends. How is that for learning the basics? Better yet, games like Monkeys Up are fun for all ages. So older siblings are enjoying themselves while bonding with their brothers and sisters.
Age is not an advantage when playing Monkeys Up. This game that has 18 game pieces and a dice that will tell you the course of action once it is rolled is so well made that anyone can understand it immediately and enjoy the fun.
The game begins by putting all 18 monkeys on the table. Each player chooses three monkeys and places them in front of themselves. The players can peak underneath their three monkeys to check their numbers, and the objective of the game is to have the most points. The numbers range from 1 to 15. Avoid having an x which counts as zero.
Let the fun begin. Roll the dice and see which action is required. Are you to steal, switch, reverse or flip? You may take any monkey if the action cube shows ”steal.” But, be strategic about it. Remember, the player who has the most points wins.
Don’t get stuck with an X. That counts as a zero. Keep in mind, once a player has three monkeys up the game is over. Are you the one with the most points? Telly your points all the time, so you have a chance at winning.
So who says learning to add is just too hard? Who says it can’t be fun to learn math? And what else have we learned as a family or group of friends?
- We can work together.
- Compete against each other.
- Have fun while improving math skills.
- Teach one another.
- Learn from each other.
- Win graciously.
- Be a gracious loser.
- Never give up.
- Try again.
- Enjoy playing together.
- Have fun.