Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Menu Math

I've mentioned before that Little Man is way more interested in Math than he is writing his words, but he can only do flashcards for number recognition for so long.  He gets bored.  In all honesty, I get bored.  One thing I learned a long time ago in teaching was if I'm bored, then it's not an interesting lesson.  So to spice things up a bit, we practice number recognition in a real world math scenario.

This week we did Menu Math.  This is a great activity for kids of any age.  For older kids, simply bring home the kid's menus from restaurants.  When it's time for an at home activity, have your child pick out what they would like to eat, then add up their total.  Want to spark some more interest? Throw in some real $$$.  Give your child a $5 or $10 bill depending on the cost of the items on the children's menu.  Tell them that with their money they will need to order and have money leftover to pay for the tip (don't worry about tax).  You play the server, they play the diner and you have a fun learning restaurant game.  Since this is the 'real world' of math, your child will get to keep the change.  So be careful of how much you fork over!  You very well might find you have a frugal diner on your hands.

As for us, we water this down a bit.  In fact, I have two watered down activities we work on.  Activity #1 is simple number recognition.  Activity #2 is simple addition and counting out dollar bills. 

Activity #1 Using a Menu to Encourage Number Recognition

With Little Man, I use my awesomeness to create a picture menu with even dollar amounts.  Since he is at he beginning stages of recognizing numbers, I don't want to introduce decimals and multiple numbers at this time.  It's okay if you're not as artistically inclined as me, just do your best.  We can't all contain my awesomeness. Here's an example of Menu #1..

And I sincerely hope you know I'm 100% joking.  My art skills are really, really bad.

From this menu I asked Little Man to find the item that is $7, $5, $3, etc.  All he has to do is point to which menu item has the corresponding $ amount.  Even though this is very basic, it allows you to assess what numbers your child has mastered and what numbers you child has not without pulling out those flashcards.

Activity #2 Using Menus for Basic Addition

You will need to create another menu for this activity because every item will be $1. Here's my menu...

After making the menu, I sat Little Man down at the Torres Bistro with a few dollars in his pocket.  You'll notice all of his items on the menu are $1.  This activity is for the sole purpose of adding and counting out money.  A very basic skill, but nonetheless a very important skill.

During this activity, he picks out the items he would like.  For example, he may choose a hamburger, apple, bell pepper, and grapes.  After I take his order, we go back and count the amount.  I pretend serve him his items and then hand him his ticket.  On his ticket, he gets a picture and dollar amount next to what he ordered, plus the grand total.  Like this...

He then counts out his dollar bills, and tips me (because I was an excellent server) and we're done.  Now Little Man really loves this game, so we end up playing multiple times.  Each time I encourage him switch it up a bit.

The End.

If you're looking for some other fabulous, but printable activities to do with your tike, you might want to check out 1+1+1=1 Blog.  There are wonderful activities on this site.  Thank you Joy!

What are your favorite resources you use for your child's learning?


Alice said...

Total awesomeness!! What a great idea.

Jesse {GoodGirlGoneGlad} said...

Great ideas! Love this!