Menu IconA vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines. Everyone wants their kid to be good at math, right? Math — and the technology, finance, and engineering careers the follow from it — can be lucrative and interesting, but how to encourage your child to love math a child interested in math isn’t easy. We went through some of the most popular submissions from real life math pros about what got them interested or hooked on mathematics at an early age.
If you’re looking for a place to start, here’s list of easy, cheap, or abundant things that got these people hooked early. As your future mathematician might tell you, correlation does not imply causation. Lots of Redditors cited Legos as being particularly crucial to their upbringing and thinking. Legos will help your kid conceptualize big, complex abstractions from small basic parts. Buy them the card game Set. Give them the card game Set. First published in 1991, Set was cited by multiple mathematicians as particularly inspiring.
The game provokes the ideas of permutations, combinations and probability. For what it’s worth, there’s also a very good App for it. One mathematician noted that origami conditioned them to love geometry. Plus, it has the added benefit of appealing to tactile learners. Ask children wide open questions that involve estimation and math, as opposed to the specific questions they get at school.
For example, “How long will it take to fill a pool? This kind of open-ended problem solving is tantalizing and incorporates all sorts of math skills. They can also go into as much depth as possible once they solve it. There’s an intimate relationship between abstract math and music, and the same skills necessary to perform well in music — dedication, creativity, improvisation, and quick-thinking — are crucial to success in math. There is no better way to train your brain, said one respondent, than the game Go. The game has very, very simple rules.