5 Tips to Perfect Your Child’s Mental Math Skills

Monday October 3, 2016
By Kumon
Math Tips

Understanding simple math facts can offer students a tremendous advantage in school. By conducting basic addition and subtraction problems mentally, a child’s math fluency can improve, allowing them to advance more easily to higher level mathematics.

More than anything, learning some basic, but useful mental math strategies, can work to greatly improve your children’s self-confidence. Here are five fun activities to help strengthen your child’s mental math skills.


1. Mental Mystery

mental math tip - counting everyday objects


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


2. What’s My Number?

First write out the numbers one through 20 on a lined piece of paper. Think of a number that your child will have to guess and ask them to guess what your number is by adding two numbers. For example, if your number is 12, then they could add 7+5.


3. The Number is Right

mental math tip - using paper and pencil


On a piece of paper, write a number between one and 100 and have your child take turns guessing the number written. After each incorrect guess, you must tell the players if the number guessed is higher or lower than the number written down. The game continues until someone correctly guesses the number.


4. 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.


5. Dice

mental math tip - play dice


Using a standard die, each player will roll the die as many times as they like and keep a running total of the numbers rolled. If the player rolls number one, the player loses his or her current total and another player takes turns rolling the die. Players can hold their current score by passing on the die to their opponents. The game can continue until each player has had five turns or reach a total sum of 25.

Have you got any secret math tips to help perfect mental math skills? We are always on the hunt for secret math wizards! Let us know in the comments below.

These are just a few math tips that Kumon has to offer! For more information on how Kumon can help your child improve their math skills this school year, visit a centre near you!