Solving maths problems can be fun!

I'm a big believer that there is fun to be found in any task, and as a teacher and a parent - I'm always looking for fun ways to teach and get my girls to practice things.

Just now, we're doing practice with maths problems written in words. To improve a skill, it is important to practice that skill regularly - just like exercising a muscle. 

Practice makes perfect.

Just doing written maths problems isn't that much fun - but I decided to add in a purpose to solving the problems to make my kids want to practice.

I remembered we had a spare combination padlock, which has sat unused in a drawer for a couple of years!
This is one of those padlocks that you can change the combination to whatever number you want, as many times as you want.

So I decided to use this padlock and change the combination to be the answer to maths problems.

As I love sewing and creating new things, I decided to make a little fabric box with loops at the top, that I can loop the padlock through to 'lock' it.

 You could use any kind of container that you can add a lock to. Even an old cereal box with holes punched in could be adapted!

Each day, I plan to put some kind of reward inside the box, perhaps a treat, or a 'voucher' with a reward on like 'get out of stacking the dishwasher today'.

 Then I'll lock it up with the padlock (having set the code for the day) - and leave a word number puzzle for the girls to solve to find the code to unlock the padlock.
The only way they will be able to unlock the box is if they get the maths puzzle answer correct!

I think sometimes I'll give them a puzzle to work out together, and sometimes individual ones. Using this 'unlock the prize' I can give them problems to solve each day - maybe even one in the mornings and the evenings, giving them regular 'exercise' for those problem solving muscles.

Here's what I left for them today when they came home from school. I baked some gingernut cookies - so their reward when they solved the problem was one of those each!
Success! They both did the puzzle and managed to unlock their prize!

What do you think of this idea?

What ways have you found to make maths fun for your kids?

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