Are Filipinos Struggling with Computations? Here are Fun Ways to Improve Mental Math Skills

Here’s a not-so-fun fact: Filipino students are lagging behind other Asian countries when it comes to mathematics. In fact, out of the 58 participating countries in a study conducted by Trends in International Mathematics and Science in 2020, the Philippines ranked the lowest—with only 19% having some basic mathematical knowledge and 81% not even reaching the basic level—while the country’s neighbor, Singapore, tops the list.

While this is not true for all, as the six-member Philippine team recently bagged six medals at the International Math Olympiad in 2021 and nineteen young Filipinos came home with gold medals at the World International Mathematical Olympiad held this year in Bangkok, Thailand, we can’t deny the fact that many of our young Filipinos are still struggling with math, especially with the two years of distance learning as a means of coping with the pandemic.

Keep Your Children’s Minds Sharp! Here are Fun Ways to Improve Mental Math Skills

Whether you like it or not, math will always be part of our lives—from the moment we wake up until we close our eyes. Our lives are ruled by numbers. That’s why it’s important that, as parents, you find ways to make your children love it. With constant practice and reminders, your children will eventually love it, for sure!

According to studies, the brain gets stronger and more efficient with use. Improve your mental math skills with these fun and entertaining ways!

  1. Anchor activities on what interests them.

It’s definitely difficult to love something that you’re truly not interested in. If your children do not love math, learn what interests them at the moment. Say, what do they want to be when they grow up?

One of the most common answers among children, aside from becoming a teacher, doctor, or YouTuber, is to become a cashier. Yes, most children who do grocery shopping with their parents dream of getting a hold of that huge amount of money (thinking it’s theirs for the taking). Play the “cashier game” with your children and allow them to give the correct change using bills and coins!

If you don’t have a cash register, make it even more enticing with the use of a laptop and play Grocery Cashier at! To start, you can opt for the easy level and allow your child to do simple mathematical equations. The overall feel of the interface really gives off those supermarket cashier vibes!

  1. Start with the basics.

Here’s a thing with math: if the foundation is not that strong, there’s a tendency for your child to really have a tough time dealing with more difficult mathematical problems. So, start with the basics: counting, identifying numbers, grouping digits together, and the like. 

To make it more engaging, try the Cash Back game for free! This game allows your child to give the correct change using bills and coins. What’s even more interesting is that they are allowed to put together the amount depending on their calculations—as long as it adds up to the same number. This is a great way to practice the Associative Property of Addition!

  1. Simplify the instructions and tasks.

For sure, you’ve experienced having to wrack your brain thinking about how to solve a certain problem only to find out that the solution is very easy. Overthinking usually hinders us from getting the right answer. As a responsible parent, you don’t need to make your children undergo the same stress. Why make it difficult when you can make it easy for them? 

If you have a toddler who’s still practicing how to count, let him or her try playing Treze Coins. The game design is very simple: players have to deposit the right amount of coins into a gumball machine. That’s basic counting! Put in the right number of coins, and voila, you’re all done!

  1. Provide alternatives on how to attack the Mathematical problem.

Experienced teachers usually provide several ways to solve problems. This allows children to use the method that fits their learning and problem-solving styles.

When doing mental math, one of the most popular alternatives is to split the number into hundreds, tens, and units. Most children are afraid of dealing with big numbers. So, why not break them into smaller parts? By doing so, it becomes easier to add them and then put them back together to get the final answer!

Eventually, when your child gets the hang of it, it becomes easier for him or her to do it simultaneously—and later quickly and accurately get the correct answer.

  1. Practice flipping around the numbers.

Addition is the inverse of subtraction. Multiplication is repeated addition. Division is the opposite of multiplication. All these four operations work hand in hand to solve complicated problems.

Therefore, when you see your children’s progress, allow them to learn the other operations—from addition to subtraction to multiplication and division. But make it as relatable as possible.

You may use the same number and the same problem when introducing the other operations. Supermarket Numbers game is one great way to do this. It’s a simple arithmetic game that starts with addition and eventually leads up to division as the game progresses.No, Filipinos are not dumb. Our ancestors have crafted wonders and devised indigenous ways to survive and even outwit the conquerors that have invaded our country. We have produced many inventors, scientists, and geniuses. With practice, there is so much that our young Filipinos can do. As our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, puts it: The youth remain the hope of our fatherland. Let’s nurture and help them!

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