Finding Math in Everyday Family Life

Math is everywhere in daily life, no matter one’s socioeconomic background, culture of origin, or language. The many ways in which caregivers find opportunities to explore everyday math with children at home and in their communities is called family math. Research shows that family math supports the development of key early math skills, which are critical for success in school and life.

Supporting Family Math

To inspire caregivers of young children to engage in family math, the education nonprofit Tandem, Partners in Early Learning collaborated with DREME to produce the video, Everyday Family Math. In the video, families engage in a variety of fun and simple, yet meaningful, everyday math activities. Using things commonly found in many homes, caregivers talk, ask questions, and play together to build their children’s math skills.

Math in Family Life

Family routines offer many opportunities for young children to explore math. Whether doing chores, playing at home or the park, shopping at the supermarket, reading books together, or waiting at the bus stop, parents and caregivers can bring math into daily conversations and playtime with their children.

For example, in the video, a mother and her young son line up a group of stuffed animals in order according to their size. In another scene, a parent uses words that support learning about space and place while reading aloud from a picture book: “Little bear is next to the book, big bear is to the left of the book.”

The parents in this video show just how easy it is to incorporate math into everyday family activities. As Antonio, the father of a young son, says, “There’s numbers around us … in this whole world, so we just try to incorporate what’s already there into his learning.”

In addition to giving caregivers ideas about how to start or deepen their engagement with family math, the video can also be a springboard to brainstorm additional ways to bring math into everyday family life.

Resource Authors

Claudia Kruzik, Emily McDowell, and Eric Dearing