Applying Creative Thinking to Mathematics

In Mathematics, creative thinking can be

defined as children having their own ideas about

how Maths works and being able to work to

verify that those ideas are correct.

Creative thinking enables children to approach problem-solving in a systematic manner by coming up with a plan to provide possible solutions; this implies that the child has a true grasp of the Mathematical concepts by being able to apply what he/she understands. Some people believe that creativity in a child is just an inborn trait but I believe that it’s a way of thinking which can be nurtured from an early age.

As parents, how then can you go about nurturing your child’s mathematical mind?

First of all, parents can start by letting their children discover that Maths is actually embedded in their daily lives. And this will help engage them in the process of doing Maths. For many kids, observing Maths being applied in the real world makes it easier for them to understand how Mathematical concepts work.

Look For Patterns

Young children can be taught to look out for patterns and sequences. You can use simple activities such as sorting out toys, going for walks in the parks and setting the table for meals to guide them to “spot” patterns in shapes, colours, sizes and numbers. In this way, children can also hone their observational skills.

Draw Ideas from Day-to-Day Living to Illustrate Maths Concepts

Where possible, make Maths relatable to your child. For example, when explaining the conversion of metres into centimetres and vice versa to Primary Two children, you can help them visualise by utilising a height measuring tape mounted against the wall, or getting them to measure different objects to get a sense of what constitutes different lengths.

Have Regular “Maths Chats” with your Children

Talk to your children regularly about Maths in the same way you might discuss bedtime stories with them. For instance, if your child in kindergarten can already solve simple additions like “3+6=9”, you can give him/her progressively challenging problems, and ask him/her as you go along, to explain how he/she figured out the answer… you might be pleasantly surprised! In another activity such as grocery shopping, you can also get your child to do addition and subtraction by “playing” with the items you have in your basket, or tallying up the bill for items to make sandwiches. Also, you might discover that children actually enjoy thinking and talking about Maths during the pockets of time when they are restless, such as while travelling in the car, on the MRT or waiting to see the doctor.

Leave Little Maths Puzzles Around The House

To create an element of fun in learning Maths, try leaving unexpected little Maths puzzles around your house on sticky notes for your child to solve. For example, you can ask your child,” Did you eat more cookies or grapes today, how many more?” You can also encourage your little ones to leave puzzles for you to solve and you discuss it together as a family.

Through fun engagement in day-to-day living, children will come to see Maths as more than simply the rote-learning of fixed equations and operations. Nurture your children to become creative problem solvers in Mathematics, and you might see them developing lifelong skills that will enable them to change the world one day!

Quoted from an educational source

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