Everyday Maths: Shopping

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Everyday Maths: Shopping | Happiness is here

After weeks without much interest in maths, there seems to be a lot happening here this week! There has been lots of creating with patterns, counting, reading the time, weighing, and using the stopwatch. This afternoon Miss 5 grabbed some maths materials off the shelf (cuisenaire rods, abacus, and 100’s chart) and asked me to play a maths game with her that we made up about a year ago. We were just heading out to the shops to grab a few things so I sat with her and played a few times before saying we had to go. She was still interested in doing ‘more maths’ and didn’t want to leave. I suggested she could take something with her, maybe a calculator? She jumped at the chance.

Everyday Maths: Shopping | Happiness is hereAt the shop there was numbers to be found everywhere! I asked if she would like to find the prices of everything we bought and add them up as we went. She thought this sounded like a great ‘maths game’. In fact, every person we met along the way was informed that we were playing a maths game. First, she located the price of each item. We had a talk about what the ‘dot’ meant and how to read the price in dollars and cents.

Everyday Maths: Shopping | Happiness is hereShe then found the numbers, the ‘point’, and the plus sign on the calculator and entered them in.

Everyday Maths: Shopping | Happiness is hereIt took a bit longer than our usual shopping trip would but it was so worth it.

Everyday Maths: Shopping | Happiness is here

She concentrated so hard on what she was doing.

Everyday Maths: Shopping | Happiness is hereAt the checkout she watched the screen as the items were scanned, waiting to see if the price matched what she had on her calculator. It did! She jumped up and down yelling ‘I did it! I did it!’ As we left the store she said to me ‘Mum, I can’t believe I did that. Can we do this every time we go to the shops?’

Everyday Maths: Shopping | Happiness is hereAt home we looked at the receipt to see the prices of everything we bought and how they added up to make the total price.

Watching the joy on her face when she learns something new is so exciting to me. When people express the view that children would not be motivated to learn things like maths without someone making them do it, I wonder where this idea has come from. It is just so far from our truth.


October 1, 2014 at 8:49 pm

what a great idea! I bet my oldest would like doing this

amrita sharma
October 1, 2014 at 9:46 pm

how luvly…implementing soon..thx..

October 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm

I shudder when I hear people say that, maths can be so much fun! From an early age children want to immerse themselves in numbers and are keen and interested in mathematics. All they need is positive experiences and nurturing and no-one will need to ‘make them’ do maths! How lucky your children are that you provide one such environment πŸ™‚

October 4, 2014 at 7:59 am

This is awesome. I have been thinking about homeschooling my children and commend you for doing so!

October 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I’m so glad her total matched the receipt πŸ™‚
What a fantastic example of how we should be using math with our kids – with everyday real-life experiences! Gorgeous photos as always!

October 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm

This is a fantastic idea – I struggle with how I can incorporate math into our shopping as I always use a credit card to pay so we don’t have opportunities to handle the money and practice that way. But this is an activity that would keep them busy during the shop and help with numbers! win win!

October 5, 2014 at 4:12 am

Children are born with a pure desire to learn everything. They are natural explorers and discoverers, including math, which is so much of our life and universe.

Have you studied the Italian mathematician, Fibonnaci? The ‘Fibonnaci sequence’ would be fascinating for our daughter is so many ways!

xoxo, Papa Green

October 5, 2014 at 11:50 pm

Oh how I love this post. It is great that she had the time to explore and calculate something real at the store. You are wonderful for creating a family that values such things. I can’t wait to get doing this more at home too.

October 7, 2014 at 7:40 am

I love when kids realise that maths is really all around us. So much learning can be done in a simple shopping trip. Great post and thanks for sharing.

October 7, 2014 at 11:01 am

Just found my way here through An Everyday Story, and love this story! What a wonderful idea; why didn’t I ever think of it? Packing a calculator for my next shopping trip… Thank you!

October 8, 2014 at 12:40 am

This is brilliant! I love this hands on and very relevant way to encourage maths. I could genuinely see how excited your little one was over her achievement! I will be using this when my children get a bit older! Thank you for this post.

October 9, 2014 at 10:19 am

We often chat about maths concepts while shopping. I love the idea to take a calculator along.

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