Making Math More Fun

By Daniel Franklin, Ph.D


Dyscalculia is a learning disability that results in problems with numbers and mathematics • Challenges in these areas not only impact the ability to perform well at school but also in many crucial life skills • Addressing dyscalculia requires explicit instruction

Children who have dyscalculia tend to exhibit difficulties in all areas of math, including money, measurement, and time. To deal with their deficits, these kids require explicit instruction, but the good news is that when provided with structured support and practice, they can make excellent gains. Following are some strategies to use with your children to help them gain mastery in these areas.


To help your children learn about money, begin by teaching them how to recognize the value of coins and bills by playing “shopkeeper.” Provide your kids with a number of different coins and bills, and have them play the role of shopkeeper and then customer, buying and selling imaginary items. When you’re at a real store, teach them where to find prices of merchandise.

Help your children learn about the value of saving money by starting a savings jar. As the parent, choose how much money is contributed and how often. If you’re able, let your kids choose what will be done with the money saved.


To help your children learn about measurement, engage in relatable measuring activities such as finding the height of friends or family members, the length and width of their bedroom, etc.

Another fun activity is cooking with your kids and having them follow a recipe. Talking about the ingredients you’re using and why you’re using specific amounts will give them experience counting, measuring, and learning about ratios. As their math skills improve, you can double or halve recipes to practice other calculations.

Use a variety of tools when measuring including rulers, tape measures, measuring spoons, cups, and scales.

Teach your kids about distance by taking them for a walk, bike ride or car ride, pointing out when you’ve traveled a half mile, one mile, and more. Teach about weight by letting them use a scale to weigh household items while you describe the concepts of pounds, ounces, and kilograms. When they’re required to calculate the area of a square or rectangle, relate that to the area of a soccer field or baseball diamond. When they’re learning about statistics and how to average numbers, attribute a set of numbers to the scores of an athlete.


Use an analog clock to help kids learn to tell time. It’s better than a digital clock because it’s easier to see the relationship between seconds, minutes, and hours. Have your children count to 60 to experience one minute. You can also time them while they run from one side of a playground to the other side to teach about measuring time.

Teach your children that there are 24 hours in a day. Explain that they are at school for about seven hours and that they sleep for about eight or nine hours.

Using a calendar, help them understand the relationships between days, weeks, months, years, and decades. Give them a calendar and help them use it regularly to reinforce how time is used and passes by.

This article is adapted from Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities (Strategies to Succeed in School and Life with Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, ADHD, and Auditory Processing Disorder), by Daniel Franklin, PhD; published by New Harbinger Publications (2018). Available at Amazon through this link: Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities. Dr. Franklin is a Board-Certified Educational Therapist and the founder of Franklin Educational Services. 

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