What’s Math Got to Do With It?

Weekly Trip to the Library
How to Get Kids to Love Math

We already have discussed that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) shows that the defining factor in having academically successful children of parents that work outside the home is the household help that they hire. Click here to see that discussion.

We also discussed a study by the National Institute of Child & Human Development that shows quality care is essential in raising successful children. Click here to see our discussion.

Clearly, nannies and au pairs play a vital role in encouraging children to learn. So for this Weekly Trip to the Library we will review Jo Boaler’s book, What’s Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject.

Review of What’s Math Got to Do with It? By Jo Boaler

Jo Boaler, a former mathematics professor at Stanford University, offers advice on teaching children to love math in her book, What’s Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject. In the book, Boaler outlines solutions that can change a student’s perspective on math, including classroom approaches, essential study strategies, and advice for parents and caregivers.

Boaler believes that all children start out being excited by math. Mathematical ideas that seem obvious to most adults fascinate young children, such as counting a set number of items, rearranging them, counting again and getting the same number. Easy puzzles, games, and patterns are all that a child needs to become mathematically inspired.

“Playing games with dice helps when children are learning to add and subtract. Any activities that help children get a sense of numbers — what they look like, how big they are, where they occur in the world, is helpful,” Boaler explains.

Children begin to understand the idea of numbers around the age of three, and Boaler suggests parents (and caregivers) concentrate on helping their children get a feel for numbers through the age of seven.

Some easy math activities for early learning include:

  • Building blocks, interlocking cubes, or kits for making objects. These help develop spatial reasoning, a foundation for mathematical understanding.
  • Jigsaw puzzles, Rubik’s cubes, and anything else that involves moving, rotating, or fitting objects together will also help develop spatial reasoning.
  • Exploring mathematically interesting items like house numbers, fence posts, and patterns in nature.
  • Reading books with a mathematical undertone, such as The Father Who Had 10 Childrenby Benedicte Guettier.
  • Learning about shapes and addition together with fun, early learning printables.

These simple interactions and early learning activities in the home lay the foundation for enjoying math. Fostering a love affair with math at an early age can give children a better chance of being excited about the subject throughout their school years.

Stop by next Saturday for another Weekly Trip to the Library for nannies and au pairs.


  1. Looks like another super resource. I love making teaching fun. I don't know how you find such good resources but appreciate tremendously.

  2. Thnnks for the great suggestion!I think Math is one of the areas that is forgotton, along with science.~Andrea- Nanny in NJ

  3. I agree Andrea too. A big deal is made about reading readiness all the time, but some of the other subjects really slip through the cracks and these are just as essential.Also I know of a chil who is dyslexic but loves math so this is where the balance out with confidence regarding school happens. But this all plays into multiple intelligence theory too.

  4. I got this book from the library.It's difficult to read thru.It was not helpful at all.

  5. I didn't find it hard to follow at all. Wonder if my teaching degree is what makes using this book different for me than anonymous above?

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