You can do math with your child everyday. Situations pop up all the time. Take advantage of such opportunities to do math together, to learn about your child's math thinking and understanding, and to share your own. The following are excellent opportunities for engaging in math thinking. Encourage your child to solve problems mentally rather than overrelying on mathematical tools such as pencil and paper and calculators.
Activity  What's the Math?*  

When shopping:  
How much do you think our groceries will cost? 
Estimation, addition 

How much money will we save if we use these coupons? 
Addition, subtraction 

How much change will we get if we give the clerk $20.00? 
Addition, subtraction 

How much money will we get for recycling a certain number of cans? 
Multiplication 

How many cans were recycled if I got back $.65?  Division  
How much do you think this bag of [apples, potatoes] weighs? (Then weigh to find out.) 
Estimating, measuring weight 

At the post office:  
How many stamps on a sheet or in a book? 
Counting, addition, multiplication 

About how much will it cost to buy a certain number of stamps? 
Estimation, addition, multiplication 

How much change will we get if we give the clerk $5? 
Subtraction 

How many stamps can I buy for a certain amount of money? 
Division 

How much do you think this package weighs? (Compare the estimate to the actual weight.) 
Estimating, measuring weight 

When driving, taking the bus, or walking:  
About how many blocks until we get to a certain place? (Then count and find out.) 
Estimating, measuring distances, counting 

About how long will it take to get to a certain place? (Then time it to find out.) 
Estimating, measuring time 

How many dogs, stop signs or traffic lights do you think we will see along the way? 
Predicting, collecting data, counting 

If we take the bus [5] times today, how much will we spend on bus fare? How much will be left on our bus card? 
Addition, multiplication, subtraction 

If gas costs [$3.15] per gallon, about how much will it cost to fill our [12] gallon tank? If we can drive approximately [25] miles for each gallon of gas, how far can we drive on that tank of gas? 
Estimation, addition, multiplication 

When doing laundry:  
Can you sort the clothes into whites and colors to wash them? What about sorting into three categories? 
Sorting and classifying data 

How many pair of socks can we make if there are 14 single socks? (Or, if there are 5 pairs, how many socks is that?) 
Multiplication, division 

If the washing machine costs [$1.25] per load, and the dryer costs [$1.50] per load, how much will it cost to do 2 loads of laundry? How many quarters will we need? 
Addition, multiplication, division 

If one load takes [1/2 cup] of detergent, how much detergent will we use to do [3] loads? (Or, if we use 3 cups of detergent, how many loads did we do?) 
Adding fractions, dividing fractions 

When cooking dinner:  
How many [plates, napkins, spoons] do we need for a certain number of people? 
Counting 

How much [water] do we need to measure when making [orange juice]? 
Measuring, fractions 

If this recipe calls for 3/4 cup of flour and we are doubling the recipe, how much flour do we need? 
Adding fractions, measuring 

When reading with your child:  
How many objects/pictures do you think are on this page? Let's count. 
Estimating, counting 

Do you think there are more birds or trees on this page? Why? How do you know? 
Counting and comparing quantities 

We're on page [27]. We're going to read the next chapter, which ends on page [42]. How many pages will we read? How many pages will we have left to read then? 
Subtraction 
*Questions that involve money also focus on reading and using decimal numbers.