We love the Orioles and the Ravens. Regardless of how they have played recently, we cheer hard for our Baltimore teams. My husband first started watching baseball as a kid in Washington, so he is still a huge Seattle Mariners fan (and still loves them regardless of how they have played the last... decade.)
Both of us graduated from the University of Maryland College Park, and are currently season tickets holders for three Terrapins teams.
Our two boys play both baseball and basketball, and have dabbled in football, tennis, and soccer. My husband coaches them both in both sports, which means if I'm not on a field/court I'm probably doing sweaty, dirty laundry.
Again, we are THAT family.
Sports have always been something my family has bonded over, but we realized when our boys were really young that it could also be educational. Keeping up with the score of a game turned into a really wonderful way to teach our kids, especially when they were preschoolers, basic math skills. Now that they just a couple months shy of being 8 and 10, we still do math games during sporting events.
Basketball is a really wonderful game to watch and work on your kid's math skill. It is simply adding by 1's, 2's, and 3's.
Let's say we are at a Maryland Women's basketball game. If you have never been to a Women's game, and I understand that more people watch Men's basketball, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a family-friendly vibe, its excellent basketball. They don't have the power to just go up and dunk, so they have to play a highly skilled game. It really is a fun to watch, plus also shows my little basketball players what good skills look like.
Maryland is winning 25-44 (it's preseason, and the Terps are amazing, so that's not an outrageous score for our fictitious game). I can ask my son, even as young as 4 or 5, "If Maryland makes a basket, how many points will they have?" "46." He simply added by two. Say there's a foul and Maryland gets to shoot a free throw. "What will the score be if she makes it?" "25-47" Adding by one.
Okay, now here is the tricky one. "Excellent, sweetheart. Now, if they make that free throw and have 47 points, how many more would they need to double the other team?" Think about what I am asking him to do. Not only does he have to figure out what double 25 is (or 25x2), but then he has to think how far 47 is from that. Of course, I'm not explaining all of that out for him. He's 5. That would be overwhelming. All I'm doing is letting him work it out in his own way in his head. When he looks at me with a really excited look on his face and says, "3!", he did all of that math without have to spell it out. Regardless of how he got there in his little brain, he still did the math.
For a little more difficult addition, move to football. Using the same skills and activities as the basketball game, the kids have to opportunity to add by 1 (extra points), 2 (two point conversions), 3 (field goals), 6 (touchdowns), and 7 (putting the touchdown and extra point together). By simply asking questions like, "If they score a touchdown on this drive, what will the score be? What if they have to kick a field goal? What if the other team intercepts it and runs for a touchdown, what would the score be then?" they are practicing their addition skills in a way that is fun. When that touchdown does happen for their team, and they see they were correct, you're building a love for math. It's fun, and is a part of something they really enjoy.
Go sit and watch your favorite team with your kids. Not only is it something that can bring your family closer together, but it can teach them skills they will needs as they grow up.
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