Did you know that many difficulties with math can be remedied by targeting weak cognitive skills? How cool is that? I know so many families who have seen some major gains and accomplishments in their students' abilities to do math with confidence. So how can you do this for your student at home? While the games I'll show you below aren't the silver bullet, they will help strengthen specific cognitive skills associated with math sense and give your child the confidence and ability they need to soar!
Before we get to the games, let's talk in a little more detail about cognitive skills and how they connect with math skills. In this post I'll lay out some main cognitive skills and what symptoms you might see in your child or students if it's weak. Then we'll talk about games you can play, and HOW to play them, so that you can start boosting these skills today!
The ability to process what you take in visually quickly and accurately.
Symptoms of poor visual processing causing math difficulties
Reads numbers backwards or switched around
Trouble with math problems if they are horizontal instead of vertical, or vice versa
Needs large print or spread out problems
Being able to retain and recall information that was presented visually.
- Difficulty memorizing flashcards
Forgets facts from one problem to the next, especially when learning a new fact or concept.
Visual motor skills
writing and fine motor skills
- trouble lining up numbers when writing math
Hates to write out math work
Writes numbers backwards, flips them around
Processing what you hear quickly and accurately.
Symptoms of a weak auditory processing
- trouble remembering/repeating facts orally
Can’t answer math problems orally
The post it in your brain! The ability to hold onto several pieces of information while completing a task that uses those pieces. Learn more here!
- trouble keeping track of steps in multi-step equations like long division
Trouble remembering facts from one problem to the next, especially new concepts or facts
Word problems! Holding onto the information long enough to work through the problem
Long term memory
Ability to retain and recall information long term.
Trouble memorizing facts and steps
Trouble being able to consistently use what has been memorized
Answering facts quickly
Difficulty focusing for long amounts of time - long enough to complete the task
Overwhelmed or distracted easily by lots on the page or lots of color
The ability to picture numbers, letters, stories, etc. in your mind.
- Not able to see the number line or visualize which numbers come before, after, skip counting, etc.
- Doesn't understand the pattern in addition facts, multiplication facts, for example, doesn't understand that 5+3 is similar to 25+3.
Difficulty with mental math
Difficulty visualizing word problems
Logic and reasoning
Struggles to follow logical sequence in algebra
Struggles to understand abstract concepts like negative integers
So now that you understand how these skills can seriously impact math learning if they are weak, we can move forward with how to give these skills a boost!
Use this game to boost visual processing. A great game for all ages! Play it as instructed. To learn more ways to play this game, check out our Working Memory Workshop!
Spot it, especially this version with numbers and shapes, is AMAZING for visual processing and math. This is a great game particularly for younger children or those who struggle with number recognition.
These Super Genius math games are SO much better than flash cards!! Get those math facts in your long term memory with this fun series. They also offer lots of ways to play, so it won't get boring quick, and is a great option for young and older kids alike!
Since we're on a roll, here are a couple other amazing ways to practice brain skills and math sense that we've already written about!
Ready for a major boost in skills? Check out our Working Memory and Attention skills DUO Course to get a huge leg up in math skills and more!