Elementary teachers and parents play the biggest role in a child's mathematical development, especially from Kindergarten through Fourth Grade. Time spent in school learning math or not learning math can never be replaced. Parents should make sure the elementary math teacher is knowledgeable and is a good teacher.
In addition to good teachers and involved parents, children should be involved in extracurricular activities that support math. In the state of Michigan, students can join a club at their school that plays a game called Academic Games. This form of gaming is challenging for children. It helps them to develop their academic skills as well as their math skills. Children can start playing these games as early as the second grade. This form of gaming will teach children how to play the game of Equations, a form of Algebra, at the age of seven. These skills are called Higher Order Thinking Skills.
The children also compete locally, state wide, and on the national level. The experience is invaluable. There are also other mathematical games and clubs that children can join that will help develop skills and are fun. Parents should contact their local school district or state level office of Gifted and Talented Programs for this information.
For example, some programs use incentive tools similar to those found in video games. Each time a child completes a satisfactory score on a worksheet, the program congratulates them and gives them a score. With each level, the score increases. After a certain number of points, the student reaches a named level, such as captain or commodore.