Some have a time limit to complete tasks, much like a game. If the math problems are not completed in time, a buzzer sounds indicating that they are out of time. This raises the competitive level from simply completing tasks to competing for how quickly they can do it, and do it correctly.
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.
Learning centers provide many opportunities for integrated learning. While playing in an imaginary grocery store, children learn math through the use of numbers and prices, literacy by recognize familiar labels on foods and develop social skills through role play as the shopper, cashier or manager and develop their physical skills by learning how to arrange cans and groceries in make-up shelves.
Sort it out! The sky is the limit when it comes to finding things to sort! Candy, beans, cotton balls, paper clips... you name it! You can even change around how you want it sorted... one time, sort by color, the next time sort by size or shape! My son had a BLAST when I pulled his Matchbox cars to the school table and we sorted them by color! For younger children, you can make it easier by having 'color cards' and have them match the specific objects to the correct card. Older children can just be told to sort out the items by color, shape, etc.