Fun Ways To Boost Your Child’s Mental Math Skills

Fun Ways To Boost Your Child’s Mental Math Skills

When hearing the term “Mental Math”, people probably associate it with “times tables” challenges and standing up in front of the class having a competition with classmates to see who can answer the quickest.

Not every child knows their ‘times tables’, including Stanford Math Professor Jo Boaler, and it’s time for parents to stop pushing their children with times tables and those boring formulas. Having automatic recall or knowing the ‘tables’ does not determine your child’s mathematical ability, yet unfortunately, many people wrongly think that how fast their child can recall a ‘times tables’ fact is linked to how smart she is!

In this article, we will provide you with a clear idea of what mental math skills are, how vital it is in the developing years of a child, and suggest a few beginning mental math strategies that a parent might help your child learn at home.

1. What is Mental Math?

Mental math is a group of skills that allow people to do math “in their head” without using pencil and paper or a calculator. It is often used as a way to calculate an estimate quickly through the use of math facts that have been committed to memory, such as multiplication, division, or double facts.

mental math However, mental math should not be confused with the memorization of basic mathematics facts – such as knowing the times-tables by heart. While memorizing basic facts makes mental math easier, doing mathematics mentally requires both memorized facts and manipulating numbers and operations to solve problems that are much more complex than the simple number facts we can easily memorize.

The Manitoba Association of Mathematics Teachers defines mental math as “a combination of cognitive strategies that enhances flexible thinking and number sense. It is calculating mentally without the use of external memory aids. It improves computational fluency by developing efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility.”

2. Research-backed benefits of mental math

We all use mental math in our daily life: in the grocery store, on the street, at the end of each month when the bills come.  Even outside of our professions, mental math is useful for ordinary tasks and help us answer questions like:

  • What is the sale price for this item?
  • Do I have enough cash to buy everything in my cart?
  • Am I getting the correct amount of change from the cashier?
  • When should I leave in order to arrive on time?

Even more important than adult use, kids should strengthen mental math skills to bolster their budding math skills since mental math comes in handy to solve math equations and problems easier and quicker. 

Mental math can also help kids understand math concepts better.  Using and practicing mental math regularly helps kids improve their number sense.  For example, which is a better deal? Buying a box of 10 packs of gum for $18.00 or buying individual packs for $2.50 each?  When kids develop mental math skills, they: 

  • Gain a deeper understanding of math beyond mere memorization
  • Develop logical thinking and reasoning skills 
  • Learn skills that will improve math skills across all grade levels
  • Master skills they’ll carry over for life no matter their profession! 

Understanding simple math facts can offer students a tremendous advantage in school.  By conducting basic addition and subtraction problems mentally, your child’s math fluency can improve, allowing her to advance more easily to higher level mathematics.

3. Fun strategies to get your child better at mental math

There are a number of ways to work mental math practice into everyday situations.  For example, doubling a recipe, counting change, double-checking till receipts and scoring a game of Scrabble all involve using knowledge of basic maths operations to work out the answers.  The following mental math strategies are arranged in general order from the easiest strategies children can learn to perform in their head to more difficult and challenging mental math gymnastics.

1. Skip counting

Skip counting should be one of the first mental math skills all children learn.  It uses the fact that multiplication is simply repeated addition of the same number.  To multiply 5×2, children could mentally “say:” 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, or five 2s.  If your child knows the simple multiples, such as 2s, 3s, 5s, and 10s, then they can skip count by 2s, 3s, 5s, and 10s. If they are really good and know all their multiples up to 10, then this strategy is even more useful.  Once again, if you are willing to allow your children to use their fingers, she can more easily skip count in her head while counting on her fingers to make sure she “skips” the right number of times.

2. Make friends with “Friendly Numbers” 

There are certain number pairs that go together nicely and are easy to work within our heads; we call these friendly numbers.  For example, 75 + 25 totals 100 – those kids who know how to use money can get this very quickly.  Although we do not often get many problems as simple as 75 + 25, we can combine this friendly number strategy with other mental math strategies.  For example, to add 78 + 25, we would instead think 75 + 25 + 3, changing it into two friendly numbers and one easily added number instead.

3. Balancing Strategy

Balancing numbers before adding them is a variation of the friendly number strategy.  This strategy involves “borrowing” one or more from one number and “trading” it to the other number to make two numbers that are friendly.  For example, 68 + 57 are not friendly numbers, but if we mentally borrow 2 from 57 and add it to the 68, the problem now becomes 70 + 55—a much easier problem to do mentally.  For example, if the sum is 57 + 48, our thought process might be:

  • I’ll round up those numbers to 60 + 50 because that’s easier to add.
  • But I’ll keep in mind that I’ve given myself an extra 5 for the round up (3 to turn 57 into 60, and an extra 2 to turn 48 into 50). I’ll have to subtract that 5 from my final answer when I get there.
  • My rounded-up sum: 60 + 40 = 110.
  • Minus the 5 = 105.

4. Visualize a mental number line 

Tnumber line for improve mental mathhe empty number line is a powerful model for children who need to see how numbers are logically arranged.  If your child can close her eyes and visualize a mental number line, this too can be helpful in doing mental math.  The best way to help students picture a number line is to post a paper number line in your home where your children can see it and use it regularly when they do mathematics. They will begin to notice all the wonderful number patterns, the twos, the fives, the tens – and many more. If they can then see the number line when they close their eyes, they can use these patterns to do mental math.

5. Rearrange Numbers and Operations

On paper, we tend to calculate with numbers in the order they are given.  Doing mathematics mentally frees us to do calculations in the order we choose and can do more easily.  For example, if we do 6 – 3 + 2 + 4 + 8 in our heads, we can rearrange it as (6 + 4) + (2 + 8) – 3—two combinations of 10, then subtract 3 last.  However, to do this, a child must be able to remember the numbers and rearrange them mentally. 

6. Use multiplication hacks

Memorizing multiplication tables is a mental math hurdle for most elementary learners, but it becomes a whole lot easier once they memorize the following ‘hacks’:

  • Any number times 1 remains the same.
  • Any number times 10 has a zero added to its end.
  • Any number up to 9 times 11 is just the same digit repeated twice (e.g. 99).

Together, these hacks instantly give our students 60 multiplication facts that can be calculated automatically – without any need for memorizing

7. Round up when multiplying by 9

There are simple ways to alter difficult equations, making them easier to solve with mental math.  Children can use existing rounding and fact fluency skills when multiplying by 9, 99, 999 and any number that follows this pattern.  First, tell your child to round up the 9 to 10.  Second, after solving the new equation, teach her to subtract the number they just multiplied by 10 from the answer.  For example, 67 x 9 will lead to the same answer as 67 x 10 – 67.  Following the order of operations will give a result of 603.  Similarly, 67 x 99 is the same as 67 x 100 – 67.  Despite more steps, altering the equation this way is usually faster and allows students to complete it in their heads.

8. Allow your child to make guesstimates

In everyday life, mental math rarely needs to be 100% accurate. If it does, we’ll usually reach for a calculator or piece of paper anyway. Therefore, tell your little learner that it’s totally OK to approach a more complex mental math problem by “guesstimating” the answer. This might mean just working with the highest place values in the sum and using this to calculate that the answer will be “around” a certain number. They can then check the answer via working out.

A bit of mental math advice by Everest Education

For some students, these above mental math strategies will be interesting and fun – and may even make them feel mathematically powerful.  However, what appeals to one child may be uninteresting and hard to another.  If there is one important bit of advice before you share any of these strategies with your children, it is: go slow and proceed only IF your children enjoy learning how to do mathematics in their head.  A few minutes of playing with mental math are plenty – do not make it tedious. If learning mental math tricks is not fun for your children, it is best if you stop and look for other areas of mathematics, such as geometry or puzzles, that will appeal to your children more than mental math:

  • Playing simple-but-fun math games is a fantastic way to not only stimulate your child’s mental math abilities but also an ideal way of improving number facts.  If you’re looking for activities to help you learn how to teach mental math strategies to your child, let’s discover some playful Math activities in our older article here:
  • Don’t forget to utilize digital math applications and websites – which can offer your child an engaging environment to build a range of skills important for mental math.  Try using tools like Quizlet – the favorite website that our teachers used very often in our Singapore math classes – to help your children improve their mental math.
  • Work with a strategy until your child masters it before moving on to another strategy, but periodically come back to review the earlier strategy.  When children have mastered several strategies, encourage them to think about which strategy is the most effective for solving a given problem.

Obviously, mental math matters, but in order for mental math lessons to work for your child, it needs to be done consistently each day or week. We hope that these strategies can boost your children’s calculation skills, help them comprehend those hard-to-grasp concepts and put an end to their math-related misery.

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, feel free to leave your comments below. You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox, and find more parenting coverage at



Fun quiz: What’s your kids future career?

Fun quiz: What’s your kids future career?

Have you ever wondered what your children might do when she grows up?  Who do you want them to be? 

Thanks to globalization, robots, artificial intelligence, and other disruptive technologies, the job market has drastically changed more in the last decade than in the previous half-century.  In the future, some jobs will vanish, while others will remain – but change.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” – even many adults still find it hard to answer this question, too.  The world is full of possibilities, so it’s natural for kids to explore options.

In this article, we include a fun 3-minute quiz to help parents explore some career areas that may suit your child’s talents, skills and characteristics. Of course, we can’t provide all options in just one small, simplified quiz, so please note that this quiz should be viewed only as a guide, and not as comprehensive, definitive, or scientific. 

Take the quiz below to get a sense of where your child may excel in the future, based on her personality today!

Parting words from Everest Education

It is never too early to start talking to your child about career choices.  As a parent, there are several things you can do to support her through the process.   Talking about careers with your child is an extension of showing an interest in their lives – helping them to move in a positive direction, towards a fulfilling future.

Bringing curiosity and an open mind to the conversation will help your child think in an unrestricted way about their options. 

>>> Learn how to start a career discussion with your kids here:

Top in-demand careers of the future for kids interested in Math

Top in-demand careers of the future for kids interested in Math

“What can my child do when she grows up if she is good at calculation?”.  We all know that Math is important and is applicable to nearly every industry today, from science and technology to business, retail, healthcare, and more.

There are several Math-related career options available to students, but not all students are aware of the different routes they can take to establish a successful career.  In the book The Path To Purpose, Stanford professor William Damon argues that the root cause of our children’s growing anxiety is an endless series of short-term goals.  They are expected to perform well on a nonstop string of exams and deadlines that seem to have no relationship with the real world.  But we can fix that, Damon argues, by helping our students find a larger sense of purpose, a way to make sense of their lives – and one way to do this is to help children develop a sense of their futures. 

In its 2017 U.S Emerging Jobs report, LinkedIn ranked Machine Learning Engineers, Data Scientists, and Big Data Engineers among the top emerging jobs.  In this article, we discuss some in-demand and exciting career options that will allow your child to spend time with numbers and earn well at the same time.

What Jobs Involve Math?

Almost every job involves math to some extent, though the type of math used in jobs can vary from basic addition and subtraction to complex algebra and inferential statistics.  Math skills are clearly important in many careers, most notably the science, technology, and engineering professions.  But such skills also feature prominently in some careers that may not seem like a natural endpoint for someone with a math degree. Video game developers and computer animators are just two examples of less-obvious jobs that actually use calculus, for instance.

A major in mathematics is a springboard to a wide range of rewarding careers.  Whether your child focuses on theoretical mathematics or applied math, the analytical and quantitative skills you develop in a math program are valuable assets that many employers need.  Math majors diverge into two distinct career paths: While some may work in academia as math researchers, others work in diverse industry roles.  People with an advanced degree in mathematics and an interest in technology may work as computer programmers, software developers, or data scientists, for example.  Others with business interests may take jobs working as auditors or financial analysts, or work as medical scientists if they’re pursuing a career in the healthcare industry.

A lot of math majors spend time looking into how to work for Google or other high-profile companies.  After all, such organizations frequently offer great pay and generous, distinctive benefits.  But it’s worth keeping in mind that many small companies also offer outstanding salaries and perks to those with well-developed problem-solving skills.  In fact, basic and intermediate math skills are used in many more jobs that don’t require a math degree than those that do. 

Top in-demand future jobs for math lovers

1. Data Analyst/ Business Analyst/ Big Data Analyst

Data Analysts, as the name suggests, work with data.  This can be data of all kinds, sales figures, transportation costs, consumer demographics, or even Internet search behavior.  A Harvard Business review article called a Data Scientist as the “Sexiest Job of the 21st Century”.  Data Analysts process and analyze such data to draw patterns and conclusions for making business decisions.  Every business produces such data in their day-to-day operations, but it is the job of data analysts to make sense of it and get it to a form where it is of use in building business strategies.  Data analysts help businesses increase their profits, launch, improve products, and make their processes more efficient.

Data scientists choose and build appropriate algorithms and models to analyze data better and uncover insights from it.  For example, Netflix’s use of viewership data to give better movie recommendations, and Facebook’s use of past interactions to give more targeted ads to users, are all examples of data being put to use to gain a deeper level of understanding.  In this way, Data scientists are like detectives, finding patterns out of data to help businesses make smarter decisions.  Big Data is also a similar field but it involves dealing with huge amounts of data that cannot be processed by traditional tools like Excel.  Professionals in these fields work with numbers, data and statistical tools all day, so it is perfect for those with a love for numbers.

2. Machine Learning Engineer

According to Indeed, machine learning engineer was the best job in 201 , and it’s still one of the most in-demand roles among companies.  If your child wants to enter the tech industry and work on the latest technologies, then perhaps she should pursue a career in machine learning.  Machine learning is the study of computer algorithms which improve themselves through multiple iterations.  Currently, machine learning and artificial intelligence are solving many problems, and find uses in retail, social media, logistics, healthcare, security, and many other industries.  A Machine Learning Engineer is an engineer that runs various machine learning experiments using programming languages such as Python, Java, Scala, etc. with the appropriate machine learning libraries.  Some of the major skills required for this are Programming, Probability, and Statistics, Data Modeling, Machine Learning Algorithms, System Design, etc.

While the daily task of a Data Scientist is analyzing data in order to produce actionable insights, a machine learning engineer also analyzes data to create various machine learning algorithms that run autonomously with minimal human supervision.  In simpler words, a Data Scientist creates the required outputs for humans while a Machine Learning Engineer creates them for machines.  This is one of the most exciting career options for maths students as they can work for many esteemed tech companies and work on solutions for the future. 

3. Blockchain Developer

Blockchain is a relatively new sector that has generated a lot of buzz because of its numerous capabilities.  This is a new technology that became famous due to its implementation in bitcoin trading.  Blockchain is an encoded, dispersed database that records data similar to a computerized record of any exchanges, transactions, contracts, etc.  One of Blockchain’s major highlights is that it’s an automated record that’s widely available widely over a large number of PCs.  Blockchain has started impacting the financial and technical sectors drastically by utilizing digital currency like Bitcoin, smart contracts, and other innovative and revolutionary applications. 

Blockchain is useful for the protected transfer of items like property, money, contracts, etc. without any third-party intermediary like a bank or government agency.  Once the information is recorded inside a Blockchain, it is impossible to change it, thanks to its stable features. 

Blockchain is also a great career choice for math students.  They can become a blockchain developer and help companies in leveraging this technology for creating better solutions.  Some blockchain jobs available and will let your child stay on top of the marketing include blockchain developer, blockchain solution architect, blockchain project manager, blockchain UX designer…

4. Software engineer 

Many of us nowadays rely on smartphone apps.  It can be a computer game that keeps kids transfixed for hours or a program that helps us budget and track expenditures.  Software developers created all of them.  Software developers are the creative, brainstorming masterminds behind computer programs of all sorts.  While some software developers may focus on a specific program or app, others create giant networks or underlying systems that help trigger and power other programs.

As a software engineer, if you see a problem, you could solve it with a computer program.  Computer programmers and engineers also need to understand how to read and write computer code, which makes up the foundation of technology.  Coding and software development are part of a full STEM education, and parents can equip children with these math coding skills from very young ages.

5. Banking and finance analyst

Another prominent career choice among students of mathematics is banking and finance.  This is among the most popular fields due to the various career options, benefits, and challenges it offers to candidates.   A career in banking offers lucrative pay, security, and unique challenges.  As you teach your child about money, these are excellent opportunities to introduce your child to finance-related jobs.  Career options for banking and finance can be found helping first-time homeowners take out a loan, advising investors on the best sectors to place their money, analyzing international stock markets, creating budgets for individuals or companies, brokering financial deals, or auditing existing financial records to ensure legal practices are being followed. 

Finance, accounting, and business are the most likely choices for students who want to pursue this field, but investment firms and banks may also be pleased to see degrees in economics, mathematics, or engineering.  Regardless of the program name, what hiring panels really want to see is that your child’s good with numbers.  While in school, students should learn how to speak about numbers in an authoritative yet accessible way to be successful in the baking and finance industry.

6. Operations Research Analyst

We have all done some online shopping before or boarded a flight at an airport.  How e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart manage their transportation, product inventories, scheduling of deliveries to different cities, all refer to as operations.  Even the way flights are scheduled at an airport to facilitate smooth functioning is an example of operations.

The professionals responsible for solving complex problems dealing with the efficient allocation of resources such as material, workers, machines, time, and money are called Operations Researchers.  They apply mathematical techniques to improve business strategies and operations in areas such as distribution, transportation, manufacturing, logistics, supply chain, inventory management, scheduling, etc.

7. Actuary

The field of actuarial science is one that deals with risks of all kinds, be it financial risks, insurance risks or business risks.  Actuary helps solve complex problems for companies and help them develop policies.  For example, they may decide the premium of a particular life insurance policy by predicting the likelihood of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic ailments in a particular set of people.

To accomplish this, they utilize their superior knowledge of business, statistics, and data.  Actuaries can work in many different fields such as finance, banking, insurance, healthcare, and corporate policy to predict the risk of uncertain and undesirable future events.

Parting words

Good math skills can open the door to a huge range of amazing careers.  After all, math is involved in just about every job in some way, and it’s particularly essential in the in-demand fields of science, technology, and engineering.  If your child has a solid grasp of math, we believe that jobs in many areas become more available in the near future.

>> Check out 5 benefits of learning Math in English:

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, feel free to leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox, and find more parenting coverage at


Solving Word Problems With Bar Model

Solving Word Problems With Bar Model

giai toan do bang so do khoi bar model

Do you know that Singapore Math is known as the best Math system in the world?

One of the defining features of Singapore Math is visualization. In addition to the CPA method we have mentioned in previous posts, students also learn to use bar model drawing to solve those word problems. Instead of trying to picture math problems in their heads, then writing out the equation to solve it, students in Singapore Math diagram the elements of the word problem. This visual approach helps drive Singapore Math success.

giai toan do bang so do khoi bar model

giai toan do bang so do khoi bar model

giai toan do bang so do khoi bar model

At Everest Education, we offer Singapore Math system which has been proven to be especially effective for young students. Also applies almost main Singapore Math methods as CPA, Bar model to make the students’ Math learning experience interesting and comprehensively develop all skills.

>> Why Is Math So Important? 

>> Top 10 Amazing Math Learning Centers in Ho Chi Minh city 2020

How To Help Kids Plan A Story With “Story Mountain”

How To Help Kids Plan A Story With “Story Mountain”

Writing stories is something every child is asked to do in school, and many children write stories in their free time. By creating and telling a story, children learn to organize their thoughts and use written language to communicate with readers in a variety of ways. Writing stories also helps children better read, and understand, stories written by other people. But writing a story can also seem like a challenge to a child (or an adult!).

At Everest, to help our students be more confident in practice language, we teach English Language Arts through the “Story Mountain” method (developing writing based on a mountain model). A story mountain is a way of visually planning the plot and structure of a story, by separating the plot and structure into clear stages or sections.

Let’s explore what a story mountain is in this article.

story mountain day con viet van hay

story mountain dien bien cau chuyen

story mountain cao trao

story mountain dien bien sau cao trao

story mountain ket thuc

Why Is Math So Important?

Why Is Math So Important?

“Why do I need to be good at Math?”, your child may ask. We always want our child to be good at Math – it’s still ok if she wouldn’t perform well in geography, history, or physical education. But parents will freak out when we see our children stay behind in Math. Why?

Math no doubt plays an important role in our life. Math and Literature appear in all exams in a student’s life. Math is important, but what is the real benefit of letting kids learn math? Let’s explore this article!

toan hoc quan trong hinh thanh tu duy phan tich

Math helps us to have analytical thinking

Analytical thinking is breaking down a problem into smaller expressions or arguments using deduction or considering each piece of information separately to judge its reliability. The importance of breaking down the problem helps to solve the problem without missing any crucial factor. This is what we do when we do a mathematical problem: collect the data, break down its premises, observe the relations that keep or systematically solve their parts in a rational way. If we are able to understand mathematics and arrive at logical solutions, we will be able to prepare our minds when we have real problems. Analytical thinking develops the ability to investigate and know the truth about the world around us. This is possible because mathematics allows us to reason clearly and logically, taking into account real data and that can be verified. (

toan hoc quan trong trong cuoc song hang ngay
Math makes up a large part of our everyday life
Of course, not everybody needs to become a mathematician or engineer, but this subject can provide a bright future for your child and help him in a huge number of life situations. It helps your child to think critically and know how to make the best decisions. In the next articles, we will broach the aspects of daily life that Math directly affects to help kids visualize how to apply Mathematics in practice.

toan hoc quan trong giup con thong minh hon

Math makes your child smarter

Studies repeatedly show that we can make ourselves smarter. High intelligence is nothing more than a great ability for pattern recognition and problem-solving, all of which are trainable.

May Mathematics happen for a reason. Mathematics enhances analytical and problem-solving skills creates the basis for systemic thinking, improves the skills required to arrive at logical conclusions, expands the mind to handle unfamiliar tasks with ease and confidence, learns through trial and error, and promotes cautious and careful thinking. (

toan hoc quan trong nhu the nao la tam ve thong hanh trong thoi dai so

Math enables your child to have more opportunities to grow in the digital era

It is said that Big data is a big chance for the digital era, and is a hot topic that shows up somewhat regularly in all aspects of our lives. These days big data plays a role in nearly everything: the music we listen to, the GPS that guides us around new places, the healthcare system we are dependent upon, and so much more. There is no doubt that the world wouldn’t have advanced as rapidly as it has without the advent of big data processing. Many of us might think that a creative mind and the spirit of a designer are all that is necessary, but what matters more than all of that is a background in mathematics. Math (as linear algebra, calculus, statistics, and probability) is a critical component of the big data equation. It is used in nearly every aspect of the process, from big data tool design to data collection, to data analysis. (

Do everything in your power to help your child to love math, such as a course designed to “fit” with your child’s learning pace. At Everest, we teach Singapore Math and customize a study plan for each student – students can learn at their own plan that is an effective way to boost them more confidence in learning math.