The best real-world situations to raise maths conversations

The kitchen is a great place to raise mathematical questions, whether it be baking, cooking or even making lunch boxes. There are endless opportunities to slip in basic facts.

A real doozy, of course, is making a double mixture of muffins ("We need 120mL of milk for 1 mixture, how much for two?"), or you could try my favourite trick of providing the wrong measuring cup ("Oh darn, we need 1 cup of flour, but I can only find the 1/3 cup. How many will we need?").

The supermarket is such an ultimate place to begin maths conversations! Here, where quantity, quality and specials are rife, there are dozens of questions you could ask to get things going.

I particularly like it when products differ in their weight and price. For example, how would your child work out which is the best bang for (your) buck: a 90g can of spaghetti for \$1.20 or a 180g can of spaghetti for \$2.30?

Once kids are aware of money and have figured out its value, you can create situations to explore the basic facts they need to know as an adult. For example, if they are receiving \$2, how many 50c coins is that? Or, you're giving them \$10, but they owe you \$4, so how much does which person get? The perfect thing about money is it's tangible, so calculations can always be demonstrated with actual coins/notes. Making the connection between an amount shown on a bank app and real money is also a good idea!