Q:

I thought that I would add more to your recent column on math. So much math is easier if you know shortcuts and tricks.

For example, the formation of the Roman numerals I, II and III can be remembered by holding up different numbers of fingers. And for five, hold up a hand and have the children see that the thumb and little finger make a V if you visualize a line drawn down from each to meet by the wrist. And for the Roman 10 (X), stretch your hands out at the wrist so you have two V's back to back, making an X. -- For Math Fun

A:

Math finger activities are both fun and educational for children. After all, most children start off by counting on their fingers. Expand on this by having those 5 and older show you different numbers by using their fingers. For example, if you ask to see seven fingers, a child might put up five fingers on one hand and two on the second hand. Then you should have the child say, "Seven is five fingers and two fingers." Young children may have to count the fingers to reach the number. Repeat this activity with six, eight, nine and 10. Looking at numbers as "five and something else" is a good way to help children gain strategies to learn the basic facts.

Younger children can start out by being asked to show a certain number on their fingers, and then show one more finger. They should say, "Four fingers and one more are five fingers." Later, they can be asked to add two more fingers. In the same way, they can learn about subtraction -- first subtracting one finger and then two.

Finger fun can even be used for a multiplication drill game. Using all 10 fingers, the two players each show a number between 1 and 10 using their fingers. Then they can take turns giving the answer or race to see who can give the answer first. For example, if one holds up five fingers and the other holds up two, the answer will be 10. This game can be expanded by having a third player give the answers.