When you engage in something “just for fun” they call it recreational. Here is an op-ed piece about recreational math. Imagine that! Math that is just for fun.
Now you may think that because I blog about math that I am a math wizard (or wizardess) but alas, I am not. I am not even particularly good at math. I am however, related to some math wizards and friends with many more. When I saw this article, I couldn’t help thinking about my dad and how much he loved a good puzzle. He approached puzzles like a mathematician and worked the problems until solved. Each month we received Games magazine and together we would pore through the puzzles and work on them together.
The kind of recreational math described in this article includes the daily Sudoku you find in your newspaper as well as more complicated word riddles that encourage all kinds of critical thinking skills. Do you remember this one?
Even though none of this really applies to math with young children, it still makes me think about how math is fun and that it should be fun. Engaging children with recreational mathematical activities should begin in the earliest years so children can grow to love the process of problem-solving for the sheer joy of it.