Many parents think that toys like Bakugan are a useless waste of time and money and that their son (usually) could be making better use of his time. However, when seen another way, it is clear that Bakugan have an important role in developing math skills. This article will explain how to use Bakugan to teach math skills your child needs to know, in a fun way that he will enjoy.
Things You Will Need* lots of Bakugan * a child (a 10 year old boy is the usual type, but others will be okay, too)
Step 1Purchase a few Bakugans to help your son get started. They come in single packs or multi-packs, both with or without the game cards. After you have helped him get his starter collection, then you can explain to him that he will need to buy his own, from then on. It is a good idea to set up this expectation right from the beginning, because his urge for more and more Bakugan will soon be larger than your ability (or willingness) to pay. Practicing saving up for a large purchase, learning about prices and tax, and the value of his money are all critical life skills in math that everyone needs to learn, as young as possible.
Step 2Involve yourself with his interest. The Bakugan toys are basically a modern version of marbles, so if you were ever interested in marbles as a child, then you will probably love Bakugan now. Listen to him while he tells you all about the powers and attributes and different qualities of each one. This kind of "comparative thinking" is a core skill for all of math and developing the ability to make comparisons is essential. Although an adult might prefer that a child practice comparative thinking with tidy worksheets about shapes and colors, the average boy will have little patience for that approach. However, the same average boy will happily spend an hour with you discussing which Bakugan is more powerful than another, and why. This is the same skill, but presented in a way that appeals to him, and once the skill is learned, he will ALSO be able to perform better on worksheets and other activities at school and in life.
Step 3Bakugan usually have a small 3 digit numbers on each one, and that has to do with how powerful that particular one is, for the battles. This gives you a great chance to practice place value and reading three digit numbers with your child. Again, if your child has practiced these numbers at home with his toys all weekend, then Monday's worksheet about place value will be quite easy for him!
Step 4Read the game book instructions and you are sure to be amazed at the complexity of the Bakugan games that are available. There are many steps to keep track of and many different ways to play. All of this math-based complexity is good preparation for higher math skills in general. Lay out the cards for a game and you will soon see another whole set of math skills opening up, having to do with spatial awareness, geographic forms, and connections among different aspects of the same overall situation.
Step 5When it is time to clean up, your child may want to spend several minutes in the process of sorting the Bakugan, and arranging them in a container according to some particular criteria, such as size, color, name, attribute, or whatever. Sorting skills are the basic foundation skill for nearly all other math skills . . . . don't rush him! Instead, ask him about why he has decided on which way to sort them, and encourage him to resort them in a different way, too, at least once in awhile Being able to sort the same group of objects in different ways is another good math skill to practice.
These same thoughts apply to almost all popular fads, such as Pokemon or hotwheels or any similar expandable collection type toys. Trust your child's play -- play is how children learn best. (not worksheets!)