Teaching Mental Math to younger kids



It is a common perception that doing mental math is not easy for younger kids. But on the contrary, the fact is that these early learners have great abilities like the ability to visualize and the capability to imagine. These are two important attributes that come in handy in learning to do mental math. 

Moreover, when a kid is performing mental math, the whole brain is being used most efficiently in a highly focused manner. It is a proven fact that doing mental math augments the working memory of the child and improves the concentration level along with the executive functioning skills.

What is Working Memory?

According to Alan Baddeley and Graham J. Hitch (2010), Scholarpedia, 5(2):3015.

Working memory is a limited capacity part of the human memory system that combines the temporary storage and manipulation of information in the service of cognition. Working memory includes an executive controller that interacts with separate short-term stores for auditory-verbal and visuospatial information. 

The term working memory is used most frequently to refer to a limited capacity system that is capable of briefly storing and manipulating information involved in the performance of complex cognitive tasks such as reasoning, comprehension and certain types of learning”.

Effect of mental math on Working Memory

Since doing mental math primarily involves manipulating, visualizing and temporarily storing both visual and auditory (numbers) data, the process improves their concentration and recall which enables them to mentally process the problem. We can conclude that mental math helps in better utilization of the development of working memory.

Abacus helps to improve the ability of a child to do mental math with accuracy.

Improving the photographic memory of a child can be the key to improving their mental math ability. This can be achieved by training the child’s brain to visualize so that they could exactly replicate in their mind what they see. 

This is best achieved by letting the child undergo the training of Abacus. This works basically on the working memory of the child. A child undergoing Abacus training is trained to visualize the Abacus instrument, manipulate the beads as per the requirements of the sum and the arithmetic operators, temporarily remember the position of every bead according to its last position on the Abacus Tool and remember the final. Then, decipher the numerical value of the beads to get the answer. This is an entirely mental method. This not only makes learning mental math fun but the accuracy is of the highest level.

As of now Abacus classes other than physical classes in Abacus institutes are also available online. These online Abacus classes are being delivered under the guidance of a teacher The results are similar to that in a physical Abacus class.

Additional benefits of doing to do mental math

There are several other methods one can adopt to train a child to learn the process of doing mental math, for example, 

a. Dice games for simple addition and subtraction.

b. Learning to add are comfortable with the similar numbers like 5 + 5 = 10, 6 + 6 = 12. Then they can easily add 5 + 6 by mentally calculating 5 + 5 = 10 and 10 + 1 = 11.

Whatever be method you adopt, doing mental math will help in improving the level of concentration, memory and recall ability to visualize. The qualities when developed make a child not only confident but also enable them to perform better in their overall academics. 

It has been observed that Abacus training is the most effective method for training to do mental math because of its well-organized course, tested training methodology and finite period of training.


Studies have also shown that mental math is of great help not only for average or meritorious students but also for differently-abled kids with low IQ or suffering from dyscalculia. Every initiative should be taken to train the younger kids in mental math.

Your opinion about the utility of mental math in younger kids will be most welcome. Do mention it in the comment section.

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