I don’t have a clue about what other mothers talk to their kids about when driving in the car but when my children were little, I routinely took the opportunity to quiz them about math facts. It seemed logical. All the moms were reading to their kids and playing Mozart to them, (even from outside of the womb… I live in Marin County, California), so why should mathematics be left out?
Now my kids are grown, and I’ve spent the last 15 years teaching math so I have an inkling that those were odd thoughts (versus even thoughts), and that the vast majority of mothers, fathers, parental units, guardians, nannies, au pairs, grandparents, and whoever else takes care of children, do not drive around in the car asking their charges, “What two numbers multiply to twenty and sum to nine?” let alone when the kids are in kindergarten and 3rd grade.
The “What Two Numbers” game helps build a foundation for when kids encounter the ever-so-challenging concept of Factoring Quadratics.
The “captive audience math challenge” is an effective way to develop math sense, just as reading to a child from an early age is an effective way to develop literacy.