A definition for FUN is "activities that are enjoyable or amusing."
Look around on the Internet - search for math and fun - you find endless silly questions and puzzles.
Today my question is NOT "Can adults create math puzzles and exercises that will amuse children?"
The question IS "Does mastering basic math skills enable people to enjoy solving real math problems throughout the rest of their lives?"
I think so. Yes.
For many people, reading is effortless, until they come to a category of literature they've never tackled before - poetry, the Medicare Handbook, Instructions for IRS Form 1040, Russian novels. But even if that novel is a hard slog, the ability to wade through slowly is much better than not reading at all.
Math may never be effortless but compared to the alternative - math illiteracy - it's great.
Bicycling across town, especially a hilly town like San Diego, can be lots of hard climbing, mixed in with the fun of coasting downhill. Compared to walking - it's great.
Cooking can be hard, hot and tiring - ask a chef! - but it's certainly a rewarding skill to master.
So is math.