Have you helped your preschooler with her math skills lately? Don’t worry, there’s a good chance you have! Lots of everyday activities are great practice for building math skills. Way before addition and subtraction, these foundations provide a sturdy base for your child’s understanding of more complex math concepts.
When playing with toys, help your children compare items by asking clarifying questions. Which car is bigger? Smaller How many wheels are on the car? How many on the big rig? Which has more?
Try to group toys or items by one attribute, then another. Let’s put all of the cars in one pile and all of the blocks in another. Now let’s separate the cars by color. This is great for cleaning up also! Start with a large category, then narrow it down until all of the toys are put away. First let’s see how many blue toys we can put away. Now let’s find all of the green ones. Bring me all of the cars. Now get all of the blocks, etc.
Putting away silverware is a great task for a young child. They are sorting as they go, and enjoy the “real” work. Another helpful household activity is matching socks into pairs.
It’s never too early to include children in cooking activities, following directions and using units of measurement. At the store, children can help you follow a list and count out items (3 red apples, 3 green apples) and weighing the produce is always a big hit!
It’s always great to count with your child, such as counting stair steps, trains or stuffed animals. Counting items are more meaningful when your child touches the item as they say the number. It’s equally important to reinforce one to one correspondence. This is pairing one item with another. Children can place a napkin at each plate when setting the table. Have a tea party with stuffed animals and make sure each animal gets a cup. Putting stamps on envelopes, dealing cards in a game, putting toy trains into a roundhouse or toy cars into garage slots all practice one to one correspondence.
Everyday activities will build your child’s math foundations and you’ll both enjoy the time spent together!
– Joy Martin, Teacher (T/Th, MWF, M-Th classes)