Monday, June 24, 2013

Early Learning: Math Skills

Whatever developmental stage your child is at, it is never too early to introduce a little math play. Numbers are a part of everyday life and your child will be more comfortable with them when school starts if they're presented that way :)

I tell my little ones that Math is like magic, and then I show them some of the "magical" patterns you can make with numbers! Even finding patterns on a calendar can seem like magic when you're little - we take out our calendar number cards and try to make up new color patterns - one side is red, the other black! Let your children experiment with numbers, using cards or little magnets, and see what interests them.

Use your child's sense of rhythm and love of music to "hear" Math - clap patterns and count beats while you're singing and dancing! Make up some new beats and play "Follow the Leader" with clapping. Magic!

Block play can be a math lesson - making towers with two different colored blocks (patterns, sequencing) and then counting them up (one-to-one correspondence) sneaks math into a favorite pastime!

Continue counting other objects, noting one-to-one correspondence. Count fingers, toes, toys, cookies, cars ... you get the picture! Encourage your child to repeat the numbers and practice counting on their own, when they're ready.

Older preschool and school-aged children can work on solutions to simple word problems, using a group of like objects. You might put together some buttons, blocks, small figures - and get ready to practice some Math facts. If Mom has two Legos and You have three, how many do you have together?

When they've mastered that, try this!

First, count out a total number of objects - start small with a number like 5. Then, separate this amount into two groups ... Let's say 2 and 3. Record the number of objects in each group and practice writing the numbers. Relate the written numerals to the number of objects and have your child practice counting each one. Make a simple number model to represent what you're playing with: 2+3=5.

Now, put the objects back in a pile and separate again into different groups - 4 and 1. Try the same thing, recording the numbers, and notice the total. Write a new number sentence. Make sure to notice how the two different groups add up to the same number! See if you can find other combinations - then, try a new number. If you line up all the math facts on a piece of paper, your child will be able to notice some more Math "magic!"

All these Math games will give your child some "number sense!"

While you're at it, have fun!

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