No class fills more kids with dread than math. Children are puzzled by numbers, letters, and algebraic formulas that bear no resemblance to their ordinary lives. For many children, learning the fundamentals at an early age could help them to have a firm foundation for the future. This early education can negate the anxiety that math class provokes in many children.
Preschool is an ideal time to start teaching your child the basics of math. At this age, it’s important to utilize creative concepts that make learning a more entertaining experience. A good experience at an early age can lead to more positive interactions with numbers in the future.
Teachers and parents alike can implement a few of these imaginative ideas into their lesson plans to get started.
Make snack time into math class.
Does anything motivate kids faster than a good snack? At the preschool age, many children are just beginning to master basic counting up to ten or twenty. Snack time is a great way to subtly work math into your daily routine.
When it comes time to break out the animal crackers, help your child count out how many they receive. Practicing counting to twenty daily allows you to consistently reinforce the proper order. It also allows you to gain a better understanding of how quickly your child can learn and memorize standard information like numbers.
Organize colorful candies.
Sorting and organizing information is another math concept that could be taught as early as preschool. Help your child to sort things according to color using colorful candies like M&Ms or Skittles. When they’re finished, count aloud how many candies are in each group before you allow the child to eat them.
You can also use this technique to work on building a basic pattern, a simple geometry concept for little kids. Have them arrange colors in unique orders such as red, blue, green or yellow, orange until they run out of candy. This also gives them a refresher course on their colors.
Fish for numbers.
Recognizing the written numeral and putting it in the proper order is a key concept for preschoolers. Consider helping children to “fish” for their numbers. Parents or teachers can cut out ten colorful fish using construction paper, numbering each one. Attach a paper clip or magnet to each fish, giving your child a magnetic “fishing pole” made from a wooden dowel and some basic string.
Have the child catch each fish, aiming to catch them in the correct order from one to ten. If they catch the wrong fish at the wrong time, they need to release him back into the pond and try again.
Play a few rounds of hopscotch.
Kinetic learners will benefit from getting their blood pumping during a rousing game of hopscotch. Help children number each square one through ten, which reinforces both counting and writing the numbers correctly.
Each round can be different. Require children to skip over certain numbers on their way through the hopscotch course. In the end, this simple game helps children to count to ten, write their numerals, and recognize numbers visually.
Helping a child to develop a basic understanding of math early in life can make a huge difference in their math performance over the years. Nurturing a love of numbers can pay huge dividends by the time a child reaches algebra and geometry in high school. Consider all of the simple ways that these fundamental concepts can easily be incorporated into daily activities.