Mathematics is about numbers, shapes, and patterns. It is counting, measuring things, discovering similarities and differences, and solving problems.
Math is a natural part of our everyday lives. Children and adults use numbers, count and estimate amounts, measure, sort, and use math in many other ways around the home. You can use the following ideas to help you and your child find the math in familiar situations.
Matching numbers with sets of objects helps your child develop a sense for a number. For example, knowing that the word three or(or the numeral 3) means a collection of three objects. This concept may seem obvious to adults, but this is something young children must learn through experience and practice.
Explore math together with your child when you are at the playground, in your yard, taking at a walk, or playing sports. You can measure, count, compare, find and create patterns, and more.
Initially, children may just use the words big and small to describe size, without understanding different aspects of sixe, such as length, weight, and capacity. Help your child become familiar with comparison language, such as short, tall, taller, tallest, heavy, light, holds more, and holds less. Cooking activities are excellent for exploring measurement.
Be on the lookout for opportunities to practice counting. You may be pleasantly surprised by how much your child enjoys counting things. Count our loud together so your child can follow your lead as the numbers increase. Keep these counting activities brief, fun, and playful.
Children enjoy the rhythm and pattern of reciting numbers in order (rote counting) as well as counting actual objects (rational counting). Encourage them to count as far as they can. Gradually help them go a little further with their counts. Counting up or doing a countdown (10, 9, 8, ...) is a way to fill transition times, like getting ready to leave or waiting for a turn.
Children enjoy thinking about and using numbers that relate to themselves, such as their ages, birth dates, phone numbers, addresses, height, weight, and so on. This will help them understand the many ways we use numbers.
Help your child become aware of shapes and patterns all around. Geometric shapes, such as squares, circles, triangles, cubes, spheres, and pyramids are part of everyday objects. For example, a tabletop may look like a square or circle, and the sides of its legs may look like rectangles. Not all shapes will match exactly.
Children often enjoy hearing "grown-up" words for 3-dimensional shapes, but don't expect them to consistently use these words at this point.
We sort things into categories every day: laundry, mail, food items, and coins are just a few examples. When we sort we notice similarities and differences, create categories, and compare groups. Sorting can be a fun way for your child to become involved in helping around the house while practicing important math skills.
We use ordinal numbers, such as first, second, third, and so on, when standing in line, playing a game, or participating in a race. we also put things in order and think about sequence when we plan a meal or a trip. There are lots of sequencing puzzles, card, and games that your child might enjoy
Encourage your child to notice patterns in music, nature, language, and art. Together you can search for sound and color patterns throughout the day. The more you child becomes aware of patterns, the more he or she will find.
We use terms and phrases such as over, under, behind, next to, in front of, near, and far all the time. By hearing and using position words in everyday situations, your child will develop a sense of spatial relationships, which is an important part of geometry. Use a variety of position words while playing or going for a walk or ride.
Initially, children will find it easier to respond to clues rather than provide them. So you should be the one to begin giving the clues. After listening to your clues for some time, your child will be ready to give clues, too.
Number stories can emerge from everyday events, such as taking a walk or setting the table. Children can use fingers or other counters to find the answer to a number story. Your child does not need to know addition or subtraction facts yet. What is most important is that your child explores numbers in real settings and builds critical-thinking, problem-solving, and listening skills.
A visit to the grocery store is a great opportunity to explore math with your child. Numbers abound there, and it is full of shapes, arrangements, and measures to discover and investigate.
Continue to explore math informally with your child over the summer. Refer to the suggestions here for ideas. Playing games together, such as dominoes, checkers, card games, and board games is a fun way to develop many math skills.