Math Talk: Math is all around us! Talking to your child about sizes, amounts and quantities will get your child ready to work on these skills. Using comparison words like more, less, fewer, larger and smaller will help your child build a math vocabulary and an understanding of these concepts.
Children always want more treats! Use this to help your child understand more and less by putting out two piles of a snack or treat and asking which pile she wants. Talk about which pile has more or less.
Identifying Colors and Shapes: Children need to learn colors and shapes in order to help them describe things they see and group things into categories. Matching items of the same color or shape can be done before children are able to correctly name a color or shape.
Anything can be sorted! Each day you encounter cereal, lacing beads, rocks; All of these are opportunities to sort by color. You can also put out household objects like balls, cereal boxes, and blocks and work with your child to sort these into piles by shape.
Counting: Children learn how to “count” numbers first. Then they need to learn how to actually count an object for each number. Showing your child that we count each item will help with this understanding. If your child has already mastered counting, challenge your child by introducing counting back from 10 or counting by 2s or 5s. At this age these more advanced forms of counting should be practiced without counting objects. Chanting 5, 10, 15, 20… is the best way to introduce counting by 5s. There is no need to count groups of 5.
Just counting can be done anytime. If it is clean up time, you can count up from one to see how long it takes you and your child. Counting steps or counting out snacks or objects while playing will help your child understand that we count an object each time we say a number. Board games that have you move your piece a certain number of spaces are also good for reinforcing counting.
Recognizing and Writing Numbers: Children need to be able to recognize numbers before they can begin to understand the value of each number. Understanding and working with numbers will be easier if your child can name numbers automatically.
Point out numbers everywhere you go. Have your child push the number button on the elevator. Point out numbers in addresses as you take a walk. Talk with your child about the numbers around you and what they tell us. Some numbers tell us how much things cost, other numbers help us find where we are going. You can choose a number of the day and every time you and your child come across that number in the day, your child can write the number in a number notebook.
Measurement Fun: Playing with measurement exposes your child to numbers and important math concepts. Measurement includes volume, as we measure with a measuring cup; length, height and width as we measure with a tape measure or ruler; and weight as we measure with a scale or balance.
Cooking with your children is a great way to play with measurement. You can also give your child measuring cups and spoons to play with in the bath, at the beach or in the dirt. Make sure to model how we read these measurement tools. Keep a ruler or tape measure handy for measuring things. Measure how long a table is or how tall your child is growing. Compare the weight of objects by using a balance. The object that makes the balance go down is heavier. Encourage your child to weigh things on the bathroom scale. Again, use the words that are associated with each form of measurement as you are measuring. Your child will pick up on the words inches, pounds, etc.