Math concepts in adult life can be very complex, or rooted in everyday activities like managing finances, shopping, and paying bills. These intricate math skills were built in early childhood, and at My Place, we introduce early math concepts in our preschool and Pre-K classes. The math that your preschooler or Pre-K child is being introduced to is very simple, but is an important building block to future learning and day-to-day life.
According to Head Start Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, early play with math ideas and concepts lay the foundation for the development of more complex math and science skills later on.
Here are some ways you can introduce math concepts to preschoolers and Pre-K children, and keep them interested in the years to come.
Help them to understand and identify basic shapes
Ask your child to name the shapes of basic objects like a book, a traffic sign, or a window, and use shape names in conversation. They may not fully understand 3D shapes like cones or cubes at this age, so keep it simple. When it comes time to build upon these shapes in later schooling, he’ll already have some knowledge to draw from.
Make numbers and counting fun
Learning numbers and counting can feel confusing for a young child. However, making it fun can help encourage your child to want to keep learning. Try singing songs that involve numbers, or teach them how to count using interesting objects like buttons, teddy bears, or raisins.
The concepts of “greater than” and “less than” are also important math skills to learn. You can help your child understand these concepts by getting them involved measuring ingredients while cooking, or asking him questions like, “Is the green shoe bigger or smaller than the red boot?”
Encourage pattern recognition and creation
Pattern recognition is a key math concept that can also build social skills, logic, and reasoning.
Here are some ways to teach patterns recognition and creation:
- Arrange colored blocks in three-color patterns and encourage your child to continue the pattern
- Ask your child to decorate their breakfast pancakes with alternating blueberry and strawberry slices
- Sing clapping songs such as Patty Cake
Preschoolers and Pre-K children are often naturally drawn to basic math concepts like numbers, shapes, and patterns. These concepts will help your preschooler build a vital foundation in math skills, and a love of future learning.