As any parent of a young child knows, learning is not something that only takes place in school. It is important for children to understand how learning applies to their daily lives and to have fun with it. Math is an easy subject to incorporate into almost every aspect of life, and parents can help children enjoy themselves while learning. In fact, parents often end up having quite a good time themselves in the process.
Number sense is certain one of the most important skills in math development. Children will first learn how to count by memory, often times skipping numbers as they master this. Once this rote memory is in place, children will be able to develop their ability to both count objects and recognize numbers. Helping children to understand that when they count an item, they should assign one number to one object (this is called one-to-one correspondence) and that the number name of the last object is the total amount will help children prepare for the addition and subtracting that they will be learning about in kindergarten.
In addition to counting, measuring, classifying, and identifying patterns and shapes are all important part of your child learning. These are all concepts you and your child can explore together with simple items from home. Measuring different items around the house, including family members and pets, can be a great rainy day activity. While playing with Legos with our child, you can create patterns and have your child copy them. Sticky notes and stickers are also fun for a child to create patterns with. When cleaning up, you can help your child master classifying by asking that all the red toys go in one bucket, and the blue toys go in a different bucket. As you child masters this increase the difficulty for your child asking for items to be sorted by more than one attribute. All the red cars go in one bucket, and the red Legos go in a different bucket.
Math is all around us, and an understanding of math starts very young. Some studies show that infants as young as two months old can understand when one group of items is different than another group. Through your interactions with your child, both at home and in the community, you will be able to nurture this interest