Add It Up = It Equals Success
Young children can learn basic math skills just by talking with you.
Math skills help in many ways--from doing well in school as a child, to
doing well as an adult with other responsibilities. Math is a part of
our every day life, and we need to understand it.
Comparing is an important math activity. Try using words like more/less,
long/short, high/low, wide/narrow, tall/short, light/heavy. Your toddler
can ask for "more," and can understand "less." Some
children's books, like Dr. Seuss' Foot Book, also can help your
child learn about these words.
Words that help young children understand the order of things like first/middle/last,
big/bigger/biggest, low/lower/lowest, can help your child understand more
about how things can be arranged. Help your child put toys on a high or
low shelf, or arrange shoes by sizes, biggest to smallest.
Talking about time is another way to understand math ideas. Young children
might not be able to tell time, or understand all the words about time,
but their understanding begins with your words. Talk about the time of
day as it goes on. Use the words "early" and "late"
to describe the time of day. Put words together like morning and breakfast,
lunch and afternoon to help your child understand. Say, "You woke
up from your nap. Now it's afternoon."
Chores are a perfect way to use math. They can be learning experiences
for young children. Some great ideas to help with math understanding are:
Don't leave it to chance. Even though you may naturally use math words in
every day talk, it is important to use these words with young children.
It lets you know when they don't understand something, and you can use more
words as their understanding and meaning grows. Your words and playing with
your child can make math fun.
- setting the table
- sorting laundry
- putting toys away
- cooking and measuring
- planning the day
Prepared by Marsha Hawley, Extension
Educator, Family Life.