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  • 3 Ways To Make Math Activities for Preschoolers Enjoyable For You And Your Children

    Learning how to count is just one aspect of acquiring math skills.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
3 Ways To Make Math Activities for Preschoolers Enjoyable For You And Your Children
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  • Just like preschool writing activities and preschool reading activities, math activities for preschoolers can be fun, too. This way, children in the early childhood stage, or the preschool age, will enjoy learning and honing their math skills.

    When do children learn math?

    From the time they were born, children start learning math and numeracy skills. Numeracy is the ability to recognise and apply maths concepts in all areas of life, according to the Australian parenting resource, Raising Children.

    Babies and toddlers learn from watching and participating in everyday play and activities, such as:

    • Hearing you count their fingers and toes
    • Seeing, and, eventually, recognizing numbers and shapes in clocks and other objects
    • Deciding on how many slices of banana they want

    As they turn preschoolers and then become older, children learn more numeracy and math skills. These include size and measurement, in ways like:

    • Grouping objects by small, medium, and large
    • Describing where things are, if over, under, or next to
    • Helping set the table with the corret number of plates, forks, spoons, and cups
    • Filling up his glass with water
    • Dividing food into equal parts

    Along the way, children learn more about problem solving, analysizing and making sense of information, understanding patterns, making choices, and so on.

    Math activities for preschoolers

    For parents to help teach their children some math and numeracy skills, preschool teacher Lyra Villaraza recommends activities that are play-based and practical rather than the conventional use of pen and paper. She points out that "learning through games" has been proven to be beneficial to children.

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    Teacher Lyra, who designs her own yearlong program to teach kids from 2 to 5 years, suggests these activities:

    Use actual objects

    For number recognition, you can use the TV remote control to show the many channels that can be watched. You can also use the wall or desk calendar to show the days and dates in numbers.

    To practice counting, you can ask your children how many grocery items you've just brought home. Next, ask them to sort the grocery items according to sizes, colors, or uses. You can also make an inventory of the items in your pantry and ask your children which ones to be replenished and how many.

    Teacher Lyra points out that number recognition and counting are just two aspects in learning math skills. Having the capacity to sort and analyze are another two that have greater importance.

    Play actual games

    Some of the recommended games you can try with your young kids are:

    • Junior Monopoly, a board game to introduce your kids to counting and money
    • Dino Math Tracks, which teaches addition and subtraction (a child who is obsessed with dinosaurs will love this!)
    • Sungka, a traditional Filipino two-player strategy game that makes use of a wooden sungkaan and small shells or pebbles.

    Read books about math

    Probably even better than flash cards or worksheets in teaching math are books that discuss concepts your child will find relatable. Here's a short list:

    Let's Count Goats! by Mem Fox and Jon Thomas is a fun book for kids up to age 10.

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    Off to See the World by Eric Carle has animals as your child's counting companion.

    Hating Kapatid, by Filipino author Raissa Rivera Falgui and illustrator Fran Alvarez, teaches not only the concept of fractions but also the values of fairness and sharing with family members.

    In planning math activities for preschoolers, don't focus too much on your own weaknesses if it's not your favorite school subject. What's important is that you imbibe the right mindset, so you can encourage your children to do the same. This will not only make learning fun for your children, but for you as well, and you get to bond together.

    Read here on how one mom teacher math to her children.

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