So many of us love to hate Math because let's just say it is a tricky subject for grown-ups. But we know how crucial Math is these days — STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) gives students an edge at future employment especially in a digital world. For our kids to love Math, we need to start them young on the fundamental skills.
Now, before you bombard your toddler with addition and subtraction flash cards, Zero to Three, a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping parents of babies and toddlers raise their kids to their fullest potential, says he needs to master these six pre-math skills:
Parents start teaching their babies how to count 0 to 10 as soon as they turn a year old, which is an excellent jumping-off point for learning about number awareness. You will never run out of things to count with your child. After teaching counting forward, teach your tot to count backward, too.
Memorizing the numbers isn't enough. Make sure you offer one-to-one correspondence by having your little one count actual objects. Have objects in a line or in a group, and have your little one count them. Also, show your child the numbers and letter equivalent of the numbers.
Teach your little one about measurement by letting him play with rulers, scales, and clocks to help him understand terms such as long, short, thick, thin, wide, narrow, and even how early or late it is in relation to telling time.
Exploring outdoor spaces and introducing two- and three-dimensional shapes will help your tot grasp early geometry concepts like shapes, sizes, space, position (above and below), direction, and movement (up, down, left, right).
Sorting and matching
Children need to understand how to compare objects and classify by shape, color, and size and more. You may see these are simple activities, but they help toddlers recognize patterns or things and concepts that repeat in a logical way.
Guessing the amount or size of something or making predictions or what comes next in a series hones a child's logical and reasoning skills. These will be handy during problem-solving and later in Algebra and statistics.
Based on The Parents Book of Lists: From Birth to Age Three, these some of the ways to learn math through play:
- Give your toddlers shape sorters and building blocks to help develop spatial awareness.
- Let your child play with toy telephones with numbers or collect and count pebbles and buttons.
- Make a clock out for your child to get him started on counting, sequences, and patterns.
- Have your tot help in cooking or baking. Measuring ingredients and cooking procedure help help him learn pre-math skills.
- Singing and dancing also help with rhythm counting.
Again, like reading, conversations about math is crucial. Asking about how far or near, how big or small your house is when you're walking back from the park is a big help. Point out how bigger or taller a pencil is compared to the other. Reading books about math also helps.
These pre-math skills are nothing to stress about, right? It's not rocket science, at least not yet, anyway! Math is in all aspects of our everyday lives. Just keep in mind that young children learn best through play, so make learning about math fun! You need to be positive about the process, too. Don't give the subject a more bad reputation than it already has.