As adults, many of us don’t think about it anymore but everyone uses maths in their daily routines and activities, even toddlers. Beyond simply knowing how to count, most young children can understand and apply simple addition and subtraction concepts.
They know that if they still have two cookies left, they can give one to a friend and still have one left to munch on.
As children get into school and begin their educational journey they will begin to learn more advanced mathematical concepts. They will need to understand and master more skills as well.
However, you can give your child the best head start possible before they ever step through the school gates. You can help your little one go beyond counting, basic addition and subtraction by incorporating the right, fun activities into their daily or weekly routine.
Baking is fun, and by giving your child the role of sous chef for the day it can be educational as well.
Maths is always used in baking - for example, as pancakes and Yorkshire puddings use the same ingredients in different quantities, maths is essentially the only thing that separates them.
Doubling recipes means multiplying the measurements of ingredients by two. Halving recipes, on the other hand, calls for dividing the measurements.
You will also be able to introduce simple fractions to toddlers as well whenever you bake - you will be measuring several ingredients by a ½ cup or a ¼ teaspoon.
If your kids love pizza, you will even have more opportunities to teach them fractions. After baking the pizza, help them with slicing or dividing it according to the number of people who will eat it.
Since baking is fun and kids can get a treat after the whole process is done, they will enjoy every minute of this activity, even the part where you teach them maths. Also, who doesn’t love the smell of fresh baked cookies, and as they are only just starting to learn maths, your child likely won’t notice if a few should go missing…
Legos, wooden blocks, and other building toys are great for teaching kids a variety of mathematical skills and concepts. These include counting, addition, multiplication, and measurements.
Letting your little ones build something out of empty cereal boxes and milk bottles will help them learn more about shapes and manipulation as well. Additionally, nesting boxes and cups will also allow younger kids to start understanding the relationship between different sized objects.
Whatever toys or items you have at home, spend several minutes a day with your kids to build something. By doing this, you also get to help them learn various mathematical skills through a simple, fun activity.
It's much cheaper than buying all those new toys
If you have shape sorting toys at home, make it a habit to play with your kids using these toys, especially the younger ones. As you play, count the sides of each shape. Encourage them to remember the names of each shape as well. This is a great way of introducing basic geometry to them.
While a shape sorting toy is new, expect your toddlers to have difficulty inserting each shape to their designated holes. However, with your guidance, they will eventually figure out that each shape can fit only in their corresponding slot. And this is a great way to help build their problem-solving skills.
Additionally, a super simple but fun game can be to cut large shapes out of coloured construction paper. Then ask your children to “hop on the circle” or “jump on a star.” Younger kids will love this game and will easily familiarise themselves with different shapes.
Most preschoolers love watching stopwatches, timers, or hourglasses. If your kids are fascinated by these items, take advantage of this to help them polish their counting skills. Ask them to do jumping jacks or run around the yard and count the times they can do so within the given timeframe.
You can also use the timer or stopwatch to time short activities your children will be doing such as writing the numbers one to ten or colouring a page of their colouring book. This will help them develop a sense of time. Moreover, they will also begin to understand that some things take longer to do than others.
Lastly, although the abacus may be considered an old-fashioned toy by many, and may bring forth dreadful memories from dentist or hospital waiting rooms. However it is remarkably useful, the colourful beads will attract the attention of young kids. Sliding the beads back and forth will give children hours of simple enjoyment.
And while they are playing with the abacus, teach them about addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. As they grow older, the abacus can be used to help your kids improve their problem-solving skills.
However, make sure you are familiar with the logic of using an abacus. This is because the different coloured beads represent a group of numbers. Make sure you teach your children that, too.
A piggy bank can be another great way to teach counting, addition and subtraction! This can be as simple as counting out loud the number of coins dropping into the bank or as children get older and begin to learn the value of each coin it can become much more of a challenge for them to work out just how much money they’ve saved! As a bonus, you can also teach your children about the value of saving early on in their lives!
Maths is something that will always be present in everyone’s lives. Give your kids a head start with excelling in this field and help them learn maths by incorporating these fun activities with them at home
Shelley Aguillar is a Senior Educator at Blossom Business Bay. She is an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher, with over 15 years of experience teaching young students & children with special needs. She has an IB Certificate in Teaching & Learning International Teachers Certificate ASET Diploma in Child Psychology HNC Childcare and Education TEFL Advanced Certificate.