11 Ways to Help Your Child Learn Math
Learn how to capitalize on your child's innate understanding of general math concepts and give her a head start.
Add and Subtract Items in a Given Set
This learning involves, for example, understanding that the number two corresponds to two objects. Begin with small sets of two and three objects, and work your way up to larger numbers. In the beginning, have the child touch each object as he counts it. Later he will be able to count alone. Try putting clothespins into a large jar and counting as you drop them in, counting plates as you set the table, or counting toys that you are putting away in the toy box.
This will help your child realize that when you stop counting a given number of objects, that number represents the amount of items in a set. Place objects in a line, and have the child touch and count each one. Then add another object to the row and have her count again.
Use simple stories to introduce word problems. For example, “A mother bunny and her baby were eating carrots in a garden. How many bunnies are there? Soon another bunny came to join them. How many bunnies are eating carrots now?”
Demonstrate How to Classify Objects
Have your child take things that are alike in all ways except for one and put them into groups. For example, have your youngster sort through the box of crayons and put the red ones into one pile and the green crayons into another.
Have your child tell you which things are bigger, smaller, darker, lighter, softer, louder, etc. Use common objects like two pairs of shoes of different sizes, or three blocks—one small, one medium, and one large. Show the order of objects. Start with two things and gradually increase the number. Order by size, weight, nearness, farness, etc.
Put ten buttons in a jar and ask your child to guess how many there are. At the grocery store, ask your child to predict how much the bag of onions weighs before you place it on the scale.
Teach Patterning and Sequencing
Get some large plastic beads in various colors. Have your child string the beads in various patterns—first all the red beads, followed by all the blue ones, or one green bead, two pink beads, one green bead, two pink ones, etc.
Let your child help you bake, pour a capful of bubble bath into the tub, or measure small objects with a ruler.
Help Your Child Learn to Recognize and Write Numbers
Cut out numbers made of felt or construction paper and let your youngster make number pictures. Have him play bingo. Have him trace and write the numbers and illustrate them by drawing the correct number of objects. Make or buy number flash cards.
There are so many other ways to introduce the magic of numbers to your child. From the simplicity of counting and sorting household items to finding books that teach counting, measuring, and simple arithmetic, be creative and have fun. Get counting!
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