Learning Anywhere, Every Day
Part 9 of 12 - Math Adventures
19 July 2017
When we adults think of math, visions of multiplication tables, adding, subtracting and the like come to mind. But preschoolers aren’t ready to memorize multiplication tables. Exploring and playing with fundamental math concepts is appropriate math learning for your preschooler. This is because they need to grasp the most basic math ideas before any formal math learning can occur. And everyday you both can explore and build upon the math skills they will use when one day they move on to primary school.
Yes, there are fun ways to help your little mathematician hone their early math skills. Here are a five suggestions:
- Create containers filled with small treasures. Think of lids buttons, shells, beads, pieces of ribbon, pinecones, acorns, and similar items as your tools for math learning. Your preschooler will naturally sort them by size, color, and shape. They will count and compare collections. They will talk about they are doing and why, especially if you join in. Chat about what you are doing, “I saw you examine each button before placing some of them in the blue bowl. What were you looking at?”
- Talk about math. Include math talk when cooking, playing at the park, and at bedtime. “Our family has five people eating dinner. How many ears of corn should we shuck?” “How many times do you want me to push you in the swing?” “We can read three books together before turning out the light.” Check out our super easy Chatty-Do activities such as, What Round Things Do You See? and What Was the Smallest Thing You Saw Today? for more fun practicing fundamental, math-friendly chats.
- Measure things. Preschoolers enjoy using measuring tools, like rulers and tape measures. Ask questions that invite your preschooler to measure something. “How wide is your bed?” “How tall is the cat?” If you don’t have measuring instruments on hand, you measure things by arm’s lengths or foot lengths. “How many arm’s lengths is your bed?” “How many shoes long is the carpet?”
- Talk about comparisons. Preschoolers naturally notice differences in size. Talk about how things compare to each other. “Who is bigger, the cat or the dog?” “Which is the biggest block?” You can also compare weights and volumes. “Which is heavier, the saucer or the plate?” “What cup holds more juice?”
- Build together. Make buildings from blocks, Legos, a collection of recycled items, or shoe boxes with the tops taped shut. Try masking tape to hold the structures together. Talk about shapes, sizes, widths, and heights as you build. Then get out your tools and take some measurements. “How did you make the building so high?” “How wide is the bottom of our building?”
So go ahead, start having a blast with key math concepts. Check out our Eat It! Activity Collection for lots of simple recipes with math concepts in them. Make Focus Scopes and go outside and see what big and bigger things you can see in nature. Have fun and let us know all about it!
Up next in Part 10 of our 12 part Learning Anywhere, Every Day series, it’s time to play some waiting time games. And if you missed it, here's where our series began.
Inspiration/Credit goest to Dutch artist, M. C. Escher and his illustration, "Regular division of the plane I" (1957) which explains the 12 steps to draw a tessellation in his book "Plane Tessellations." http://www.math.cornell.edu/~mec/Winter2009/Mihai/section8.html