Mathematics can either be fun or daunting for young children. But by encouraging your child to build important early numeracy skills in a relaxed, interesting and interactive way, you are giving them the best possible chance at succeeding in, and learning to love, mathematics!
1. Play dough shapes. Ask your child to look at different 2D and 3D shapes and form them using play dough. You can also use shape cutters to help guide them. This activity gives your child a hands-on opportunity to learn, observe and manipulate different shapes.
2. Count and sort a basket of toys. Sorting and classifying objects help children understand the nature of mathematics. Gather a basket or box of toys and sit down with your child to count them. Sort them based on size, colour or theme. This is also a great way to encourage them to put away their toys!
3. Experiment with volumes during bath time. Collect differently sized jars, cups and containers and use them during bath time to teach your child about ‘full’ and ‘empty’ and compare capacities. Talk about what’s happening as you play. For example, “My cup is full, no more water can fit in my cup”, or “Let’s pour water from my small cup to your big cup and see if it becomes full”.
4. Counting in the kitchen. Cooking together is a great way to learn about fractions and measurements in the kitchen. Show your child different measuring tools and talk about the concept of fractions, such as explaining how two ½ cups make one whole cup.
5. Don’t drop the ball. Take your mathematics lesson outside by counting the number of times you and your child can throw a ball to each other without dropping it. You can also ask another child to keep a tally.
6. Mathematics in nature. Taking a walk gives your child many opportunities to build early numeracy skills. Compare the sizes of different rocks, assess how many birds you spot, note similarities and differences between different leaves, and carry a notebook to put the things you see into categories.
7. Dry macaroni patterns. Patterns help children learn sequencing and to make predictions, which leads to stronger numeracy skills. Have fun with patterns by letting your child arrange dry macaroni into different patterns or designs. You can also use beads or different types of cereal.
8. Building block towers. Building and identifying sequences help your child develop a sense of order, logic, and reason. Building block towers is a fun way to introduce your child to sequencing, by following a step-by-step method with a final goal in mind.
9. Number safari. In the car, have your child look for numbers in street and shop signs, and on licence plates. See if they can find all numbers up to ten and encourage them to call out the numbers as they find them.
10. Connect the dots. Connect the dots is a fun ways to teach your child about number sequencing. You can download this free connect the dots activity featuring Reggie from Reading Eggs!
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