Mathematics is the first abstract science that children encounter. It is the basis for measuring time, size, duration of day and night, changing of the seasons, and understanding shapes in the environment. Research shows that the early introduction of mathematics into a child’s everyday life can contribute to the development of abstract thinking, understanding of cause-and-effect relationships, and sparking interest in this scientific discipline. Through daily interaction and various activities, you can introduce children to mathematical concepts before they start school, and here’s how:
Presentation of mathematics through objects in the environment
Mathematics is all around us, and you should use that when working with children. Although the subject of its study is abstract, it is important to present mathematics to children through concrete objects. Toys, jars, buttons, bottles, flowers in the garden. Everything can be counted and everything has a shape and a size. You do not need to take time out of your day to learn math. It is enough to include mathematics in everyday activities:
- How many flowers are there?
- Bring me 4 of your favorite toys.
- What shape is the plate, the sun, the ball, the bed…
Through simple questions, you can teach children to count, distinguish shapes and sizes, compare, and think about the relationships between objects. Remember that the goal of mathematics is to develop logical thinking, not to learn formulas and patterns.
Spice up a shared meal with math vocabulary and concepts
Helping in the kitchen is one of the children’s favorite activities. In addition to enjoying a meal together, this is a great way to spend some quality time and put the brain twists of your little ones into action. Just imagine how much fun it will be for your child to cut the cake, with a plastic knife, into equal parts for all family members. This way, you can introduce them to the concept of fractions. By separating the cake into two parts, and reuniting them, the child will be able to see for themselves that ½ and ½ make the whole cake.
Serving cakes will be another math challenge. The sliced cake should now be arranged into plates for each family member. That means your toddler needs to count slices and plates so that everyone in the family gets their share.
Math is really useful, isn’t it? This is the exact message that you should send to your child during these activities.
Playing board games
Board games will be your best friend in learning math. Gather the whole family around and the fun can begin. Apart from teaching children how to count, the game “Man, don’t get angry” is also an ideal way to develop children’s sense of fair play and a healthy attitude towards competition. “Monopoly” helps them understand how to manage their money.
These don’t have to be games that already exist, you can invent an activity that encourages understanding of mathematical concepts. For example, you can draw fields with numbers in the yard, and every time your child answers a mathematical question, you ask them to stand in a certain field. Kids will enjoy this active mathematical challenge, which engages both mentally and physically!
Drawing and mathematics
Drawing is a creative and fun activity that has numerous benefits for children’s development. In addition to practicing fine motor skills, drawing can contribute to a better understanding of mathematics. By drawing numbers and shapes, coloring and decorating them, children are able to visualize math, enabling them to connect numbers with their drawings and remember them easily.
Drawing is also the basis of geometry, so it significantly contributes to the understanding of spatial relations, concentration, precision and the development of logical thinking.
Numicon – the most effective way to develop mathematical skills
Numicon is a didactic method, introduced by experts from Oxford University, intended for the development of children’s mathematical skills. Thanks to the reliance on the VAK method, Numicon enables learning and understanding of mathematical concepts:
- visually, by noticing the elements and recognizing them by color and shape
- auditory, by listening to the teacher’s instructions, children learn mathematical language
- kinesthetically, by moving and touching different shapes of Numicon.
In this way, cognitive development and activation of both brain hemispheres are encouraged, enabling the understanding of the concept of a number and basic computational operations, which develops the ability of mental computation without using aids.
If you are interested in how you can develop your children’s interest and abilities in mathematics, with the help of Numicon, learn more about this innovative technique at the following link.
All the difficulties that children have with mathematics are conditioned by the way it is presented to them and the lack of prior knowledge in the area. By presenting mathematics as a challenging discipline that will help them solve numerous life problems, such as the equal division of the cake, children will be interested in discovering what else science has to offer.