Children can be introduced to numbers and counting in many ways. Here are some ideas for turning learning about numbers and counting into Comfort, Play and Teach Time!
COMFORT: Children need love and support as they begin to explore numbers and counting. Help them learn with things they are familiar and comfortable with. Have your child measure as you cook together. Fill containers and pour water in the bath. Sing songs about what your child is learning. He won’t care if you can’t carry a tune. Create a growth chart to track his growth over time.
PLAY: Touching and moving objects are an important part of learning. Use things from around the house to practice math skills – count cans in the cupboard, measure scoops of dog food and sort socks as you do the laundry. Talk about small and large, and different colours and shapes. Do counting rhymes and finger-plays. Help build with blocks and copy different shapes in drawings. Encourage your child to play with calculators and pretend money.
TEACH: Remember that you are your child’s first teacher. Ask open ended questions to encourage problem solving “I wonder how many blocks will fit in this pail?” or “How many different coloured socks do we have?” This will help your child to think about the materials and how they might be sorted or grouped. When counting out loud, use words like first and last, over and under, bigger and smaller.