We know that talking, reading and listening helps give children a strong start both in school and in life. Not as much emphasis, however, is placed on math and numbers. Learning about numbers can give your child a head start not only in math, but also in science, social studies and technology.
Reading and other language skills tend to develop in order, with concepts building upon each other. Early math learning is more like a jigsaw puzzle. Children master math concepts in no particular order, but over time, are still able to get the “whole picture”.
One of the key concepts of early mathematics is Number Sense. This is the ability to not only be able to count, but to understand that objects go one-to-one with numbers. (i.e.: The numeral “3” represents 3 objects).
Young children are curious about math. Math becomes real to children as they use it by talking, reasoning, playing and doing. Over the course of the day there are a number of ways that math can be expressed, both in words and in actions. Here are some ways that you can introduce your preschooler to numbers:
- Sing nursery rhymes, finger plays, chants and action songs that use numbers (i.e.: 5 Little Monkeys)
- Encourage your child to play with game spinners, menus, telephones, and cash registers and other materials with printed numbers
- Write numbers together
- Play games with dice, dominoes and playing cards