Last week I attended another preschool parent meeting and I thought I would share some of the ideas that they mentioned. These are all cheap (or free) and simple things that you can do with your preschooler to help improve their math skills.
- Bead necklace: (Patterns) Give child a shoestring (or piece of yarn) with a knot tied at one end. Provide with a supply or large wooden beads or colored pasta. Show them how to make a pattern and have them try to make their own.
- Egg Carton Counting: (Counting) In an empty egg carton, write numbers in the bottom of each of the 12 sections. Have children place the correct number of beans in each one.
- Measure Me: (Measuring) Show children how to measure the length of a body part with yarn and then cut it with scissors. Have them measure parts like arms, legs, noses, fingers, etc. When finished discuss the differences in lengths.
- Setting the Table: (One-to-One Correspondence) Chores can teach math skills too! It’s also fun to set a child-size table with plastic dishes and settings for stuffed animals.
- Button Sorting: (Sorting) Provide children with empty containers (like a egg carton or a muffin tin). Allow them to sort the button according to size, color, shape, number of holes, etc.
- Yarn Numbers: (Making Numerals) Cut a 12″ length of yarn and have your child practice forming into numbers.
- Dominoes: (Matching & Counting) A lot of understanding can be gained by hands-on number play.
- Count and sort food items at snack time.
- Talk to your child about the calendar and count down days to special days.
- Practice simple addition & subtraction with toys and blocks
- Play board games like Candyland or Chutes and Ladders where a game piece is moved from one position to the next.
- Practice making patterns out of things available; like blocks, cookie cutters, toys, etc.
- Let your child help measure ingredients for a simple recipe.
- Find math concepts in children’s books: Ask how many trees are on a page. Look for shapes. Find patterns.
My son is a little math whiz. I really worry that he is going to be bored out of his mind in kindergarten. He is good at math because he loves it, we talk about it all the time and he loves to practice. All day, everyday, in the car or in the kitchen he asks me questions about math. He constantly asks questions and we talk things through and he honestly has a solid understanding of addition, subtraction and multiplication. We play simple games that build his understanding.