Most parents are well aware of how important it is to read with young children. Pediatricians, teachers, child psychologists, and even grandparents have been pounding that drum for years. And, it’s a good thing because language skills are a foundational building block of a successful life. But let’s not forget the other side of the learning equation: math skills.
If a chill just ran down the back of your spine, you’re not alone. Although most parents are very comfortable with reading to their kids, many prefer to leave the “math thing” to the professionals. But strengthening your child’s math skills doesn’t have to be complicated. Below are a few fun ways to get your little Einstein “math ready.”
Sort the laundry: Accurately placing things in groups according to their properties is an important skill. Have your child place all the socks in one pile, all blue clothes in another, etc. As your child gains confidence, have him or her sort items based on two or three properties. In addition to building math skills, this little game will also make folding laundry much more fun.
Go for a walk: As you are well aware, preschoolers like to move. And, as stated in The Atlantic in an article by Lara Dotson-Renta, research has shown that memory and movement are linked. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/05/why-young-kids-learn-through-movement/483408/So, why not take your child for a walk in the yard or down the street, and count steps, rocks, sticks, or whatever interests your child? You’ll both get some exercise, and counting will be fun.
Toss some beanbags: There’s just something about beanbags that everyone likes. Grab a bowl, a box, or a laundry basket and let the games begin. A variation on this activity is to roll dice to see how many beanbags are tossed per turn. Or, as skills develop, use the beanbags to illustrate counting in groups of twos or threes.
Mother May I?: This is an oldy but a goody. In addition to teaching counting skills, this game also illustrates the importance of following directions. “Mother” stands at one end of a room and the “child” stands at the other. The mother instructs the child to take a certain number of steps in a particular direction. The twist on this is that the child must remember to ask, “Mother may I?” before taking a step. If this is forgotten, the child has to go back to the start line. This game is more fun with multiple participants, and kids get a big kick out of taking a turn at being “mother.”
Remember that almost anything can be a learning experience for young children. Keep things fun, enjoy your little ones, and the rest will follow!
Kelly McIntire is a children’s author who believes that magic and adventure should begin in childhood and last a lifetime. Her books include Time Twistedand Adventures in Fairy Meadow.
Visit her website at www.kellymcintireonline.com for more information, or follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kellymcintirewriter/?ref=bookmarks.