Maths is one of the essential skills that children need to learn. As parents, you can give your child a great start in life by helping them develop an appreciation of maths from an early age.
Even if the mere idea of maths make you breakout in a cold sweat, the good news is that developing maths skills with your child really can be child’s play. From the earliest days, maths concepts come into various elements of life, so you can teach the basics without feeling that you need to be a mathematical genius to do so.
Maths isn’t just about learning the numbers and learning how to count – the other important issues involved, such as learning about different shapes and how to measure things.
Here are some practical ways in which you can teach maths in a fun and enjoyable manner, so that your child picks up the basic concepts and is well prepared for learning more maths once they start at school.
Learning To Identify Shapes
Toddlers can begin to learn the names of different shapes from a young age. Wooden blocks or books concerned with different shapes are ideal for doing this and can help teach children the names. Books for toddlers are typically bright and colourful and sometimes have different textures to touch so children can feel the outline of the shape and determine the differences.
Once children have mastered the names of the main shapes, it’s time to help them learn about the characteristics of each shape, what they can do and describe what they’re like.
You don’t necessarily need to have lots of shapes at home to be able to do this – it’s fun to be able to spot shapes in the world around us and encourage children to look out for shapes when they’re out and about. For example, there are shapes on road signs, on product packaging and many other items.
Numbers And Counting
Children are open to learning the basic numbers from a young age and it’s something you can practice with them. Books that focus on the numbers are a good starting point and will help children to slow identify the written number as well as how its pronounced.
Once they know the individual numbers, you can start having fun with counting. For example, you could use counting rhymes and chants or play games together that involve the need for a dice and counting the numbers on the dice face. Or you could count a number of items, building up each time so they learn more numbers, or use learning to read the time and a clock face as a foundation for counting.
Developing Measuring Skills
You can help your child get to grips with basic notions of measurements and measuring by various activities at home. Children soon get to understand the idea that some things are bigger or smaller than others – and books with this theme as its basis can help with this form of understanding.
There are also games you can play around the house that emphasise measurements and make it become fun to have measuring skills. For example, you get the kitchen scales out and measure the weights of different bags of sugar or flour, to determine which is the heaviest and which is the lightest.
Children also find it fascinating to have their own height and weight measured – and to see their progress as they get taller.
There are all sorts of ways in which you can build up children’s awareness of numbers, counting, shapes and measurements, so be inventive and overall, have fun!