Teaching your child early math skills sets them up for success before school and in the classroom. Your child is surrounded by opportunities to discover numbers and math language. If you connect the numbers and language to practical experiences you bring meaning and understanding, creating a space of learning and retaining the information.
Being your child’s first teacher means you have the opportunity to make academic learning fun. You can spend ten minutes a day teaching your child skills in a structured way to support the everyday experiences they have. Choose materials that are colourful and inspire creativity and conversation. You want your child to be engaged as they practice, worksheets cannot fulfill this.
With a young child you can count large colourful beads from one container into another – one-to-one correspondence (the number represents a quantity). You can sort and group the objects with like objects (same colour or same shape) this is classification. Thread the beads onto a lace building hand-eye coordination and concentration. Put a lid on the container and shake the beads to make rhythms and sounds. With an older child you can thread the beads onto the lace in a pattern and let them experiment continuing the pattern (i.e red, blue, red, blue or red, red, blue, red, red, blue). Patterns are an important step in understanding the relationships between things.
Throughout every activity discuss what’s going on with your child, pose questions that create curiosity to find out more. Build on what your child already knows by reviewing and practicing, and introduce new concepts to extend their understanding. Allow them opportunities to experiment, discover, predict, and answer questions using the materials.
Above all, enjoy the process of being your child’s first teacher!