Few adults would readily say, “I’m not very good at reading.” Yet many parents openly say, in front of their preschool age children, “I’m no good at math.” To get math into your everyday routine for your preschooler, start by recognizing the attitude shift you might need to respect and honor the subject, so your child sees it as a normal part of every activity.
What Is Math?
If you are confounded to identify math in your day, you will struggle to explain it to preschool age kids. The U.S. Department of Education encourages parents to consider all these facets:
- Pattern recognition
- One-to-one correspondence
- Shapes and solids
- Measurement, including quantities in linear, capacity, time and mass units
When you step back to look at that list and compare it to your day’s activities, you will find countless (or countable!) opportunities to share math with your preschool age child.
Help Me Solve It
Enlist your child as a helper in solving everyday math dilemmas. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) offers these scenarios:
- Differences—Highlight when quantities differ, such as your preschool age child having three cookies and you having only one
- Struggle—Avoid being too quick to solve a challenge for your child; instead let her or him explore what does nor does not fit, how to share out toys, or what comes after 10 in counting
- Array—If your child is a collector (whose child is not?) get the collection out for shared time, and ask your child to arrange the items in ordered arrays in more than one way (for example, 24 toy cars can be 2 x 12, 3 x 8, 4 x 6)
- Measure Up—Plant herbs for the kitchen together, then measure and chart the plant growth
Help Me Cook It
Every preschool age child loves to rattle the pots and pans. Put your math whiz to constructive use by getting her or him to help measure ingredients and complete other simple tasks, say the experts at Kids Health. Preschoolers can:
- Tear lettuce for salad
- Stir pancake batter
- “Help” measure and add ingredients
- Assemble a pizza
- “Help” you read the cookbook and see the numbers next to ingredients
How have you incorporated mathematics into your preschool age child’s everyday routine? Share your thoughts with Kids Konnect in the space below.