One of the easiest ways to support early math development is to build math language into your daily play and conversations with your child. Math language includes numbers, amount, measurement and position words.
- Numbers – Count napkins as you put them on the table, or count toys as you put them in the toy box. Talk about how many animals you see at the zoo and how many french fries are on their plate.
- Amount – This includes using descriptors such as some, more, a little, a lot, more than, less than, a couple, a few, several and many.
- Measurement – Discuss how small, big, short, long, light or heavy things are.
- Position – This includes words such as in, on, over, under, near, far, above and below.
Other ways to encourage early math skills include:
- Play board games – Many children’s board games practice early math concepts including Memory, Hi Ho Cheerio, Chutes and Ladders, Colorama and Uno.
- Talk about the daily math you do – When you go to the grocery store, you may be calculating how much time you have, how much money you have, the weight of fruit and the discount of coupons. The idea is to discuss the basics of this math with your children.
- Cook together – Most recipes include directions about measurement, temperature and time. Point out and discuss the math as you enjoy cooking together.