Teaching Brave

Teaching Brave

There are some super simple ways to help your young child learn some basic pre maths and numeracy skills.
Activities and concepts can be incorporated into everyday routines and activities for many of these, and others are simply play based activities.

It’s easier than you might realise to help prepare your child for the school maths curriculum.

For more information on School Readiness you can read my articles on ‘School Readiness, How do I know if my Child is ready?’ or ‘School Readiness Activities; 12 EASY ways to get your child School Ready’. 

Here are 10 Ways you can help improve your child’s pre maths and numeracy skills:

ONE – Count! 

Count items around the house, count as you’re completing simple daily tasks.
Count the pieces of fruit in the fruit bowl, count the socks in the drawer, count backwards too!
Most pre maths activities start with simple counting and kids will nail this quickly if it’s practiced often.

TWO – Cook together

There is so much potential for maths learning while cooking!
Looking at and reading measuring cups and jugs, discussing quantities and measurements, estimations, counting ingredients and measuring time.

Younger kids can simply count and fill cups, measure time, and look at numbers on scales and measuring cups.

Older children can learn more about fractions while looking at half and quarter cups, as well as measuring milliliters, looking at oven temperature dials and looking more closely at time measurements.

Choose simple recipes such as cookies or muffins, or go ahead and involve them in cooking dinner for the family!
Observe important safety precautions for the kitchen, but the more often your child is involved in cooking experiences, the more likely they will enjoy it and want to do more, and the more likely they will want to try different foods, all while learning those vital maths concepts.

THREE – Build and construct with blocks

Lego, wooden blocks, any blocks.
As you play and construct together, you can explore concepts of symmetry, explore shapes, size comparisons, balance, weight distribution, counting skills, estimation and simple measurement.
There’s a lot of maths involved in block play! Involving yourself in the block play with your child will allow you to scaffold their play, explore those concepts together and introduce the associated mathematical vocabulary.

FOUR – Look at clocks

Analog and digital.
Look at the numbers, the positions of the numbers and start introducing the ideas of hour, half hour and count the strokes indicating minutes.

Younger children won’t quite be ready for reading the correct time or understanding the complexities of analog time, but it will certainly help to introduce the concepts of time, it will develop counting skills, begin introducing fraction concepts and the differences between analog and digital clocks.

FIVE – Play board games together

Board games are fantastic for teaching many skills, including sharing, turn taking and literacy skills with the reading of instructions and direction cards.

Mathematically, children will potentially develop counting skills, spatial awareness, estimating skills, exploration of dice and probability concepts, as well as number recognition and money/currency concepts involving quantities and change.

SIX – Make adding and subtracting a game

Add and subtract food items, clothing items, clothes or anything else.
It could be any item but it’s the concepts of adding and subtracting that is key.

Start with simple counting and easily add, or easily subtract, ensuring to use the appropriate vocabulary including add, plus, subtract, minus and equals.

SEVEN – Do puzzles together

Puzzles are fun, and they’re great for developing spatial awareness, shape and size concepts, problem solving and exploration of patterns.

In addition to maths concepts, it also teaches perseverance, patience, colour concepts, critical thinking, hand eye coordination skills and task completion.

EIGHT – Sing songs and nursery rhymes with numbers and counting

There are so many of these that exist from 12345 Once I caught a fish alive, 5 Cheeky Monkeys, Ten in a Bed, 5 Little speckled frogs and 5 little ducks. A quick google search will reveal multiple songs and rhymes.

You can also stream them from YouTube, Spotify or simply find CDs for the car.
Kids love joining in on these and feeling a sense of achievement by remembering words and numbers involved.
Repetition can be key, so prepare to be reciting these in your head later in the day.. haha.

NINE – Go grocery shopping together

Explore price labels and money concepts, count items in the trolley, use the fresh food scales and explore weight concepts, look at quantities and capacity of food containers.

Make comparisons of packets and boxes and prices of the same product in various quantities.
You could even look at the numbered aisles, watch as the scanned items makes the total cost increase, and talk about what the words ‘discount’ ‘half price specials’ and ‘clearance’ mean.

TEN – Get crafty!

Craft activities such as collage, empty box construction with scissors and tape, cutting activities and even playdough play will help children develop geometrics and shape concepts, explore lines and patterns, explore spatial concepts, symmetry and design.

Hunt the house for empty cardboard boxes of varied sizes, add some scissors and tape and let the kids go for their lives.
Or cut out some geometric 2D shapes and let them create a design of their own using the various shapes.
You could cut pictures out from magazines and collage them onto paper or google what you can make with egg cartons, cardboard tubes and cereal boxes and use these recycled items to create something specific.

What else do you think could be added here?
It’s easier than you might think to incorporate early maths concepts and numeracy into daily life so whether your child is a toddler, pre-school or primary aged, there’s always activities to help extend their current skills and knowledge!

321, get counting and have some fun!

Liz Michelle is a Single mum and Early Childhood Teacher with more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Liz has 15 years of experience as a Child care Director and Area Manager, leading child care centres to a status of ‘Exceeding’ the National Quality Standards, and is now primary school teaching on a casual basis while enjoying writing, learning about online business and building up the Teaching Brave blog as well as working from home on website management and raising her 13-year-old son, Andy.

The TeachingBrave blog has more than 140 articles on single parenting, saving money, early childhood and general parenting tips including School Readiness, Toilet training, Frugal Living and ‘Bucket Filling’.

Liz enjoys connecting with her readers and followers and is very responsive on socials (Facebook and Instagram).