A delightful aspect of parenting a young child is sharing in their enthusiasm and curiosity of the world. Harnessing this natural desire to learn can sound challenging as a parent, but it needn’t be a daunting task. Activities that engage children and encourage interaction with parents are ideal as they encourage learning while reassuring us that our child is capable of mastering the world around them.
Simple activities such as counting toys (5 cars, 10 stickers, 4 dolls) encourage a child’s number sense. Encourage a child to count down the days til their birthday on a calendar. Play games like trying to remember a sequence of numbers such as a phone number (math can be practical for a child too).
Make math part of your everyday language by naming the shapes of blocks and everyday items. Encouraging children to engage with patterns and shapes by arranging blocks and different shaped items, and ask them to name each shame. Get creative during arts and craft time by encouraging children to create shapes (with playdough or cutting coloured paper) that they can then use for creating their own shape patterns.
Introduce children to measurement by filling cups with different amounts of water and asking them to guess which one is heavier a great bath-time activity. Show children how math is part of your everyday life by including them in yours. Baking a cake together is fun and educational, and children love helping to measure out ingredients.
Encourage children to use mathematical language by including it in your daily discussions. While visiting a park include terms such as bigger/smaller, more/fewer and pointing out things that are closer or further away. Maths is fun for all when you create treasure maps where children have to count each step to each point with a reward for getting to where x marks the spot.
Most importantly, rediscover the magic of math for yourself. Find spirals in nature and look at the geometric patterns on rocks and in ferns. Include your child as you discover things yourself, and share your enthusiasm for learning. Your child looks to you, to set the foundation of what it is to enjoy learning. As parents we can often carry with us the burdens of our own educational journeys, embark on a journey that is shared with your child, not only encourages your child by providing inspiration and support to their learning, it can be a place of healing and discovery for you as a parent.
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