How to Help your Child Make Math Connections
, by Connie McCarthy
We use math skills each and every day. We follow a pattern when we commute to work, when we calculate change from our purchases, or when we check the temperature, etc.
The key to helping your young child understand math is to make math part of their everyday life.
Here are six simple ways to practice skills and incorporate math in your child’s daily life:
Together look for visual patterns in your home or neighborhood, such as tile in a bathroom, or bricks on a walkway.
Have your child practice counting forward. Count 0-50 for Kindergarten students, 0-100 for First Graders. Once your child can say these numbers easily, write the numerals on a 4x6 index card, one card for each number. Then have your child read the cards and place them down in order, as she says the numbers.
Once your child is secure in counting forwards, practice the pattern of counting backwards. Confidently counting backwards helps your child understand the concept of comparing numbers and the relationship between numbers. For example, 20 is more than 18, or 9 is less than 12.
Have your child practice recognizing and identifying shapes. You can do this at home or just about anywhere you are together. Use describing words, for example a triangle has three sides and three corners, a circle has no sides and no corners.
Help your child understand addition as "putting things together", and subtraction, as "taking things apart." Practice this by using small objects such as pennies, cheerios, raisins, etc. "If I have 3 pennies and I add 4 more, how many do I have now? Conversely, if I have 12 cheerios, and I eat 7, how many do I have left?"
Practice "skip counting" together. Count by 10’s, 5’s and 2’s, both forward and backward until your child is comfortable with the pattern for each.
Math is everywhere! When you follow a recipe, buy groceries, or put fuel in your car, you are using math skills. Helping your child make a math connection to daily life gives math importance, meaning and purpose.