Developing Math skills

Some children develop a better understanding of numbers than others. You can support your child by providing opportunities for them to explore number concepts at home. Successful learning depends on having problem solving skills and thinking logically as well as the ability to read and write.

Tips for helping your child develop maths skills.

1. Beginning meaningful counting (counting and understanding that the number 3 represents three objects and 4 represents four objects).

  • Begin with small sets of 2 or 3 and ask your child how many there are.
  • Count plates at lunch time,blocks,cars,count all the time with your child.
  • Tell fairy tales and have pictures of the characters to count or act out the story and count the characters together.
  • Set out three objects and have your child touch each object as they count it.
  • Increase the number of objects to count as your child gains confidence - when he/she is ready, they will begin to count without touching the object.

2. Beginning rational counting

  • Let your child count four items in a set and ask them "How many are there?" Put the objects in a line so your child will not count them more than once - be patient.
  • Once your child understands the total of four, add another object and see if he/she understands five as a total.

3. Adding and subtracting.

  • Use word problems to add and subtract. An example is: "John, Jim and Charles were walking to the store. How many children were walking? John's mother called him in. Now how many children were walking to the store? Sara and Robert came to walk with them. How many children were walking to the store?" You can go on and on until your child tires of the game.
  • Have some counting objects and let your child them.

4. Classifying objects.

  • Begin with objects that are alike. For example, let your child take a group of pencils and classify them by color.
  • Use a stack of plastic shapes and have them classify and sort by shape.
  • Keep a box of objects for sorting by size, color, and shape.

5. Comparing objects.

  • Use a pen and a colored pencil and compare the width of line they make and the way it looks on the paper.
  • Draw 2 objects and compare their height.
  • Compare sounds made by different birds & instruments.
  • Compare sizes of books in the shelf.

6. Ordering objects.

  • Begin ordering by size using books, pencils, etc.
  • Use 2 objects at first and gradually add more.
  • Your child can also order by weight and length.
  • Together, find the shortest pencil.
  • Order 4 pens from tallest to shortest.

7. Estimating and predicting.

  • Fill a jar with fewer than 10 objects and have your child estimate the total.
  • Pile some sweeties on a plate and let your child estimate the number.
  • Show the cover of a book with an exciting picture and let your child predict what will happen in the story.

8. Pattern and sequence.

  • Make patterns with crayons.
  • Glue objects to paper in a pattern.
  • Your child can create his/her own pattern for you to copy.
  • Look for patterns in news paper/magazines, cut them out and make collages.

9. Measuring.

  • Let your child help with measuring for recipes.
  • Give your child some plastic cups to measure liquid in the tap.
  • Measure heights of your family and compare them.

10. Recognizing and writing numbers. As children work with numbers they begin to recognize the symbol for each number. Eventually they will recognize the word for each number. Write the symbols (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) and words for numbers when possible.

  • Have your child match cards with number symbols written on them.
  • Have them match number symbols to number words (1 to one, 2 to two, 3 to three, 4 to four).
  • Play number Bingo.
  • Look for number words or symbols in books, magazines and newspapers.