Math is an important part of life from a very young age, and that’s why an increasing number of schools have begun to introduce it as young as pre-K. It’s important for parents to help their children develop an interest in the subjects they will learn about at school, so if math is an area of concern (for you or for your child), there are ways for you to help.
What Does a Preschooler Need to Know about Math?
Though pre-K students will not be solving algebraic equations or using the Pythagorean Theorem to determine angle sizes, he or she will learn important mathematical concepts that will benefit his or her academic career for many years to come. These include:
- Spatial Relationships – Learning whether things are in front or behind, or even near or far, are both mathematical concepts.
- Related Terms – Pre-K kids can learn what words like add, subtract, less than, more than, and others mean.
- Geometry – Learning about specific shapes – and the characteristics that differentiate them from other shapes – is crucial to development.
- Measurements – Even the youngest kids can learn simple measurements and predict what different amounts and sizes might look like.
- Basic Concepts of Numbers – Pre-kindergarten students learn that the digit “2” is used to define two individual objects, that it is more than only one object, and that it is less than three objects. This fundamental grasp is important to your child’s success with addition, subtraction, and other concepts later in his or her life.
How to Drive Math Interest in Pre-K Kids
There are several fun activities that you and your child can do together that will reinforce the lessons being taught in preschool. These are quick, easy, and in many cases even fun, and they allow your child to learn while playing.
- Play with Blocks – Encourage your child to use blocks to build different shapes like triangles, squares, and rectangles, being sure to repeat the name of the shape as your child makes them.
- Incorporate it into Daily Tasks – For example, at bedtime, if you’ve already read two stories and your child asks for “one more,” encourage him or her to tell you how many stories that one more would make. These things are simple, but incredibly effective.
- Count Colors – The next time your child sits down with a box of crayons and a coloring book, ask him or her to separate all the blue crayons, then count them and tell you how many there are. After doing the same with red, show your child how to find the difference in the two.
- Sort Candy by Size – Finally, another fun option involves buying two types of candies – such as regular and peanut M&Ms – putting them into a bowl together and asking your child to separate the large ones from the small ones.
As you can see, there are several different ways you can help your pre-K student get more interested in math concepts, no matter how simple they might be. Math can be incorporated into almost anything, whether it’s snack time, playtime, or even bedtime.