Reading is one activity that parents often engage in with their young kids.
Parents usually read one or two stories to their little ones at bedtime. It is also an activity that families do when they cannot go out to play or when there is a goal to limit the children’s screen time.
Due to these reasons, it is safe to say that reading is one of the critical skills that children learn and develop at an early age.
However, reading should not be the only skill or subject that parents can teach their young kids. Children as young as two can benefit greatly from learning math as well.
Why Children Should Learn Math Early
Although toddlers and preschoolers can learn math, many parents and even teachers are reluctant to teach them this concept. If you have kids between these ages, you should avoid making this huge mistake.
Introducing the world of numeracy to your little ones and encouraging them to join math classes for kids allows them to experience several benefits that they can put into good use now and in the future.
Studies show that most children can understand the concepts of numbers at an early age. Learning how to count is a good example of this.
However, you will be doing your young kids a disservice if you only teach them counting. Since their minds are complex, they can also understand certain abstractions involving numbers and mathematical issues.
With the right materials and teaching methods, your little ones can master not only counting. Even at an early age, they can broaden their knowledge and skills in math, which is an excellent foundation for learning more complex concepts in the future.
Other research shows that early math exposure also creates an exceptional foundation for general learning and cognition. Children’s knowledge of mathematics in preschool is often a reliable predictor of their future achievement.
Finally, even at an early age, children are already surrounded by (and constantly exposed to) math. Kids between the ages of one and five years old are starting to explore patterns and shapes. They are also beginning to compare sizes and count objects.
As such, for young children, math plays a significant role in supporting and facilitating their development and helping them make sense of the world around them.
Introducing Math to Young Learners
The right activities and materials can help you teach some vital mathematical concepts that can give your kids a headstart in learning and building key skills.
Below are four math concepts that children can learn at an early age, along with tips for teaching them:
Counting, writing and saying numbers are the first mathematical skills kids master. You can help them expand their knowledge by teaching them how to recognize and compare the quantity of objects.
Encourage them to count the toys they are playing with or the treats they are eating. Explain to them the concept of comparing quantities (more, less, and equal). You can do this by asking which one of them has the most or fewest of the items at hand.
Teaching young kids the practice of comparing quantities can help them understand and master addition and subtraction later on.
2. Shapes and Patterns
Identifying and creating shapes and patterns are two mathematical skills that children will do well to learn early. With the right activities, you can teach them these concepts in fun ways that they will understand and remember.
Lego building and using magnetic blocks are great activities that help you teach your young kids about different shapes and how they can make them. They can also learn about patterns when you ask them to build things based on colors or their types (cylinder, beveled, letters, etc.)
Knowing how to group or sort objects according to characteristics is another mathematical skill that you can easily teach kids and is something that can be a helpful foundation for their future learning.
Once the kids are done playing, teach them to organize items by color or category. Have them place their animal toys in one container and their play kitchen sets in another one.
You can also let them play games where they have to sort their toys based on colors or use.
This is another skill that everyone needs to hone. Helping kids learn this at an early age will put them at an advantage.
Encouraging your kids to think about which blocks they can use to complete the model they are building, or what color they should use to paint a picture, is an excellent problem-solving exercise.
Also, giving them toys that encourage problem-solving, such as puzzles and board games, allows them to develop this skill.
Aside from giving your little ones toys and letting them play games that teach math concepts, you can also read them stories that highlight or incorporate these ideas.
In addition, let them play fun and educational math-based online games on tablets occasionally. These devices are great for exercising their minds and broadening their knowledge.
Enrolling your young ones in math classes that are appropriate to their ages will allow them to learn and understand the importance of mathematics early on, which can instill in them an innate love for and interest in this subject. This, in turn, will play a crucial role in their academic progress and achievement.
With all these in mind, aside from reading, focus on teaching math to your kids even while they are still young.