Watch a young child carefully select the largest cookie from the plate, and you will see how intuitive math is from a very young age! Sadly, math in the United States all too frequently becomes a dreaded subject – in no small part because our country has a severe shortage of qualified math teachers.
The good news is, there are some really fun ways to help kids enjoy math! Here are a few of my favorites (links are affiliate links to Amazon):
Get out in nature
I don’t think it’s an accident that every single mathematically talented person I know loves spending time in nature. Nature is the source of life’s most fascinating, beautiful, and complex patterns – like the Fibonacci sequence! When your child plays outside they are getting exercise, vitamin D, and a great start in loving mathematics!
Invest in learning toys
Learning toys traditionally found in classrooms make fantastic toys for homes as well – and they are the perfect way for kids to learn the basics of subtraction, addition, and even multiplication on their own! Here are a few of our favorites – purchased for our family because I loved playing with them as a kid!
- Learning Resources Three Bear Family Rainbow Counters: my favorite counters – they are well made and double as weights for a scale
- This bucket balance is easy for kids to use and very versatile – the buckets can hold liquids, and you can put a lid on the buckets for a flat balance. The balance also has a small drawer for storing weights.
- Cuisenaire Rods are a fun way to explore measurements, perimeter, area, and more. My kids also enjoy making letters with them.
- Pattern Blocks are a fantastic introduction to basic geometry! We enjoy using these with contact paper to create beautiful wall mosaics.
Listen to them
Reasoning is an important mathematical skill. Take the time to listen properly to stories your child is telling you. Asking why and how questions will help them learn to expand and justify their ideas.
Want to give your child an extra leg up in math, even if YOU are afraid of math? Check out this free course from Stanford professor Jo Boaler! What were your favorite ways of exploring mathematics as a child?
This post is the fourth of eight in the Get Ready for K Through Play series I am working on with Bernadette of Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Megan at Coffee Cups and Crayons, Vicky at Mess for Less, Cerys at Rainy Day Mum, and Kristina at Toddler Approved. Be sure to check out their posts as well!
- Fostering Kindergarten Math Skills from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
- Post-It Math Games from Mess for Less
- Math Fun in the Pool from Toddler Approved
- Math Activities for Kindergarten: Snack Time Practice from Coffee Cups and Crayons
- Number Prints from Rainy Day Mum
Drop by our Get Ready for K Through Play Pinterest board for more ideas!