By Susan Jarema, Googol Learning
A Simple Way to Give Your Child a Head Start in Math
There is a strong focus on the value of reading to children when they are young. We've all heard that "kids who are read to become better readers." Well, why not math? It makes sense that kids who are exposed to more mathematics will be better at it as well.
It is never too early to start enjoying math at home with your child. I started teaching my children math when they were babies. We counted fingers, toes, toys, cereal - anything! We combined math and play. We sang math songs and read children's math stories. Clean-up time was the perfect math activity, putting blocks in sets, grouping crayons, adding and subtracting. Snack time can easily be math time as you count, add and take away treats. Sorting laundry is a lesson for odd and even pairs of socks.
Parents can help children of all ages in math by "talking math" during the day. Talk out loud about doubling a recipe, dividing up a pizza, weighing produce at the grocery store. Ask your child relevant math questions. What is the temperature outside? What is that in Fahrenheit? How many inches of snow has fallen? How many pairs of mittens have you lost this year? How much do new mittens cost?
Just think about how much math your child can pick up if you use it around them all the time. Most of us do math in our heads subconsciously. Now is the time to start saying it out loud. "Talking math" may seem strange at first but it gets easier with practice. Include vocabulary that they will use later on. Don't be afraid to bring up something that seems too advanced. At some point it will click. Your child will have more confidence and stay ahead if they have developed number sense early on.
You do not need to be a mathematician to give your child the gift of mathematics. You just need to enjoy your time together and take some MATH-em-ACTION!