I often encounter well-intentioned parents who want to expose their children to math, but they just don’t know how. I think this is because we think of math as the computations or algebra we learn in later years in school when, really, mathematical concepts begin much earlier.
I created this infographic several months ago to provide simple ideas to help parents get started with math conversations in their homes.
I want to focus on the early years – ages 1-3 – when people often think their children aren’t capable of understanding math or when we just don’t realize that what we are doing is actually considered mathematics in its simplest form.
Shape sorters are an easy way to introduce math talk with infants. Shape recognition is a concept you can work on with your child by repeating the shape’s name and showing them the corresponding shape. Help guide the shape into its hole until your child can manage to bring the shapes to the holes themselves. This activity is also great for building fine motor skills, which I always advocate.
I continuously recommend counting with your infant – even before they are able to count themselves. Take a mundane task, like changing a diaper, and count to a happy beat. Your child will be distracted, and you are exposing them to counting. You can count during many activities: walking, driving, feeding, etc.
Once your child shows signs of number recognition, or is even saying numbers aloud, you can begin trying to count items with your child. This can even begin with counting two items only, then slowly work your way up to more items when you think they are ready.
I am a firm believer that our children can handle more than we think they can, so don’t hesitate to introduce some math in fear that they won’t understand. They will understand eventually, especially if you believe they can.
Keep spreading the math love <3