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What does math for preschoolers look like? Many great and very concerned parents teach their young child to count from one to 10. How precious is it to watch those precious wee ones carefully say, “One, two, free, four, fy, si, sebben…” and so on. While these efforts are fine so long as there is no stress and no punishment for errors, there is so much more to math, even for preschoolers.
When counting, place your (or your child’s finger) on an object such as a crayon when you say “one”, on another as you say “two”, etc., up to five. Count how many people are in your family, how many girls, how many boys, how many children, adults, etc. Count your pets and count their legs. Compare who has the most legs; a person or the pet. You get the idea.
Place a set of measuring cups with your child’s bath-time toys. Once he has lost some interest in playing with them (this may take a few weeks!), hand him the ½ cup measure and ask him to fill it and see how many it takes to fill the one cup measure as you hold it. Again, be patient, smile, and laugh as appropriate. There is no great rush to learn this fact as he will be learning many, many things and developing important skills as he attempts to find the answer to your question.
Once he masters the idea that the ½ cup measure filled twice will fill the one cup size, you may then move on to using the 1/3 cup measure then the ¼ cup size. Not only is he learning math facts, he will be developing critical thinking/problem solving skills in a fun and involved way.
Should he come to you with a large book that he wants you to read, you may take the opportunity to talk about the size of the book. Small children really like the bigger size books. Inches, feet, yards, etc, will have little to no meaning to him. But should you pick up one of his crayons or markers, and suggest he see how many crayons long his big book is, he will delight in lining them up along the spine of the book, then counting to see how many crayons he had to use to determine the size of his big book. He may also enjoy comparing it to a smaller book to learn the difference in size.
Draw a simple chart that has three ice cream cones down the left side: one with brown ice cream, one with pink, and one with white. Across the top, put the name of each family member over a column. Have him ask each person which ice cream they like best; chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla. He will place a sticker in the row on the flavor selected by each. Once each person has had an opportunity to choose, have him count how many stickers in each row. He may want to place that number of stickers at the end of the row.
He will be able to determine which flavor is the most popular in his family.
There is math fun everywhere. Even for very young children. Have fun with your child and happy gentle parenting.
©2016 Brenda Holland-Robinson