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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tip of the Month: Preschool Math

Although you might not realize it, math is a natural part of a young child's play and daily activities. They explore mathematical concepts as they sort, classify, compare quantities, balance blocks, notice shapes, and find patterns.

There are 5 main areas of math development that are focused on during preschool years:
  • Numbers (counting objects and working with numbers)
  • Geometry and spatial relations (shapes and sizes or comparisons of shapes, direction)
  • Measurement (comparing weight or height, calendar, measuring)
  • Patterns
  • Analyzing data (sorting, comparing, graphs, charts)
Here are some ways that you can work on math concepts at home:
  1. Show how we use math every day. Have them help you measure when you cook or figuring out is a container is big enough for their toys.
  2. Play board games and count the spaces with them or play simple games like "Go Fish"
  3. Count things at home and on the street: how many cars, tress, pieces of snack, etc. Count things in book illustrations. Find numbers in your surroundings.
  4. Talk about the different patterns and shapes you see around you: plaid, polka dot, triangles, rectangles, etc.
  5. Use math terms: above, below, beneath, larger, smaller, equal, horizontal, vertical, perpendicular, parallel. Ask them to bring you the smallest cookie or when they pick up toys, ask for specific toys and use math terms to describe where the toy is: the toy beneath the chair.
  6. When shopping at the store, talk about and compare prices.
  7. Explain what you are doing when you balance your checkbook or pay bills.
  8. Have them watch you count money at home or at the bank.
  9. Weigh and measure your child and chart their growth.
  10. Provide hands on materials like a set of blocks to build with.

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