We may take for granted that our children will inevitably learn how to add, subtract, multiply and divide, but early math lessons establish the base for the rest of their thinking lives. “Mathematics that kids are doing in Grade R, first, second and third grades lays the foundation for the work they are going to do beyond that.
“They are learning beyond just counting and numbers.” That’s why it’s so important to help children love math while they are still young. Parents can build on those first preschool lessons by counting with their children, asking them to look for patterns and recognise shapes, then moving on to recognition on number symbols.
The goal should be to make math “real” and meaningful by pointing it out in the world around you. That could include checking and comparing prices at the grocery store, driving down the street counting mailboxes, reading recipes, calculating coupons, or even measuring food or drink at the dinner table.
Just as you encourage your early reader to look for familiar letters, ask your child to watch for math, regarding math as highly as you do reading. Every parent knows that it’s a good idea to read to your child every night, but they should also realise the importance of talking about mathematical situations with children every day.
With so many facts and figures to memorise and apply to math problems, children learn early that math is something that requires work. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun; keep the pleasure in math by playing games with your children. Many games, even the ones adults play, rely on math. With countless websites, computer games and phone apps, parents have endless options, but don’t forget about the nondigital games you loved as a child.
The classics that require manipulating cards and game pieces, calculating along the way, may have the same appeal for your kids as they did for you. One game worth considering is Snakes and Ladders , it develops the basic math skills needed to build a strong foundation for number sense and the best part is the kids don’t realise they developing math skills.
As you play with your kids, try to tap into your own love for math. When you play Trivial Pursuit, you are using math to determine how many spaces you need to get to the next wedge or predict which category you can answer best. The game doesn’t have to be about math, but should involve it.
Make math fun and meaningful and create a love for mathematics at an early age and you will see the rewards later.
The Gymathstics Approved Games Tab on the Gymathstics website has amazing logical thinking games that promote math development in young children.
Log onto www.gymathstics.co.za for more information