Preschool Math - How To Lay A Strong Foundation For Your Child’s Mathematical Development Through Preschool Hands On Math Activities
Mathematics is one of the core subjects that our children learn at school and its significance is ever-growing. We have heard enough that mathematics is useful for everyday life and being proficient at Math means success in career too.
Sadly, many of us and our children have tremendous fear and anxiety associated with the subject. Essentially, reforms are needed in our schooling systems to address this concern but apparently, we as parents and guardians of young children can also play a great role in teaching math to preschoolers and preparing them for the school and life ahead.
Firstly, we need to shift our focus from seeing Math as having a utilitarian, useful, instrumental value, i.e., preparing us for jobs, to having an intrinsic value as a subject.
Internationally renowned Hungarian mathematician and educational psychologist Zoltan Dienes believed that learning Mathematics should be integrated into one’s personality and should thereby become a means of genuine personal fulfillment. Indeed, for many people, the appeal for math lies in the intellectual or aesthetic satisfaction that is derived from it. So, we need to keep this in mind when we introduce math activities for preschoolers who are inherently curious and wonder-seeking in nature.
Mathematics is an abstract subject but it is an abstraction from the real world. Our children learn math by moving through a sequence of
Experience: physical experience of dealing with objects
Language: speaking about the experience
Pictures: understanding pictures based on the experience
Symbols: written symbols generalizing the experience
Cognitive Head Start 101 (CHS101) provides parents and teachers with tangible support while teaching math to preschoolers.
Developing Preschool Math Concepts
To learn some very important early mathematical concepts such as few, less, more, many, short, long, round, flat, straight, curved, etc., children put together four basic activities- matching, sorting, pairing and ordering. These skills form the beginnings of logical thinking.
Ready for some math activities for preschoolers?
In matching, children look for a common property. In Cognitive Head Start 101, you receive 24 detailed and fun printable Match the Shadow activities where children have to match the object to its shadow. This simple activity improves visual discrimination. It’s the ability to perceive differences between symbols and objects. Objects differ by shapes, orientations, colors, and sizes.
Through matching, children learn to make visual comparisons and understand mathematical concepts of length (long, longer than, as long as, short, etc.) and shape (round, flat, congruent, etc.)
Matching is also an essential step in the process of counting.
For example, one of the counting activity for preschoolers is to count red balls in a large bag of balls of different colors, the first thing the child does is mentally pick out the red ones as they match in color. This is then followed by sorting the balls into red ones and ones that are not red, arranging/ordering the red balls for ease of counting. And finally, associating number names with the red balls in the correct order, i.e., one, two, three and so on.
Thus, this seemingly simple and fun activity of matching is a prerequisite for developing preschool math concepts. The CHS101 bundle provides ample opportunities to do the same.
Learning Numbers and Numerals
Preschool counting worksheets and Countdown Calendars provide an excellent way to reinforce the numbers and counting basics. This is especially effective when combined with hands-on counting games using nuts or Lego pieces.
As children progress in their learning of mathematical concepts through physical experiences, verbalization of experiences and use of pictures, they slowly become ready to learn Numerals. When we use numerals, we use numbers in abstract. For example, the numeral “2” does not make children visualize anything but they do get a picture in their mind when we say ‘two kittens’.
Sufficient exposure has to be provided to children where they read numerals. Join the Dots is one such activity where children get to read numerals and practice associating them with number names in the correct order, resulting in the creation of an attractive picture in the end.
Problem Solving Skills
David Wheeler, a pioneer of Mathematics Education, argued that mathematization of a child’s thought processes is the ultimate goal of math education. Through the word mathematization he meant ‘doing mathematics’ or ‘thinking mathematically’. Mathematics offers a way of doing things, solving real problems by attacking them in a systematic and logical manner. Considering that problem solving is a skill required in all of one’s life, children need to be initiated into it early on.
Matching the missing piece to the puzzle improves problem-solving skills. Finding the correct picture requires and enhances focus and attention. You can also let children cut out the chosen piece to “check the answer.” Let them see if they chose correctly by placing it on the empty spot. Cutting and gluing will give some extra engagement to the puzzle activity.
Mazes for kids are also a fantastic way to improve their problem-solving skills. Mazes are fun and help them learn to manipulate their fingers. Children can complete mazes either by following fingers through the paths or using crayons or markers. In Cognitive Head Start 101 - Value Bundle printable early learning system, you’ll find 30 fun maze activities. All 30 come in colored and black & white designs. The colored version stimulates the brain and holds kids’ attention. The Black and white option is excellent for coloring after completing the maze journey.
So, we hope that you help our young preschoolers grow up enjoying Mathematics and using it to solve a multitude of problems that surround us. Through your conversations with children as they tackle real problems, seek logical ways to come up with solutions, we hope they develop a meaningful and positive association with the subject.
Learning Nest Team