Math can be a subject that causes some deep stress and worry in parents. That’s often because one parent may have struggled with math. Understanding how to teach a child math is key to keeping their interest and ensuring that they are ready for kindergarten math at the end of preschool. Make math fun and engaging, and your kids will be ready to go. How? Let’s take a look.
Additional Reading: How to Teach a Kid to Write and How to Teach a Kid to Read
How Do Kids Learn Math
Preschoolers tend to be naturally curious about the concepts around math. They enjoy counting, sorting, building, and basic arithmetic. That said, each child learns at their own pace, so it is important that a school teaching environment offers each child the opportunity to learn and grow at an appropriate pace.
There are certain milestones in learning math that parents can observe. According to Understood.org, some basic milestones include:
- They will start counting out “this many” with things like their age
- They will begin to recite the numbers from memory, occasionally skipping some.
- They begin to match shapes (triangle to triangle, squares to squares, etc.)
- They will recognize shapes in the real world
- They may count up to 20 and can count 20 objects of a group
- They understand that the numerals represent numbers, e.g. 5 means five of something
As your child develops these skills, there are certain components of math they need to learn, all of which tie together for a complete understanding of the basics. These include the following:
- Numbers and Numerals: Understand what numbers represent
- Spatial Relations: Shapes and volumes
- Measurement: Height, weight, length, time
- Patterns: Parts of wholes
Teaching Math at Home
Teaching math at home is about keeping your kids interested in math and exposing them to the concepts in their everyday life. They’ll learn mathematics in the classroom. What you can do at home is reinforce that with fun and real life examples. How?
Here are a few things you can do to keep your kids excited about math and build upon what they learned at Kid’s Corner:
- Set the Example: Be confident in and enjoy math yourself, whether you’re counting out time, working through a recipe, or putting gas in the tank. Have fun with it and show them how much fun it is.
- Don’t Be a Teacher: Let us be the teachers. You be the parent. So, no worksheets or workbooks or classroom exercises. Help them learn math from everyday experiences.
- Games: They don’t have to be math specific games, but they can be. Any game that has cards, dice, etc. will naturally have math lessons built in. Have fun!
- Create: Bake with your kids. Build something. While you do, point out the measurements, the quantities, the times, etc. all together.
- Patience: Be patient and supportive. Remember, kids all learn at their own pace. Don’t make math a chore or a sporting exercise. Add it into the other activities they already enjoy, including science and art.
They key to retention is repetition. Keep it up. In schools, they call it spiraling — we re-teach concepts learned in previous years in the current year. Do the same at home. Repeat. Review. It’s all reinforcement.
Learning Math at Kid’s Corner
At Kid’s Corner, we use the The Creative Curriculum® for math, as well as our other areas of learning, including reading and writing. With this curriculum, we have an entire volume dedicated to the teaching of mathematics to our students. The program includes proven and creative solutions for math, including Intentional Teaching Cards and Mighty Minutes, which help teachers continue to teach during the “in between” times at school with songs, chants, rhymes, games, and other short activities. Just like we recommend to parents at home, we make learning math fun.