Caroline, our Early Childhood Director, shares some practical activities you can do at home to support your child’s mathematical development through everyday activities, and help to use the language of maths in every-day situations.
Mathematics in the early years is very practical. It’s about laying the foundations for later learning by deepening your child’s understanding of numbers, problem solving and the language of mathematics (e.g. more, enough, less, add, take away).
Learning at home can really help to support the time your child spends in nursery. You don’t have to spend lots of time or money, all you need is a bit of imagination and creativity…
Maths is all around you – even at home
There are numbers, shapes and mathematical learning opportunities everywhere. Use these simple number-spotting and size/shape-sorting ideas to encourage your child’s interest:
- How many numbers can you spot in your house? (Examples could be on your front door, your calendar, clock, cooker, keyboard or phone)
- Count as you go up or down the stairs – for younger children, try just doing 1, 2, 3 then move on to 5 or more as your child becomes more competent.
- Think about shapes: you’ll find circles for buttons, dinner plates and clocks, rectangles for table mats, TV screens and rugs. See how many different shapes you can find in each room. Which has the most circles?
- Counting socks and matching pairs is a fun activity for children, which helps them to learn about patterns, differences and similarities, sizes and colours. Let your little one help you match up the socks when you are emptying the washing machine or tumble dryer – talk about whose socks they are. How do you know? Are they too big/little for me?
In the Kitchen:
- Children love to cook and help at home, try following a recipe together and look for the numbers in the ingredients list.
- Count the eggs, the number of spoonfuls, or number of cups of flour or sugar. Keep a tally of how many you put in and then count your tally marks to check that you did it right.
- Weigh ingredients on the scales and look for the numbers on the dial or on the digital readout.
- Let your child weigh all kinds of things – apples for snack, their favourite toys – anything really. Use the language of mathematics when you talk about weight – which is the heaviest? Which is the lightest? How do you know? Ask them to predict which will be the lightest/heaviest before they weigh them.
- Put out a variety of fruit and vegetables, talk about their different sizes – ask your child to tell you which is the biggest/smallest. What shapes are they?
- Put out some cake tins or saucepans and sort them into sizes, starting with the biggest to the smallest.
Remember, have fun and enjoy yourselves - 1, 2, 3 - go!