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ABC’s and 123’s. The first lessons of childhood. In our experience it seems that children grasp the concept of numbers more quickly than letters. Perhaps it’s because when children are young, parents offer two cookies, one banana, or we get a dozen donuts at the apple orchard and visual counting is as easy as looking at their fingers. But it’s important to continue to develop these skills as number skills are just as valuable as learning to read.
The definition of a number is a mathematical object used to count, measure and label. Counting, measuring and labeling are things that are done almost on a daily basis making number skills very valuable. Math is a concept that builds on itself therefore a strong foundation is needed in order for children to make the necessary connections in order to succeed, so starting early with numbers; reading number books, playing number games and finding opportunities for using math concepts will ensure that your child will embrace numbers with ease.
Beginning math for youngsters starts with shapes, identifying and counting number of sides. Visual aids are best when teaching math skills for most children are visual learners. Use snacks as math manipulatives to keep children engaged and more eager to participate. Snacks can be used to count, sort, create patterns and learn about measurement, size and weight. For instance, think about the many ways you can use something as simple as a box of Fruit Loops cereal to teach math. Children can count, create shapes, and patterns, string them to measure length etc. Square crackers such as Cheez-it’s can be used for counting, multiplying and to teach area and perimeter; gum drops or marshmallows and toothpicks can create geometric shapes. Also consider playing with dice, cards or dominos and also using any manipulatives you can count like marbles, buttons, beads etc. Use a chalkboard or whiteboard so children can practice writing their numbers as well as showing them visually how to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers getting them familiar with mathematical symbols.
To bring numbers into your daily life:
Opportunities to engage with numbers are everywhere, you just need to seize the moment. Count the seeds as you plant them in the dirt, count the pepperoni as you put it on the pizza, count the number of people at the dinner table and figure out how to divide the pie. If you plan on taking a summer vacation, help children to figure out how many miles to go and how long it will take to get there. Life is filled with numbers. Use them to learn them!
Some number books we love:
For more number and math related books, take a look at our Number Books list!
Usborne Books & More
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Happy counting and reading!
-Kate @ BTBL
We are three generations that seek a way to get back to basics. It’s not that we eschew technology, but sometimes simpler is better, especially in raising our children. Mom was a reading teacher, Amanda is an early childhood educator and Kate a children’s literature specialist and former school librarian along with the latest additions, a daughter (now 4) for Kate, and two sons (now 1 and a newborn) for Amanda. We advocate reading aloud, the simple toys that use imagination and encourage creativity and learning in the kitchen, which can be a fun mess but also teaches life skills. Join us in raising healthy, happy, inquisitive and intelligent children.
We are mom Sandra and daughters Amanda and Kate, all with backgrounds in literacy and education, who want to share our philosophy of taking the basics of life; books, simple toys that encourage play, imagination and creativity, and using cooking and baking to teach math and real life skills to raise happy, inquisitive children. Join us in exploring the old and the new and sifting through the myriad of research to consider what is best for our children.