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Easy Ways to Teach Math to your Preschooler
Math is an important skill the every kid needs to eventually learn. Although your child will learn different math concepts and skills in school, if your preschooler is ready, why wait? Teaching your preschooler math can be easy, especially if you go about it the right way. If both you and your preschooler are ready to embark on a mathematical learning adventure, here are a few tips you will need to know.
Manipulatives are an easy way to help teach math to your preschooler, especially if your preschooler is a tactile learner. A manipulative is anything your child can hold and manipulate in his or her hands. Education stores carry a huge selection of different manipulatives you can use to teach specific math skills, but you don’t need to spend a ton on these professional tools. You can use items from around the house as a manipulative, such as Lego’s, candy, and blocks. Use these tools to practice counting, adding, and subtracting.
Make it Fun
Let’s face it, learning in the traditional sense can be boring, especially for young children. If your preschooler is anything like mine, sitting still and listening to a lecture for even 5 minutes is a struggle. Since this is obviously NOT how your preschooler will learn math, don’t hesitate to make learning fun. Either make up your own math games or go online and find fun and interactive ways to do math. Your preschooler will love using M&Ms to practice subtraction especially since those “take away” M&Ms make great treats. The more fun your preschooler has, the easier it will be to foster a love for learning. This love for math and learning is very important to the future of your child’s educational career.
Try Different Activities and Teaching Styles
Just as not all children are the same, not all children learn the same either. Take this into consideration when teaching math to your preschooler. Practice the same skill using different activities and teaching styles. Not only will this help you teach according your child’s learning style, each time you cover the same skill in a different way, you are reinforcing the concept. This will help your preschooler grasp an idea more thoroughly, allowing him or her to master the math skill.
Introduce Concepts Early
Introducing math concepts early will help your child learn. I’m not suggesting you introduce calculus to your 3 or 4 year old, but you can introduce basic addition and subtraction skills in a fun and easy way. During snack time, put 3 carrots on a plate and ask your preschooler how many carrots are there. Once your child has identified the number of carrots, ask how many will be there if you add two more. Place those two carrots on the plates and have your child count the total amount. Even if your preschooler can’t verbalize the equation “3+2=5,” you’ve introduced the concept and your preschooler now knows that adding means more.
Don’t Always Aim for Mastery
Math can be a difficult concept for a preschooler to grasp. Always give your preschooler the opportunity to learn, but if you notice that your preschooler isn’t ready for a certain concept or skill, don’t push. At such a young age, mastery is not the goal, and trying to push your child to mastery before he or she is ready can cause damage that is difficult to undo. Let your child learn at his or her own pace and you’ll notice a marked improvement in both learned skills and attitude towards learning.