By the age of three or four, your little one should be starting to show an interest in numbers and counting. At this age, most children should be able to count to ten, do simple addition and subtraction using objects, recognize written numbers, and put numbers in order. Worried that your child isn't getting to grips with numbers as quickly as they should be? Children learn at their own pace, and this isn't usually a cause for concern. However, there are ways to help your child get the hang of numbers more easily, and we've outlined a few of the best activities below.
Read Stories and Poems That Involve Numbers
Reading age-appropriate books that involve numbers and counting is a great way to show your child how numbers are used in the real world. For example, you might read a story about a group of children sharing apples, and count how many apples each person gets. Using props to help with counting while reading the story can make things clearer for some children, and small toys work well. Poems and songs can help make counting more fun, and children are more likely to memorize numbers when they're part of a song.
Cook Together and Count Ingredients
This a great way to incorporate counting into your child's day-to-day life. Lay out all the ingredients you need on the counter, then ask your child to count out the right amount for you. For example, "five squares of chocolate", "two oranges", or "one cup of milk." Be sure to give your child lots of praise and positive reinforcement, and don't get frustrated if they make mistakes. Building up early positive associations around maths and counting is really important, as children who associate maths with getting told off or punished won't be keen to learn.
Play Simple Board Games Together
Playing simple board games which involve rolling dice and moving a certain number of spaces is a great way to test your child's skills once they're feeling a little more confident. Start with a single die to practice the numbers one to six, then introduce a second die to help your child get comfortable with numbers six to twelve. Matching games are also a great learning tool that help your child recognize written numbers by matching them to pictures of objects. For example, a card with three dinosaurs on would be matched to a card showing 'three', written as either a word or a digit.
Helping your child understand numbers is all about keeping things fun and lighthearted. Incorporate basic maths into your daily routine together and your child will soon feel comfortable. Contact a local child care for more information.