Working with numbers is tricky. Learning numbers is even trickier, and for most of us, it’s something we don’t remember doing. It just happened!
So when it’s time to help your child learn numbers, you might be at a loss for how to go about it. Here are some tips for helping your child at home.
Start with quantity.
Children thrive on concrete examples of otherwise abstract concepts. Numbers is abstract. 2 bananas is not. I can see, touch, and smell 2 bananas.
When just starting out, don’t worry about pointing to a number and asking your child, “What number is this?” Rather, count tangible things. For example, at the grocery store, “Can you put 3 oranges in our cart?” Or at home, “Let’s jump 5 times. Count with me!”
Move on to symbols.
After your child has a solid grasp on quantity, try moving on to symbols. The number 2 is simply a symbol that represents a specific quantity. This is more of an abstract concept for the child.
When learning to identify symbols (i.e. numbers), try activities like reading the numbers on houses you drive past, reading license plate numbers, or identifying numbers on a menu at a restaurant.
Work with likes, dislikes, and daily habits.
Wherever your child is on their journey towards number knowledge, remember to make practice organic and enjoyable. If we push too hard, the child might feel pressured or worried!
Work with your child’s interests. For example, if your child loves visiting the zoo, make an exercise out of counting the monkeys. If they prefer playing with cars, count how many cars will fit on the racetrack.
Lastly, find ways to incorporate quantity and symbol practice into your daily routine. If your child uses a tablet, try an app like Intro to Math on iPad, iPhone that has tasks to learn both quantity and symbol.
By introducing numeracy via concrete quantity practice and then moving to abstract symbols, your child will have a firm grasp on numbers before beginning more challenging work like addition and subtraction.
How do you practice numbers at home? Share ideas in Chat!
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