I often get enquiries on how to teach toddlers and preschoolers math. So here’s more sharing on what we do in an easy and fun way…
Usually, we do “right brain” math over breakfast. For instance, yesterday, I rolled 10 bread bits, showed them to El and said, “This is 10.”
When doing “right brain” math, there is NO NEED to count one by one. (We do counting during other sessions.)
You may also use healthy snacks such as unsweetened wholegrain o-shaped cereals and cereal flakes. I stress “healthy” so that it’s ok even if we do a bit more dot practice. (Which means we don’t do math with raisins and chocolates, ha!)
When I’m having my vitamins after breakfast, I may mention “3 bottles of vitamins”. Again, without counting.
I may also show them “1 + 1 + 2 = 4”.
- Use a plain coloured plate or tray so that the child can see the quantity clearly.
- Subtraction: When the child eats one cereal flake, I say, “10 – 1 = 9” and continue until “1 – 1 = 0”.
- Concept of zero: “Zero means no more, empty.”
- Addition: When the child wants more snacks, I’d demonstrate addition when adding more to his plate . “0 + 3 = 3. And 3 + 2 = 5”
- Dot practice: After completing one cycle of the 63-Day Math Programme, during the rest period, you may use snacks as dot practice too.
- Counting and time: When I need him to wait for me, I may say, “I’d be done in 1 minute, that’s 60 seconds.” Then I count from 1 to 60. (Other times, I did in higher multiples of 60.)
- Counting down and time: When he’s waiting for his oat cereal to be ready, I may say, “We count down from 1 minute, that’s 60 seconds.” Then I count down from 60 to 0. Using this simple audio method, the older boys could count down at 2+ years old.
When the child understands quantity and simple math operations in his life, it should be easier to move to higher-level math. Have fun teaching!
Carol (aka MieVee)
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