Let’s chat for a second, shall we? Who has little ones in the house who are going to Preschool or will be going soon? I would love to share some things that preschool kiddos will be doing in their “Math Class.” Math in preschool is not all about adding and multiplying. Oh, who am I kidding, Algebra class is on Tuesdays! Hehehe!
What is Preschool math then?
When we do math in class, we start with rote counting. That is, counting out loud, all by themselves. This is what you do with them from the time they can talk. It is simply counting 1-2-3-4-5….
This step is hard, and may not be second in line. To have a kiddo know how to count is one thing, but having them be able to recognize a numeral is a whole different ball game. I created this game of Roll and count (concept old, my design new!) to practice 1-to-1 correspondence and number recognition. Once I created this one game in the fall, my kiddos loved it. So I made a whole bunch more! 🙂 Click on my year of Roll and covers in my Teachers pay teachers site!
Next, preschoolers can start to count items. Teachers may call it doing 1-to-1 correspondence. Let’s imagine you are in the kitchen with your kiddo. You ask them to set the table, putting out forks and napkins for everyone in the family. If they are able to count 1-to-1, they will count each of the people in the family, and then count the forks and napkins. Don’t forget to do this math in your kitchen or on a walk to the park (count the cars parked, how many houses, how many trees?).
ORDERING AND SORTING
Another math process they do is ordering and sorting. Ordering from tallest to shortest, from oldest to youngest, from biggest to smallest, can be done anywhere you are! Sorting objects by different attributes such as size, age, color, taste, smell, etc. can keep a kiddo busy for hours if you change it up throughout the day.
Finding patterns in math related activities will get them closer to finding them in other math processes when they grow up, and even when doing reading and sounds. If they can make an AB pattern (ex. blue, red, blue, red…) and then an ABC (ex. blue, red, green, blue, red, green) pattern, they will soon be able to see how patterns are created. Then they will start to see how numbers create a pattern as they get larger. 20, 21, 22, 23…. 30, 31, 32, 32….40, 41, 42,43…
What are some fun activities you can do for patterns? How about coloring one? How about taking your cars and putting them in a color pattern? Can your child create a pattern with their food? How about make a pattern with the people in your family?
What shapes do your children know? Of course the basics of the square, triangle and circle are the most important, but usually they learn the heart and start very easily! Have your child match shapes if they don’t know the names of them yet. When they match, tell them the name of that shape. Then, when you are out and about, look for shapes in nature, on signs, in stores, etc. I have a Smart Board in my classroom and created a Shape and Color Matching game for my kiddos to play. With this game, they can know if they are correct or not, because I made it clap if they click the correct shape to match! So fun!
So now you’re probably wondering why I’m sharing this all with you. I want to remind you that your little one is a sponge. She is learning things every moment of the day. When she does math, it is not just counting out-loud. It is not just telling you the number names. It is all of these things, plus some! That little brain of hers is working so hard, all the time! That is why preschoolers are required to rest during the day.
When your preschooler’s teacher tells you they were working on math, please don’t be too quick to say “my daughter knows how to count!”. We will say, “that is fabulous, now we need to work on….”
This is the “fun stuff”. This is the math that will lead into the “hard stuff”. Have fun with it, encourage her to look around during the day to find the pattern, or count the napkins. Make everyday life a math lesson. It’s way more fun!