Promoting Early numeracy in children doesn’t have to be all about counting repetitively, number flashcards and reciting 1-10 endlessly. Early numeracy and math in the years leading up to school is an important skill for children to have and it can be lots of fun. Parents can introduce basic math skills through play to get children interested and learning in a fun playful way.
Here we have used my little ponies to explore Early numeracy in many ways; counting, number recognition, understanding individual numbers, patterns, sorting, length and addition. Miss T, (who just turned 4 and had a Pony Party), is in love with her ponies at the moment, so I used this interest to explore early numeracy and engage her in early math skills.
Sorting and Counting.
First we explored small to large, and sorted her ponies out in size. Then we counted them. Then we sorted her ponies out by colour, and counted how many pink, purple, white, blue and white she had. We sorted them into groups based on differences, for example; ponies with rainbow hair, mini ponies, my little ponies, ponies with hair clips or ties. Then we counted them.
Understanding individual numbers.
I used some post it notes and ordered them along our table 1-12, I then asked Miss T to put 4 ponies behind number 4, 8 ponies behind number 8 and so on. This helps children in early numeracy because often repetitive rote counting can lead to children being able to count to 20 (like a verse that is memorised) without the knowledge of individual numbers. Like how many units are in number 7 for instance.
Patterns and sequence.
This is a little more difficult for preschoolers to understand. I placed a sequence of ponies on the table in a pattern, we verbalised the pattern and Miss T has to guess what came next. For example; pink, white, purple, pink, white… What comes next? or small, small, large, small, small, large, small…. what’s next? Then I asked her to make up her own pattern.
Measurement is another early math skill that can be easily explored at playtime with toys. Here we lined up rows of ponies and identifies which line was longer, which was shorter. We stood different ponies up and compared them, measuring which was taller and which was shorter.
I used some wooden number and math symbols to introduce addition to Miss T. I put down a number + another number = and asked her to put the corresponding number of ponies with the number. So 4 ponies + 2 ponies and then I asked her to push them together and add them together by counting how many there are as a group now. She did, then she found that number on a wooden block. By her own decision, she then went one extra step and got out the same number of wooden rods.
We stuck to addition and did it a few times, 3 yellow ponies plus 2 pink, 3 big ponies plus 5 little ponies for example. Then she counted them in total and found that number to finish the sum.
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I would love for you to comment and share how you encourage early numeracy and math skills with your children.
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