(Written by Kristen Thomas and Edited by Elle Yi) Foundational skills are essential in all school subject areas. For preschool children what math skills look like is vastly different from grade level mathematics. Learning at this stage is developing a language, sense of quantity, patterns, and number sense.
Most parents have no issue in naming days of the week, body parts, numbers, and items around the home. An additional layer is needed to develop math language in toddlers. Unless a parent has a job or speaks of common basic math terms directly, a toddler rarely hears math language until they enter a classroom.
A common way to start is when cooking or building a parent can show and name the measurement tools they use. Unless an adult gives it meaning a teaspoon, a cup, or a measuring tape simply look like wonderful toys to examine. A few moments conversation when encountering numbers would make a world of difference. We are surrounded by numbers. Numbers are in our vehicles, on street signs, money, and advertisements. Make it a habit to point out abbreviations, symbols, and meaning of that number in that situation.
- Sense of Quantity
Estimation is the number one skill needed and used throughout our lives. Show your child the bench mark numbers two, five, and ten. Use cubes, cereal, chocolate chips, or paper to show those particular amounts. Let the child count it and touch it. Put it away for a day of two. Show your child a different amount of a particular item up to twelve items. Then ask questions such as was it larger than two? Smaller than five?
If the child does not make a close guess simply show the amount closes with the objects and let the child count then guess again. The basic skill of estimation is visualization of an amount. Once a child masters one material or set of numbers change the material or up the numbers and establish new bench marks. Other numbers to use as bench marks are 12, 18, 20, 24, 25, 50, or 100.
Math has many patterns in nature and ones created by man. Looking at a pattern and applying a number or assigning a letter to it develops high level math abilities. Simple toddler songs are a great place to assign letter patterns since songs often have much repetition. For each phrase in a song assign a letter, and if a phrase repeats, give it the letter from the first time the phrase was encountered. Add a fun layer of clapping, snapping your fingers or stomping the feet to act out the pattern. Or do the physical activity first and then write out a pattern.
- Number Sense
Number sense means after a set of skills is in place that fluidity, flexibility and extension begin to occur. It means a child has moved from obtaining knowledge to putting the knowledge to use. You and your child have practiced baking cookies and the child understands the recipe and its measurements.
The next day you decide to do an art project and the clay dough has to be created. The instructions do not say it is a recipe, but in general terms it is a recipe. If a child takes their skills from cooking and begins to use those math cooking skills to create the clay, then the child is doing application level math. If the child changes something in the recipe by thinking about it the child has moved to analyzing and extending their math knowledge and creating something slightly different.
A parent can easily see with a few intentional conversations pointing out math, estimating in everyday situations, or extending a pattern or two they have set a strong foundation for formal math learning to come. Best of all the parent and child had fun doing that. Parents are a child’s first teacher and with some ordinary everyday household activities. Every parent can simply ensure a high level of math skills in place with free math games for kids.
Some iPad apps for kids are typically used for entertainment, while others are applied for educational purposes. A crucial aspect in determining the right iPad apps for kids is an educational one. Parents will be introduced to some of the Best Free Math Games for kids on the recent market with the following list of Free Math Apps for iPad. * Please note * Only the app’s developer can control when an app is free or not. All apps that ParentingInformer posts as Free educational apps are verified to be free at the time of this post. ParentingInformer makes no guarantees otherwise.
Top 10 Free Math Games For Kids with iPad
|My Math Flash Cards App||Released on||01/04/11||iPhone App Link|
|Motion Math: Hungry Fish||Released on||12/15/11||iPhone App Link|
|Drill Math Word Problems||Released on||03/30/12||iPhone App Link|
|Free Math Flash Cards||Released on||10/07/09||iPhone App Link|
|Motion Math Zoom||Released on||08/18/11||iPhone App Link|
|Free Math Flash Cards||Released on||03/31/11||iPhone App Link|
|Motion Math: Wings||Released on||05/09/12||iPhone App Link|
|Math Blaster||Released on||04/19/12||iPhone App Link|
|Math Ninja HD Free!||Released on||05/27/10||iPhone App Link|
|Math is fun: Age 3-4||Released on||03/02/12||iPhone App Link|
Information courtesy of Mary Page, retired District Elementary Math Specialist at GCCISD Baytown Texas and for 8 years a math facilitator at Ashbel Smith Elementary.