Mathematics and Numeracy For Early Childhood
What exactly are numeracy and mathematics for toddlers? Many parents may not have a clear idea and may think it is just about numbers, however, this is wrong. At first, numeracy only helps us understand and use numbers, recognize and use shapes in our daily lives. And then as we get older and more knowledgeable, our daily numeracy needs become more varied and complex. Our contact with numeracy may start with mathematics, which involves noticing numbers, shapes, sizes, dimensions, and measurements. Mathematics is everywhere, integrated into our daily lives. Your child learns differently in the early years than you do, but there are still many ways that you can help your child learn.
In early childhood, play is an important part of mathematics and numeracy development, enabling learners to face problems, think about how to solve them, and explore them. As they grow older, learners need to make connections and collaborate with others. We know that play is important to young children's development, they explore patterns and shapes, compare sizes and count while playing.
But under what circumstances do they do this? What does it mean for children's development? When children are learning through free play, it certainly includes some math content. For example, number words, counting before hide-and-seek, comparing the size of objects, identifying or creating patterns or shapes, or exploring geometric properties, and exploring spatial relationships.
Children’s daily life is full of various learning opportunities. They learn numeracy skills almost from birth. This learning occurs during observational and experiential activities, when your child hears you counting their fingers and toes, identifying the numbers and shapes on a paper or telephone, deciding how many slices of orange they want. As children grow up, they will be exposed to more numeracy and mathematic skills and will learn calculations, equations.
So exactly how should we cultivate it? Conversations, daily activities, and games can all help. For example:
- During conversations you can use math concepts to describe what you and your child see and do together.
- When you are preparing food, talk about what you are doing. For example, "I'm going to cut this apple in half.", "This pizza I divided it into 4 portions, one for each of us."
- Among the children’s toys, simple board games, puzzles with shapes and numbers, and toys can also be a good way for your child to learn mathematics. Here we would like to recommend our Wooden Connect 4 Game, which can greatly exercise kids ‘strategic thinking skills and reaction speed, while also cultivating hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness.
- When you are out and about with your child, study the numbers you see with your children, such as those on buses and road signs. Children may be learning without realizing it.
- In daily activities, you can let your children feel nature and the objects they see, instruct them to group them according to size, color, or shape.
These are the suggestions given by ExploraToy on how to help children improve their mathematic and numeracy skills. Also on the ExploraToy website, we offer toys that can help, especially Wooden Knob Puzzles with Numbers, Letters, and Shapes - 3-set, If your child doesn't have a suitable toy yet, please don't hesitate to go for it!