Teaching Mathematics in Early Childhood Through Play

The Problem – I am not good at math

I have heard adults and children proclaim that they are not good at math. Some people believe this because they received bad grades in this subject in school. Furthermore, they had a difficult time understanding various mathematical concepts. Many of us believe math just comes naturally for some people. I discovered that this is simply not true. Teaching mathematics in early childhood is one way to combat this belief.

You mean people can improve their math ability?

Yes, people can improve their math abilities. I remember reading the book, Morning by Morning: How We Home-Schooled Our African-American Sons to the Ivy League by Paula Penn Nabrit. The author details why and how she homeschooled her boys. When it was time for her sons to go to college, she talked to a college admission counselor about what they look for when admitting students to their school. Of course they mentioned grades among many other aspects of a student. The counselor said good reading scores starts early in childhood; however, with practice many students can raise their math scores later in life.

How can this be done?

Dr. Ben Carson gave a lecture on PBS called, The Missing Link: The Science of Brain Health. In this talk, he gave tips on how people can optimally utilize their brain. Dr. Carson addressed the fact that many people find math difficult. He says that anyone can be good at math. Math is a subject that builds upon the previous concept. He said that when people have trouble with math it is because they failed to understand the previous concept given to them. It is important for students to go back and make sure they understand the foundational ideas before they move ahead to the next.

It just takes practice and effort.

Why is teaching mathematics in early childhood important?

When many people hear the word “mathematics” they tend to think of numbers, equations, and theories. However, math is so much more than that. It is a part of our everyday interactions and children naturally practice mathematics as a life skill whether we notice it or not.

For example, a child knows that if he or she has one cookie and his or her sibling has two cookies, then there is a difference. If a child has played with a toy for five minutes and another child played with it for fifteen minutes, they can feel the discrepancy. In the examples above, children are using mathematics to decide how they should feel about certain situations. 

If our children naturally practice these skills, why not foster their learning by connecting it to their interests and incorporating it into their play and daily routines?

We will discuss some ways to do this later.

My son is three-years-old. He was curious about multiplication after seeing the x sign. I showed him how to complete multiplication problems through drawing pictures.
In this picture my son is three-years-old. He was curious about multiplication after seeing the x sign in his play math set. I showed him how to solve multiplication problems through drawing pictures. He is solving the problem 8 x 2 =
He is writing the correct answer 16  on his V-Tech Easel.
He is writing the correct answer 16 on his V-tech easel.

What are the important mathematical skills in early childhood education?

Colors

Colors, shapes, and spatial reasoning are a few important mathematical skills in early childhood education. Colors help children organize and bring logic to their world. Identifying colors helps a child create a link between visual clues and words. Colors aid in giving children the vocabulary needed to describe the world around them, which opens up new verbal channels for them.

For instance, children often distinguish the difference between foods such as fruits and vegetables by their color. Furthermore, when your child is painting or coloring, most often they will make the sun yellow and water blue because this is familiar to them. It helps to organize their creation.

Shapes

Shapes are not only important in math, but also life in general. A child who can identify shapes will learn how letters of the alphabet are formed. This prepares them to have better handwriting skills. For instance, the letter O is basically a circle.

Also, the knowledge of shapes is useful for building, which is an introduction to engineering. My son learned a lot about what shapes to use when building certain structures with his magnetic tiles. He learned that rectangles and squares make great bases or foundations for towers. His towers are made with hexagons, squares, and triangles. From these experiences, he was able to apply his knowledge of creating basic structures to making them more sophisticated and complex.

Spacial Reasoning

A child uses visual spatial skills daily when he or she imagines where a toy in their room is located before going to get it. Another example is when a child is packing their book or duffle bag; they visualize how different items can fit together to maximize storage capacity. Furthermore, when a child puts together a puzzle, they imagine where pieces go before putting them in the correct place.

What are the methods used to teach mathematics?

There are so many methods to teaching mathematics besides worksheets. My favorite method is playful learning which may include games, hands-on activities, and the use of toys. These activities will help you to make the information active to your child. This is important because learning comes to life for a child when they do something with the information.

Examples of fun activities you can do are to go outside, collect and count rocks, and sort them by color and texture. You can also build a math activity around your child’s interests. If your child likes cars, have them construct numbers in sand or mud with their toy vehicles. You can also create a road with tape in the form of numbers. Then have your child follow the path with the cars. If you have a child that likes dolls or stuffed animals, then help them do a role play as a teacher teaching their dolls how to recognize numbers. 

The possibilities are endless!

Want more FUN ideas for teaching early childhood mathematics?

THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!

The book above, Teaching Mathematics in Early Childhood: Simple Activities That Make Learning Math Easy and Fun has over 200 activities, tips, and resources. It will give you fun playful activities on how to expose your child to the following concepts….

  • Colors
  • Shapes
  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Sorting and Organizing
  • Number Recognition and Counting
  • Estimation
  • Measurement
  • Addition and Subtraction
  • Skip Counting and Multiplication
  • Money Recognition
  • Time

Many of the activities can be done with household items and materials. This book also gives its readers tips and resources such as children book suggestions, videos, music, toys, and playful materials.

How do I know these activities work?

These are the activities I have used to teach my son, Cory, early childhood mathematics. Currently he is five but does math on a 4th grade level.

Cory really enjoyed learning math because the activities were hands-on, playful, and fun. He connected with the concepts because he was able to experience what he was learning through engaging games. Additionally, when you use fun learning and play to expose a child to math, the information tends to stick faster.

There is a quote by Dr. Karen Purvis that says “Scientists have recently determined that it takes approximately 400 repetitions to create a new synapse in the brain – unless it is done with play, in which case, it takes between 10 and 20 repetitions!”

This is why playful learning is important, effective, and efficient!

Keep learning and having fun!

Fun Color Activity for Preschoolers, Kindergartners, and up – Awesome Outdoor Adventure

Every night before my son goes to bed, we read a book. Currently my son is interested in chapter books. The book series we are reading is called George Brown Class Clown. In one of the books, George’s school has Field Day. This day is filled with friendly competitive games and fun among the students.

One Field Day event required the kids to be in nature identifying objects of certain colors. My son liked this activity and requested to do it the next day.

Once the next day arrived, my son was ready to go on his nature and color adventure.

This is a great activity to help kids learn and review colors. Try it at home!

My son, Corban is going to show you how to do the activity in the video below. You can do this activity with one child or many children. You can create a friendly competition by placing multiple children in teams.

Fun Color Activity for Preschoolers, Kindergartners, and Up

The following video comes from my son’s YouTube Channel, Corban’s Fun Learning Activity. Please like and subscribe for fun hands-on activities every Tuesday.

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Colorful Egg Drop Science Experiment for Kids

About a week ago, many families were coloring eggs to prepare for Easter Egg Hunts. This can be a fun and interactive process for children. I knew my son would love coloring eggs this year and we did just that. However, we decided to do something different. We incorporated a magical science trick while coloring our eggs.

It is called the Colorful Egg Drop Science Experiment for Kids. My son saw this experiment in a book and could not wait to try it. He immediately searched our home for the materials to execute this amazing scientific trick.

I was a little skeptical at first because I didn’t think it would work. However, to my surprise, it was successful on the first try! My son wanted to do the experiment repeatedly after it worked the first time.

I love this experiment because it required materials I had at home, it was quick and easy to set up, it taught my son about Newton’s Law of Motion and gravity, and it colored our eggs for Easter in a fun way!

Below my son will teach you how to do this fun experiment.

Let’s Get Started!

Materials Needed:

  • Two toilet paper rolls
  • Three cups of water
  • Food Coloring (we used three different colors)
  • Spoon
  • One saucer size paper plate
  • One regular size paper plate
  • Three white eggs

Watch the video below to see my son doing the Colorful Egg Drop Experiment. This video comes from his YouTube channel, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please like and subscribe!

Have fun with this activity!

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Our books are available on Amazon, “Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play,” “Fun Easy Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Write, and “Teach Your Child About Money Through Play.

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10+ Activities that Teach Kids Colors in a Fun Way

Colors is a topic that all kids learn. My son learned his colors around 16 months with a combination of fun activities. I remember spreading out various colored poms poms on the floor and asking him to bring me specific colors. He got them all correct! He learned because I used in-depth fun learning to naturally expose him to it. In-depth learning is exposing your child to new concepts in various ways such as sight, hearing, and touch. The activities below will help you incorporate these types of learning techniques.

Let’s get started with learning colors in a fun way!

Sorting

Sorting is a great way for kids to learn colors. Below are some ways to accomplish this at home.

  • Gather various colored items in your home such as blue, yellow, green, purple, red etc.
  • Help your child to put all items of the same color together.
    • For example put all the red items together.
  • My son, Cory, likes to sort his toy cars and balls.
  • Make a game of it by racing all the green cars, then blue cars, and so on.
  • You can also create a ball race between the various colors.
My son sorted balls and made each Black Panther Action Figure guard them.

Color Day!

Pick a color day in your household.

  • Pick a day where everyone in the family wears the same color clothes.
  • Everyone can wear the same color shirt, pants, or socks.
  • This activity is like St. Patrick’s Day where everyone wears green.
  • However, you will pick a different day of the week to wear a certain color.
  • For example, on Monday everyone wears a blue shirt and then on Tuesday everyone wears a red shirt.
These children are having a Blue Day!

Pick the Color

This activity was actually how I found out my son knew all his colors. This is a fun one for the kids.

  • You may use various colored items such as pom poms, crayons, balls etc.
  • We used poms poms for this activity.
  • Spread them on the floor.
  • Ask your child to bring you various colored items. For example say to your child…
    • “Please give me the blue poms poms”
    • “Please bring the yellow poms poms”
  • Optional: you may alternate roles with your child and have them ask you to bring them certain colored poms poms.

Call It in the Real World

Children don’t have to be in school or at home to learn colors. It can be done anywhere. Try the activities below…

  • While you are outside, pick a color you will identify such as green.
    • Identify with your child green grass, cars, and tree leaves
  • While running errands, identify various colors on signs or advertisements
  • While at the grocery store, identify various colors of fruits and vegetables.

Color Hunt

This activity encourages children to get physical and learn simultaneously.

  • Hide the same color items in one room or all over your home.
  • Have your children find the items you just hid and identify the colors.
  • Optional: You may hide different color items around your home as well.

Digital Media

My son and I love watching educational videos on our television. At times after dinner, we dance, sing songs or just watch videos about colors from YouTube. Below are YouTube videos about colors.

Paint

Being able to use colors to create pictures is a great learning tool for children.

  • Once your child learns certain colors have them paint a picture using that color.
  • You may also create stories using the picture.
    • For example, paint a yellow stick man playing with a blue stick man and write a story about it.
My son’s finger paint art work of the beach.

Make Color Potions

Making potions is a great hands-on activity for kids. Below is how to do it.

  • Make a simple potion by mixing glitter, various food coloring, vinegar, and baking soda.
  • Your child will see bubbles while creating this chemical reaction.
My son making a colorful potion.

Make Slime

  • Mix water, cornstarch and washable paint until it feels like glue.
  • You may use food coloring instead of paint.
  • Let your child play in the slime.
Red Corn Starch Slime

Books with Movement

Before my son knew the colors, I would go to the library weekly and get books about colors. Reading a variety of books about colors helped my son see colors from many perspectives. Don’t just read books, but get physical as well. Once you read about a color in the book, look around the room or your home and try to find that color.

Below are 10 great books to read to your child about colors

Melissa and Doug Sort and Snap Color Match

The Melissa and Doug Sort and Snap Color Match was given to my son as a birthday present. Your child will be able to create various colorful pictures using boards and snap caps. It is an interactive educational tool that is great for color recognition, sorting, and beginning math skills. Cory liked creating the pictures. It is a good way to supplement your child’s exposure to colors.

Cory completed a picture of a caterpillar with colors.

Have fun with these activities!

OUR KID FRIENDLY FAST & FUN STUDY TRICKS FOR BETTER GRADES: 9 FUN STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS IN LEARNING AND SCHOOL HAS $29 OFF THE ORIGINAL PRICE.

Our books are available on Amazon, “Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play,” “Fun Easy Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Write, and “Teach Your Child About Money Through Play.

THE TEACH YOUR TODDLER TO READ THROUGH PLAY ONLINE COURSE HAS A $97 DISCOUNT.

Click here for the PAYMENT PLAN OPTION!