One of the best ways for a child to learn is to incorporate what motivates them. My son is motivated by fun games. He loves winning and being competitive. Another thing that motivates him is his favorite toy, which are race cars. We needed to review multiplication, specifically the six times tables. Therefore, we created and played the Race Car Math Game.
Playing the Race Car Math Game
My son was so excited to play this game. He quickly got all the materials needed, which is listed below, for our competition. The rules were simple. You earn a point by having the fastest car and getting the multiplication problem correct.
We played this game for about one hour. At the end of the game, I was confident he knew his times tables. He was motivated to get the math problems correct because this was one way he accumulated points within the game. You can play this game with other math concepts such as addition, subtraction, and division.
Many of my family and friends havedominoes in their homes but do not use them much. Often times, people are not aware of the various ways to play with them. Dominoes is a fun and playful material where children can create a design and knock them down. Additionally, there is the famous Dominoes game where kids can match numbers.In this post, we will show you how to play dominoes for kids. You will see two fun games we made up.
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.
What are the important mathematical skills in early childhood education?
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 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.
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?
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!
One day my son was playing with dice from a Monopoly game and play foam numbers. All of a sudden I hear him say, “Mommy, I made up a game!”
When I hear the word “GAME,” I get excited. I think games are the best way to learn because they incorporate the three basic learning styles: Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic learning.
I sat on the floor with him and he gave me directions for the game. After playing the game with him, I realized it would be perfect to help kids with number recognition. Since we had a great time playing the game, I would like to share it with you.
Last week I told you about the Addition Bowling Game for Kids that my son, Cory, created. This game involved using Cory’s bowling play set to practice addition. You may also use paper cups if you don’t have a bowling play set. This activity allowed my son to review adding one and two digit numbers.
Cory created a second spin-off game that allowed him to practice adding three-digit numbers as well. I was impressed in the effort and thought he put into this game. I will show you how to play below…
Let’s Get Started!
If you want to see a different version of this game, watch the video below. This comes from my son’s YouTube channel, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please like and subscribe for fun learning activities.
In our household, we have something called “Creative Time.” This is when my son chooses an activity or a game he and I can play. This is my time to follow his lead in whatever creative project he wants to do.
This time, he pulled out his bowling game and said, “Let’s play!”
While playing the game we incorporated addition so my son could practice his math skills. If your child is not doing addition yet, use this game to practice counting and number recognition. Like all games we play, we had a blast!
My son loves to play, build, and race his toy cars. One day, I asked him if he wanted to have a car wash after seeing this activity on the Internet. I remember looking at this activity and thinking this would be a great idea for a kid who likes cars.
I had several reasons for suggesting the car wash. First, this activity was a fun way to encourage my son to practice his penmanship. The weekend we did the activity, it was raining. I was trying to find something hands-on to do in the house; although, a car wash is really fun when doing it outside on a sunny day. Furthermore, I wanted to incorporate three things that interest my son which are cars, counting, and getting messy.
Our Car Wash incorporated fun and so many aspects of hands-on learning. I thought I would share this activity with you so your kids can have as much fun as my son.
Life Skills is something that many parents teach their children. It helps them navigate through the real world. Incorporating math in life skill lessons is important because it helps people, including children, to describe how the world works.
For example, a child knows that if he/she has one cookie and their sibling has two cookies then there is a difference. If a child has played with a toy for 5 minutes and another child played with it for 15 minutes, they can feel the discrepancy.
In the examples above, children are using mathematics on deciding how they should feel about certain situations. As adults, let’s encourage and foster their learning by building on their knowledge of using everyday math.
These activities below will show you how to do it in a fun way with your children!