The following is a guide to preschool math:First, use descriptive words in your everyday speech to help kids learn relationships, space, and planes. For example, when asking them to get something for you, you can say, “Can you grab my bag, it is in front of the television.” Or when you park, explain what you did, “We just parallel parked, which means we parked along the curb.” The more you use words like higher, lower, behind, larger, smaller, equal, vertical, odd, even, etc. in everyday speech, the easier it is for kids to understand what these words mean in relation to math.
Second, count with your kids. The best way for a preschooler to learn about numbers is through counting. Children should learn to count just about everything. When you give them a snack, say stuff like, “How many pretzels do you have?” and then let them count them out. Counting objects and discussing the results help kids realize what numbers represent, and how that translates into their daily lives.
Next, play number games. Roll dice, move pieces up that many spaces, etc. When kids use numbers in fun, they do not have as hard of a time with them. So, help them use numbers regularly by playing games, reading counting books, asking them to count, and ask them to use numbers.
Part of preschool math is geometry and spatial relationships. The best way to help your child understand this is again through practice. When you are in your kitchen, ask your child to point out several round or circular shaped items. Ask them to identify triangles, rectangles, etc. Soon they will learn that not all shapes of the same category are identical. A triangle can be skinny, fat, upside down, sideways, etc. The more you discuss shapes, their properties, etc. the better kids understand geometry. Using building blocks can help.
Another aspect of preschool math is measurement. The best way to teach this is again practical application. Have your preschooler measure out ingredients when cooking. Ask them to identify who is taller you or them, and then use a ruler to measure how much taller you are. You can set up things for them to learn more about measuring and understanding distance. Let them problem solve and figure out how to bridge a gap, etc.
Next, help your child understand how patterns are part of math and geometry. You can have them point out patterns in their clothes, and look for similar patterns elsewhere. You can have them practice making patterns of their own. One fun way to do this is have them create a piece of jewelry using beads. Ask them to create a pattern and repeat it for the whole piece.
Last, preschoolers need to be able to see data and analyze it. The best way to help them develop this skill is to have them sort things. Provide them with objects and have them sort by color, size, shape, etc. Have them count them. Have them translate this information by charting it, or graphing it. They may need help, but it will help them realize the information can become something.
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