Mathematics is a critical component of the human mind. It's primarily responsible for thought and logic, helping us better understand ourselves and the world around us. Mathematics allows an effective method of building mental discipline, encouraging logical reasoning and rigour. Additionally, there is a crucial role within the concepts of social studies, science, art, and music that rely on mathematic principles.
Mathematics holds transversal nature. It's been studied since early civilization. Historically speaking, maths offered significant mental discipline for all other aspects of life. Literacy is a critical component of individuals living more effective lives. These areas include computational skills, spatial ability, quantitative reasoning, and more.
Finally, mathematics provides foundational knowledge and skillset for other school areas. This subject is often intertwined with different subjects and must be addressed. Mathematics is occasionally offered independently in support of other school studies. Essentially, other areas of academia will suffer without early concepts of mathematics.
Understanding the importance of mathematics in the early years
Mathematics is one of the essential skills we expect our children to understand and master. While most educational importance is placed on early literacy skills, math is frequently lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately, developing math skills from an early age is more critical than you might believe.
Early math skills predict future math achievement and also highlight expected literacy success. Children who are taught math early in life and learn the fundamental basics are set for a lifetime of achievement. Educators can teach maths at a much earlier age than many parents believe. Although addition and subtraction are well beyond toddler comprehension, children can begin grasping concepts of counting and numbers in infancy. For instance, research indicates that children as young as six months can recognize small groups of numbers without counting.
How Can Parents Help Build Mathematic Understanding?
Parents can help children build a genuine understanding of concepts by offering educational activities and toys that promote math skills. The earlier the integration, the better the outcomes will be with math skills. The better a child can implement and develop early math skills, the higher probability they will succeed in academic pursuits.
15 Different Early years maths activity ideas
To integrate different math activity ideas into your early years centre, consider using one of the following activities below. Each activity comes with a material list and a basic concept of mathematic integration.
Hold a Number Hunt in Jelly
This activity helps young minds develop a better understanding of numbers with plenty of tactile experience. First, spread out a few plastic numbers in different jelly layers. The numbers don't have to be in order but should hold many different colours. Give the jelly time to set and hand out tongs to the children. Show each little one how to pick up the numbers from the mixture. Allow the children time to practice using the tongs and remove the numbers from the bin.
- Plastic Numbers
Smack It Game
Start by preparing a few sticky notes with different numbers on each sheet. Place the numbers on the table or desk in front of the children. Give each student a fly swatter to play the game with. The goal of this game is for little ones to identify a number on the dice and try matching the number with one written on the sticky notes. Have the student hit the correct number with a fly swatter.
- Fly Swatter
- Sticky Notes
Pom Pom Pick Up
Grab a few containers and label each with a different number you'd like the students to practice. Cut a few straws into manageable sizes. To play this game, hand each child a straw to use with the pom poms. Place multiple pom poms on the table and ask the child to fill each container with the correct number of pom poms. Children transfer the pom poms trying to suck the pom poms into the straw and transferring it to the container.
- Several containers
- Small straw cut into 10 cm lengths
- Multiple pom poms
- Number Labels for Bins
Connect the Dots
Tape parchment paper to a wall and write multiple numbers decorated with as many dots as the number on the page. Kids can trace each dot with a do-a-dot marker to simultaneously see the number and quantity of dots. Children can connect the physical drawing of the number with the amount of dots.
What you'll need:
- Sharpie markers
- Do-a-dot markers
- Parchment paper
This interactive game is better suited for older children but helps introduce simple equations within the classroom. Take a sharpie and write a few numbers and mathematical symbols on the edges of 5 styrofoam cups. Stack the cups logically (for example, 1 + 2 = 3). Show little ones how to spin the cups to create valid equations.
Get Cracking Egg Activity
Cut out multiple eggs with card stock and write different numbers on each egg. Let the children identify the number and try to "crack" the egg using a standard hole punch. For older children, increase the number written on each egg or have them sort the eggs from highest to lowest when finished.
- Card cut-outs of egg shapes
- Sharpie to number each egg
- Hole punch for children
Size Sorting Games
This game is played in various ways, with each skill focusing on size instead of other variables. Start by asking the children to sort blocks of different sizes according to size. From there, ask toddlers to arrange the blocks from smallest to largest. Eventually, ask the children to stack the blocks. Switch the items to different shapes, depending on what you have available in the classroom.
- Blocks of different sizes or sortable items according to physical size.
Go On a Shape Hunt
This math game requires teachers to cut out different shapes on stiff cards and hand one to each child. The goal of this game is to explore and identify as many shapes as possible that match the corresponding cut-out. This game is perfect for indoors or outdoors, helping children collect items while out in nature (like twigs, pebbles, leaves, etc.).
- Thick card cut into various shapes
Learning about patterns is a fundamental aspect of math, helping children develop more advanced concepts over time. Teachers can use an infinite number of items around the class to teach patterns, starting with movement and sound. Start with simple patterns like AB, building on variations of it. For example, AABB, ABBA, or AAB.
Musical Math Skills
Singing is an aerobic activity that works to boost oxygenation in the bloodstream. When children sing, they take in the information around them and train their brains. To help build mathematical awareness, check out numerical songs for the early years.
- A music player
Broken Hearts Valentine's Day Craft
For a simple idea for February 14th, cut out a few hearts and cut each in half using different zig zag designs. On one side of the border, draw a number. On the other side of the border, draw equal hearts to the number printed. Hand them to the kids to try and find the matching parts of their broken hearts.
Build Lego Patterns
LEGO is beneficial in many ways, but helping children recognize patterns is a straightforward mathematical skill. To start, prepare a few cards with coloured blocks shown. Let the kids discover the patterns independently, reproducing them with the LEGO blocks provided.
- Coloured pencils
- LEGO blocks
- Paper Cards
Find the Missing Numbers
Write a small sequence of numbers on a craft stick, leaving a few blanks in between. Next, write the missing numbers on several clothes pins and hand them to the class. Let the children use fine motor skills to clip the pin on the sticks where the missing number would be.
- Clothes Pins
- Wooden Craft Sticks
Shape Sorting Game
To play this game, have youngsters organize a handful of objects according to a similar shape. Shapes can include different materials, from card cut-outs to buttons. Start with basic shapes like triangles, circles, squares, and rectangles and try to keep all shapes uniform. Gradually incorporate unique shapes like the heart, star, and oval.
- A card cut out of the reference shape you're looking for
- Various objects that match the outlined shapes.
Although many think of mathematics as numbers, colour variations are also a critical component of maths (they handle similarities and grouping). To get started, tell your students the day's colour and show them something similar in reference. For example, a red button to display the day's colour is red. Have children hunt through the class to find something that matches the colour shown.
- Reference objects to demonstrate the colour of the day
Consider these resources as an imperative guide to help you better introduce math concepts within your facility.
When developing different games and activities for your children, carefully review these core growth and development milestones for students.
If you'd like to integrate more mathematical activities within your classroom, consider these 31 different games and activities. All activities are best suited for toddlers or young learners.
These activities are perfect for school-age children. All activities focus on key math concepts without feeling like drills, making math development fun and engaging.
Mathematics is essential for crucial growth and development milestones, starting from an early age. As research continues to explore the connection between math skills and long-term success, we can't ignore the importance such skills hold on young and developing minds. Integrating maths activities into your classroom can encourage critical concepts without feeling tiring and cumbersome.
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