I have two children that are whizzes at math, like their father. I was good at math, but it wasn’t something I enjoyed. I got the grades, took the advanced classes, but I still struggle with it on occasion, because I wasn’t fully prepared for the classes I took. Whether your children are naturally gifted at math or not, you can still provide them with a solid foundation for math.
It is important to establish good math skills with children from an early age. I have always worked with my little ones on their counting from the time they were born. I will count their fingers while I’m cutting their nails or count their toes while I’m kissing their tiny little feet. I count the buttons on their shirt as I dress them in the morning. We sing the little rhyme “1-2, Buckle my shoe” as we tie their shoes. Counting starts early in our house. To make chores more fun, I have them help me around the house, so it’s a win-win. I have them count the number of shirts they take out of the dryer to hang up and then they have to bring me that many hangers.
Playdough mats are great for working on counting, fine motor skills and even letter recognition. I recommend printing each page (preferably on cardstock, but printer paper will work too) and then laminating them for longevity. The nice thing about these mats is that they really are multi-purpose. You can use them with playdough for younger kids and then graduate to wipe-off markers as they get more fine motor skills. You can also use a variety of objects to place in the little boxes to help kids with their counting. My girls also love to use pom-poms to count.
Included in this set:
- 4 Letter Playdough Mats
- 1-10 Number Playdough Mats
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After I know they have mastered the counting, I work on their adding and subtracting skills. The chores we do the most are laundry and dishes, so we usually start there. I have them count Daddy’s shirts and them my shirts and we add them together to get the total number of hangers we need. I have them count the number of cups and compare them to the number of people we have drinking from a cup, to make sure we didn’t miss one. We add up the number of large spoons or forks with the smaller of each to get the total used.
I also invite them to cook with me, on occasion, to help them work on recognizing fractions. I show them the measuring spoons and cups. They help measure and pour. While I enjoy teaching them to cook and I definitely enjoy having them help around the house, it is also introducing math in a practical way. When they know how it applies to their life, it is less scary and they don’t get so anxious about doing their math for school.
I have had to work really hard with my oldest middle child on his math anxiety. He is one that definitely struggles, not because he can’t do it, but because it doesn’t come as easily as it does for the other two. Since helping me around the house and cooking, he has gotten so much better on his math skills and although he still doesn’t enjoy math, he can do it with less stress. And for that I can rejoice.
Do you want to make sure your children are well prepared for math? I have some exciting news for you! Our sponsor this month, Math Mammoth, is giving away a complete Light Blue Series (Value $175) to one of my lucky readers! That is complete math curriculum for grades 1-7!!
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