Ensuring learning readiness in your child is the most important skill set you can give them. Primary school teachers in the formative years, often see a lack of readiness in little ones and this can be easily addressed. However, be mindful. Learning readiness does not mean hothousing your little one! Rather, providing them with a framework of skills that can be developed through age appropriate - often play - activities.
There are a million and one ways to support numeracy at home for your pre-schooler and primary school child. Here, the teachers at EBP Education, summarise a few fun ways for you and your kids to begin building that vital framework of skills.
Watching sport together
Not only does watching sport offer a great bonding experience for mamas and papas with their little ones but also a great exercise in counting together. Consider these questions: what is the score? What will the score be if player/team x gets a goal? Is your teams score an odd or an even number? What score does your player/team need to win this game? What do the markings on the pitch mean and how do they affect the score? If kids love sport, numbers soon become very important to them - don’t miss the incidental learning opportunity.
Planning a day trip or excursion can provide the perfect opportunity to provide some more incidental learning opportunities. Distance and time. Are you walking? How long will it take you? Would we reach our destination quicker if we went by car/bus/train? If you travel by bus, what number do you need to catch - introduce a timetable, reading charts is an invaluable life skill. What time will you arrive if you are five/ten/twenty minutes late? If you are walking down your street, take not of the house numbers. What comes next? Is this house an odd number or an even number?
If the journey is going to take your child somewhere super fun, there is extra incentive to participate in the planning stages of the excursion.
The ‘rubbish’ that we recycle can provide children with excellent building materials. With any building activity, comes math. Your child will be required to sort items by shape and size. They will be required to problem solve when building a tower by placing the larger items at the bottom to create balance. Building a tower can encourage initial measurement language such as larger/smaller & longer/shorter. Identifying patterns such as these can encourage the initial skills required in algebra.
EBP Education has developed a number of educational toys to encourage learning readiness in preschool children. You can find them here; https://www.ebpeducation.com.au/collections/educational-toys
Kids love getting involved in the supermarket shop, many stores now provide smaller trolleys for exactly this reason. Give your little one a budget and a shopping list (lists can be images if your little one is an emerging reader) and allow them to develop their counting skills and money recognition early.
Once your child has their items from the shopping trip, use the goods to create something in the kitchen. Following a recipe encourages so many mathematical skills it would be a valuable opportunity missed if you don’t cook with your child. Following recipes can support your child’s initial understanding of sequencing, what comes first, next and then. Your child will learn about capacity and mass through measurement. They will learn to follow short sequences of instructions and their understanding of time will be tested as they are required to wait for the cookies to be ready! If you want to avoid food recipes, then try this playdough recipe that can be used for craft and/or other math activities.
Learning nursery rhymes is a fun way to learn initial counting skills. Kids love to sing and have fun with actions lead by an adult. Five little ducks was a firm favourite in our house when my three were little and grew in complexity to 100 green bottles as they got older. Nursery rhymes can encourage counting backwards, as well as counting forwards. These songs are often how children first encounter numerical names. When used in conjunction with visuals, not only does this make the song more fun, but also allows the development of sibitising small amounts.
Reading to your child can provide great opportunities to encounter math. Head to this blog at EBP Education to find out in more detail how picture books can support your child development in numeracy. https://www.ebpeducation.com.au/blogs/blog/using-picture-books-to-enhance-numeracy
There are a multitude of card games that can provide your child with opportunity to encounter multiplication, skip counting, matching, symmetry or prediction - as well as developing fantastic social skills that are essential for learning readiness. Uno is a fast favourite in our household, as well as various forms of Trumps. The first card game I played as a child was patience. Try to encourage card games with an actual pack of cards to encourage development of fine motor skills.
© EBP Education Pty Ltd 2018