This is part of my series on preschool. Preliteracy is part one. Prewriting is part 2.
Kids don’t have math anxiety so focus on making it fun and upbeat.
I start with counting. All throughout their childhood, I make sure to count for them. Just a quick, “Wow, you have 2 shoes,” while you put on their shoes. Count items at the grocery store while you shop. Switch between telling them the total and counting out loud. I ask them “How much?” and “How many?” and supply the answers as needed (and by that I mean all the time). Get them used to thinking about numbers. Again, don’t worry if they don’t seem to get it. You have plenty of time. Thinking numerically is a bit step in your child’s language development. These skills and their responses are intertwined. You must wait for them to become proficient in both skills.
My kids learn colors around 2 or 3. Connor learned his when he still attended preschool. Cayden taught himself colors by watching YouTube Videos. Get my free printable with a list of dinosaur themed preschool videos he watched. AJ at 2.5 is very interested in colors, but just can’t quite seem to get some. She’s got black and white down pat. Everything else is blue.
She is also not as interested in the youtube videos so I have been pointing out colors everywhere and letting her guess. Subscribe to our Youtube Channel to catch some fun color activity videos.
Below is a video of a simple preschool lesson I did with Cayden winter 2017. He was 3.5! I was just a few months postpartum here so it was really relaxed and low energy.
Shapes are the basis of geometry, of course. I blend these with writing to get as much worth for my time as possible. My younger kids ask me to draw stuff all the time. Usually write their names or a t rex. I oblige with whatever they want me to do. However, when they want me to draw, I sometimes will do it out of shapes. I may draw a rough t rex with a circle for a body, 2 medium ovals for a head, and ovals for the legs, arms, and tail. I always say something like, “This ovalis is head; this one is his neck, here’s a circle for his belly,” etc. This way they also get to see how you can break things down into smaller shapes, too. I will draw a it out of squares or rectangles. I point out how we draw sharp teeth with triangles. It’s a show process to be sure. And, by the way, we are planning some videos with some fun shape activities on our YouTube channel, too.
Match & Sorting is another important math skill. Once they learn their colors around age 2 or 3, I start grouping things by color. I would point out when their sevel green cars in a row or the like. When your kid understands the concept of a group and uses the word appropriately, sit out some manipulatives (like my free dinosaur matching cards), and matching them. Talk to you child in terms like “These two are the same color. These are also facing the right way.” Explain your reasoning out loud. Let your child try. Let them struggle. It’s hard to watch but don’t help until they ask. This fosters self motivation and perseverance.
Turn the cards over and make it a memory match game! This strengthening memory and critical thinking skills. Again, take turns, and on your turn, think out loud. Say things like “I remember this one was in the corner” or “the other one was on the bottom row.” Show them how to use landmarks to remember things. Demonstrate positional terms (left, right, bottom, top, above, below, on top of, first, second, third).